The Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS), in partnership with the National Security, is to secure telephone console devices by the end of the year to clamp down on people doing prank calls for prosecution.
To that end, the Service would liaise with telecommunication companies to help track such calls.
A prank or hoax call is a mischievous phone call made to trick individuals and organisations, particularly those rendering public services.
The Head of Public Relations (PR) of the GNFS, Assistant Chief Fire Officer (ACFO) Timothy Osafo-Affum, disclosing this to the Ghanaian Times in Accra yesterday, said the devices would help the Service to pick and save more genuine calls during emergencies.
He said the Service recorded 637,660 prank calls last year against 35, 307 in 2021.
ACFO Osafo-Affum indicated that over 50,000 of such prank calls were recorded monthly, showing an average of 1,714 daily.
ACFO Osafo-Affum said the database of registered Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards would help trace prank call culprits and prosecuted to serve as a deterrent to others.
He said the Service had intensified its sensitisation of the public to the negative effects prank calls on the daily operations of the GNFS.
“Sometimes the Service receives such calls and firefighters are deployed into the communities to have such supposed fires put out but they turn out to be hoax, which means the Service has wasted resources and even put the firefighters at risk and to the detriment of people who need our services most,” he said.
The PR officer said some of the callers would make funny statements like “My beard is burning”, as well as uncomplimentary comments to female firefighters who would receive the calls.
Regarding the frequency of the prank calls, the head of Public Relations stated that the calls increased significantly when school children were on vacation.
ACFO Osafo-Affum called on the public to desist from such negative practice, emphasising that offenders would be prosecuted to serve as deterrent to others.
He urged parents to monitor and educate their children when at home to desist from misusing the emergency lines.
Mr Asafo-Affum said fires negatively affected the socio-economic and human resources of the country in the form of destruction of life and property.
He therefore, asked the public to make fire prevention a priority at all times, urging them to call the Service on 192 or 112 during outbreaks for prompt assistance.
ACFO Osafo-Affum said fire prevention was a shared responsibility and called on stakeholders to collaborate with the Service in reducing the outbreaks of fires in the country
BY ANITA NYARKO-YIRENKYI