Paramedics warn pranksters

2010-09-03 09:13

Johannesburg - Emergency care company ER24 has threatened to take legal action against pranksters phoning its call centre, after it received 670 such calls in the past two months.

Two people were responsible for the bulk of these, one making over 340 calls, the other about 200, ER24 spokesperson Werner Vermaak told Sapa on Thursday.

"We are putting out a warning through the media to let pranksters know that we do have access to their number through our forced caller line identity."

His organisation would take legal action if the pranksters continued calling after the warning.

Mostly children

Some pranksters phoned the number up to 16 times per day. Most of them were children. In one case the operator asked the child to pass the phone to an adult, who then handed it to his mother.

"The mother was shocked when she heard that the call taker was from ER24 and her child phoned the emergency line to fool around. She apologised profusely. Needless to say the child phoned multiple times afterwards."

Some jokers merely breathed into the phone, others made bomb threats.

Another prank caller had reported a friend having a heart attack 60 times in one month. Each time an ambulance and rapid response car are sent to the scene.

"However, every time an emergency vehicle arrives on the scene, there is no one at the address, or it is an abandoned building."

Gauteng police spokesperson Vishnu Naidoo said pranksters could be charged with defeating the ends of justice.