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Fines help cut April Fool’s prank emergency calls

The penalty system has cut the number of false fire alarm calls made on April Fool’s Day, according to the National Emergency Management Agency.

A total of 98 prank calls were made on last year’s April Fool’s Day, down from 475 in 2004, showed the agency’s data submitted to Rep. Yoon Seok-yong of the parliamentary health and welfare committee.

The Fire Services Act was revised in 2004 to impose a maximum fine of 2 million won on those who disturb the performance of official duties, in an attempt to relieve fire stations from the growing number of false alarms.

It has also become widely known among the public that phone calls made to fire stations may be traced to find the caller, according to NEMA officials.

“The agency should actively promote the corresponding fine clause and the traceability of the calls to warn the public against making prank calls,” said Yoon.

False emergency calls should be eradicated as they may, in the worst cases, endanger the lives of those who need the rescuers’ help, said NEMA officials.

By Bae Hyun-jung (