AF&RS urges people to call 999 in an emergency

Avon Fire & Rescue Service (AF&RS) is urging people to continue to dial 999 in the event of an emergency.

The move comes after Avon and Somerset Police saw a spike in calls to 101 reporting out of control fires or bonfires.

AF&RS would like to reassure residents that if you require the fire service or suspect a fire, always dial 999.

Even if you're not sure if you have a real emergency, still dial 999 – it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Simon Shilton, Assistant Chief Fire Officer for AF&RS, said: “If there’s a fire, you need to act quickly.

“Even in these uncertain times, Avon Fire & Rescue Service are still here, ready, able and willing to respond.

“One of our key priorities is keeping communities safe so please do not hesitate to call us in the event of an emergency, or even if you only suspect an emergency.

“With fires, minutes and seconds can often mean the difference between life and deaths, so we would always rather you call us directly rather than 101.

“This is about helping us to help you, something we are ready to do, no matter the situation.”

Tara Bryant, Communications Centre Manager for Avon and Somerset Police, added: “We’ve noticed at points during the lockdown that we’ve had calls through on the 101 number about fires which is not something we can help with.

“The 101 service is a non-emergency number for contacting police and does not function as a contact centre for fire service.

“We cannot transfer calls to the fire service from our control centre and so if people see an out of control bonfire, or something similar, they need to call 999.”

You can dial 999 from any private, public or mobile phone for free.

Should I call 999?

  • Don’t be afraid to call. If you’re unsure whether it’s an emergency, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Dial 999 and report what you’re seeing.
  • Don’t try to contact your local fire station or fire safety team in an emergency. Dial 999 and talk to a control room operator, emergency resources can only be mobilised from there.
  • Don’t assume someone else has called 999. If you see an emergency, make the call.
  • No matter how small the fire, we recommend calling us out to deal with it. Small fires can spread quickly and the smoke can be toxic.
  • If there’s a fire in your house or flat, get out and call us. Don’t go back in for any reason. We have the training needed to put the fire out quickly.