Namibia: Warning Against Abuse of Emergency Numbers

THE Walvis Bay fire department has warned residents not to make prank calls to the police and fire stations.

According to the deputy fire chief at Mautamanene Fire Station, Tutaleni Kathindi, there have been a number of prank fire calls that have resulted in a waste of resources and caused panic within the community.

Firemen responded to a false call last week again, as someone had called about a fire at the vendor's stalls near the Kuisebmond Shop for Value market.

Wary community members alerted each other on social media, and woke up friends and neighbours when they heard the fire brigade sirens.

Many vendors lost their possessions in 2017, when a fire gutted down more than 13 stalls at the same market.

"People should refrain from misusing emergency numbers to make such prank calls. It is not only a waste of resources but it creates a lot of panic among the community. It also revokes memories of past tragedies.

"If traced, the hoax callers could be punished by law. Imagine the resources that we waste, going to a place where nothing is happening. The resources could be used for other important things in the community." Said Kathindi.

Walvis Bay is already in a state of panic, as many unfortunate incidents have taken place at the town.

Two of the biggest fires that rocked the nation in the past years happened at the Kuisebmond vendor's stalls and at the Twaloloka informal settlement, which left many desperate families homeless.

Meanwhile, Kathindi also warned residents to stop vandalising emergency vehicles, as they have to be repaired using money that was supposed to help the community.

He also urged residents to stop making big fires in their yards that can often be mistaken for burning houses and shacks. Some residents have been burning tyres in their yards to remove copper wires that they sell to scrap yards. They are urged to burn tyres in small pieces.

"Residents who make big fires within the municipal boundaries can be fined N$500," he said.

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