So far, more than 1,000 prank calls have been made to the 911 emergency number since its launch.
Fire Emergency Services Authority Commissioner, Lelevaga Fa’afouina Mupo, is warning members of the public to refrain from using the line for hoax call.
“This is a real issue and it shouldn’t be taken lightly,” said the Commissioner.
Lelevaga says they will collect data on the number of prank calls by the end of this month which will help them address this issue.
“There is a huge risk when people falsely call in for assistance,” he said.
“We respond accordingly and again the reports we have on the prank calls are quite significant.”
“Also be mindful that it’s not just us who respond to calls, there are the Police and sometimes E.P.C. if a fire is reported, so yes it is a huge risk we are talking about.”
“This is the first month and parents need to teach their children about prank calls.”
“If we do dig into this, many cell users will be criminally charged.”
“There is a law that can prosecute these people,” the Commissioner added.
Since 1 January, 2018, Lelevaga says there have been more prank calls than emergency calls.
“Sometimes we get calls from people asking for information on where bingo’s are held, weekly lotto numbers and sometimes calls asking us what are the prices for television.
“This is one of those only in Samoa.”
“It sounds comical, but it’s not funny at all. The 911 is for emergency calls and if people are not using it appropriately, then we will be forced to turn to the law.”
In launching the emergency dial last month, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi said the main purpose of changing to 911, among other things, was to eliminate confusion regarding what appropriate number to call for any particular emergency.
“It is also to expedite the response by the emergency services.”