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EMS staff report significant increase in hoax calls used to lure them into traps

“Our greatest fear is what is going to happen if criminals decide one day that they want more than our personal items and decide to rape one of us.”

The provincial Health Department believes that hoax calls are increasingly being used to lure Emergency Medical Service (EMS) personnel into traps to hijack and rob them.

Female EMS staff raised the concerns, according to deputy director of communications in the department, Mark van der Heever.

Four female EMS staff members said: “There were at least three incidents of hoax calls we received from Delft, Blue Downs and Lavender Hill.

“In all these incidents we were not aware it was a hoax call and went out to the area. Once we arrived in the streets and stopped at the address indicated, criminals robbed us of our personal items.

“Our greatest fear is what is going to happen if criminals decide one day that they want more than our personal items and decide to rape one of us.”

Van der Heever said “A number of measures have been implemented in response. We do not believe that hoax calls are a widely-used practice. It may be a factor in one or two incidents but our investigations have not supported the notion that is a widely-used strategy.

“We have also found that people are calling us not to make use of us as an emergency service, but because they need to get from one place to another.”

Last month two EMS staff were held at gunpoint in Khayelitsha.

Van der Heever added that hoax calls could be detrimental to patients who are really in need of urgent medical attention.

More: IOL

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