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Fire service issues warning ahead of Storm Barra

As another storm is set to hit the UK, Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service is asking people to consider their call before dialling 999 when Storm Barra strikes.

When extreme weather hits the county, the number of 999 emergency calls to the service can double in a matter of minutes, but many calls relate to non-emergencies and things that are the responsibility of other agencies.

This increase in calls can mean fire control room operators are tied up and could be prevented from dealing with a real emergency.

Joint Fire Control Station Manager, Carly Pointon, said: “During Storm Arwen, the number of emergency 999 calls doubled from around 100 per day to more than 200, asking for assistance at all types of incidents from fallen trees, unsafe structures and flooding; but, many of these calls were either not an emergency, or the responsibility of another agency.

“While control room operators are dealing with these requests and signposting people to other agencies, they may be prevented from dealing with a real emergency which could put other lives at risk.”

The following is a quick guide to what is and isn’t the responsibility of the fire and rescue service:

Fire Control Station Manager Pointon went on to say: “In any emergency situation we would always advise you ring 999 immediately. Control room operators will assess the situation and ensure an appropriate emergency response is put into action immediately, but when it’s a fallen tree on a road, that is not endangering life, then this is the responsibility of the local authority, and the fire service wouldn’t attend.

“Similarly we get numerous calls to attend flooding during extreme weather. Unfortunately, in many cases there isn’t much the fire service can do while water is flooding into property, there is simply nowhere for us to pump the water too, so unless there is a threat to life, then people will need to be patient and wait for the water to subside itself. If electrics have been affected, then the advice is to isolate the electrics and contact an electrician.”

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