Hoax calls are hurting our SES heroes
EXHAUSTED after long days of cleaning up after the fatal storms that hit the Fraser Coast last weekend, Maryborough's State Emergency Service volunteers left their families once again to rush out to help protect a home with a leaking roof.
But to their chagrin, they quickly found their time and goodwill had been wasted on a hoax call - and it was not the first time.
Five SES volunteers were called with reports a home's roof was damaged, on Sunday evening.
The crew travelled out to Antigua, south of Maryborough, but could not find the named home, returned to the base and logged the callout as a non-event.
Fraser Coast SES controller Bob Biram said his crews were already busy helping a paraplegic man when the hoax call came through.
"We may have needed to pull resources from that job - thankfully we didn't have to," he said.
"People ring up and play a joke with us.
"They think it's funny."
But the fake call-outs are far from humorous - they not only tie up resources, but could put lives at risk if volunteers are called away from genuine jobs.
Mr Biram told the Chronicle that sadly, Sunday's hoax was not a one-off event, despite the strict penalties that apply to people caught making hoax calls.
"We cop that from time to time," he said.
"We probably get hoax calls once or twice each storm season. It's a waste of time, resources and effort."
The Fraser Coast's SES groups have been kept busy since last Friday's deadly storm.
A Queensland Fire and Emergency Services spokeswoman said Coast crews responded to 52 calls for assistance across the weekend until yesterday.
The Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Act identify the offence of making a false call to the SES.
The maximum penalty for falsely requesting an emergency service is one-year imprisonment.
Crews called to Antigua after reports of a roof with water damage
Maximum penalty for falsely asking for an emergency service is one year's imprisonment