Tayside Fire and Rescue Service received a malicious call every 38 hours in the first two months of 2012.
Figures obtained by The Courier show the service received 38 hoax calls in the first 60 days of this year, with 64 appliances sent to emergency situations that did not exist.
The figures have prompted anger from one member of the region’s joint fire and rescue board, who described the actions of those who waste the time of the emergency services as ”despicable”.
Richard McCready, councillor for Dundee West End, said: ”Any time firefighters respond to a call, they are putting their lives on the line. It’s a despicable thing to do and I think that firefighters find it very frustrating.
”They are aware of the waste of resources that responding to malicious calls is and it takes them away from what they could be doing: saving lives.
”It costs money to respond to these calls and there is not an awful lot of that around right now.
”I know that the service is putting a lot of effort in going into schools. It’s not just young people that are doing this but we have to educate everyone that it is not a funny thing to do and is a very serious matter.”
The figures for January and February 2012 mark an increase on those for last year, despite attempts by the fire service to clamp down on the problem.
Initiatives have seen officers visit schools in an attempt to dissuade youngsters from making prank calls and regular campaigns continue to highlight the dangers of wasting the time of fire crews.
Stuart Cuthill from Tayside Fire and Rescue Service said the dedication of crews would never be affected by hoax calls, but that wasting their time puts lives at risk.
”The figures are slightly higher than this time last year, up by eight,” he said. ”If the caller gives an address then we will always mobilise. If they don’t then we will still attend but crews will be informed that it is a possible malicious call.
”One way or another, we will be there under blue-light conditions. Our staff are going out into schools as part of a fire safety initiative, speaking to the kids and explaining why this is a bad thing to be doing. If we can catch them early on then they might not do it.
”Our message to everyone would be not to make malicious calls. It diverts fire engines and officers away from real calls and can put road users’ lives at risk.”