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Fire Service called to a false alarm on average every week for past year at Craigavon hospital

The Fire Service has responded to an average of one false alarm a week at Craigavon Area Hospital in the past year 
John Monaghan

THE Fire Service responded to an average of one false alarm call-out every week last year at Craigavon Area Hospital.

Of 68 call-outs made in 12 months up to March, 56 turned out to be false alarms. It is not known how many of the calls were hoax alerts.

Just 12 calls - fewer than 20 per cent of the total - were genuine calls, including reports of hazardous materials and an attempted suicide.

The figures were released in response to an Assembly question by UUP Upper Bann MLA Jo-Anne Dobson.

The details come just a fortnight after The Irish News reported that the Fire Service responded to 1,454 hoax calls, out of a total of more than 5,000, between 2012 and 2015.

In a message over Easter, the Fire Service moved to urge young people to "act as ambassadors...by educating their friends about the serious consequences of deliberately starting fires, attacking firefighters or making hoax calls."

Speaking at the time Kevin O'Neill, Group Commander, said: "Making hoax calls and diverting resources away from a potential real emergency is very short sighted because it could be someone from your family or one of your friends who need the help of firefighters in a real emergency."

There have been a series of incidents at Craigavon Area Hospital in recent months.

Last month, the hospital had to be closed due to a suspected gas leak, while in February the Southern Trust apologised after a "distressing incident" in which a patient was doused in sewage.

The incident was caused by a leaking pipe in the the ceiling above a bedroom in a hospital ward.

A man also died of swine flu at the hospital in February.

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