More than 1,200,000 prank calls were recorded by the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) from January to October this year.
A prank call is a telephone call intended by the caller as a practical joke played on the other person.
The GNFS received 4,000 of such prank calls daily on their toll free emergency 192 line demanding for mobile phone recharge cards, making love proposals to personnel and insulting them among others.
When this reporter visited the Fire Master Control (FMC) room yesterday morning, she counted about 40 of such prank calls within 45 minutes.
The Officer in charge of the FMC room, Divisional Officer Grade II Irene Sackey, told the Ghanaian Times in an interview in Accra, yesterday, that the perpetrators of such crimes were adults and children.
She said a caller can call about 15 times distracting other incoming calls.
DOII Sackey said the FMC operate 24/7 and there was no way such calls could be blocked, because that it might prevent a genuine call, which was in queue for attention.
She said such calls increased when school children are on vacation.
DOII Sackey said the FMC sometimes called back to urge them to desist from such acts, but parents called to say they were made by their children.
She said such practice affected the operations of the GNFS, adding that in some occasions, fire fighters were deployed to locations to fight fire after calls to the control rooms, but it turned out to be false call.
The Head of Public Relations of the GNFS, DOII Ellis Okoe Robinson, said such prank calls affected the operations of the service.
The PRO said as part of measures to address the situation, the service was collaborating with telecommunication companies to track such callers.
DOII Robinson said the GNFS has intensified its sensitisation programmes on the effect of the negative use of such emergency lines.
“We have targeted the school children in our educational programmes to educate them on the importance of such lines,”he added.
DOII Robinson advised the public, especially parents, to ensure their children did not abuse GNFS telephone lines.
He said the GNFS would prosecute parents of minors who engage in such practice to serve as a deterrent.
DOII Robinson appealed to the media to support the GNFS in educating the public on prank calls.
BY ANITA NYARKO-YIRENKYI