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The Dorset Fire and Rescue Service has warned that hoax calls can cost people their lives, after new figures show just how many fake callers ring every year.

According to a Freedom of Information (FIO) request made by dorsetecho.co.uk, over 700 hoax callers have contacted Dorset’s fire service over the past five years.

The figures also shows that although the number of calls are decreasing every year, 122 hoax calls were still made during the last financial year, reports bournemouthecho.co.uk.

Those who may be worried their property might be a fire risk, but aren’t actually experiencing a fire,¬†might want to carry out a fire risk assessment instead of dialling 999.

Darran Gunter, chief fire officer, said that the service has been working hard to reduce the amount of hoax calls and hopes that the downward trend continues.

“Dorset Fire and Rescue Service is committed to reducing false alarms and hoax calls, ensuring that fire engines and crews are available to deal with real emergencies as and when we are needed,” he said. “We have a strong call challenge policy which is utilised by our fire control staff when they believe a hoax call is being made.”

He urged that members of the public thinking of making a hoax call should not, as it may result in distracting the service away from someone who actually needs their help.