As April Fool's Day approaches, firefighters are urging the public to use their common sense to help avoid unnecessary calls.
A cat trapped in a gutter after jumping out of a skylight and a child with a toilet seat stuck on their head are among some of the strangest 999 calls made to the London Fire Brigade in the last three years.
As April Fool's Day approaches, firefighters urge the public to use a "little bit of common sense" to help avoid unnecessary calls.
Since 2016, the Brigade has been called 659 times to people trapped in the loo, while 56 incidents have involved pets being stuck in unusual places.
As well as unusual calls, firefighters have also received more than 30,000 malicious call-outs in the past five years, wasting hundreds of thousands of pounds of taxpayer cash.
Deputy Commissioner Tom George said: "No matter how strange a call may seem, we will always attend if there is a genuine emergency but you should always think carefully about how to use our resources.
"A number of the more unusual calls we attend involve children or animals so we would always urge Londoners to keep an eye on their youngsters or pets to ensure they aren't getting themselves into sticky situations which could be avoided."
Among the strangest calls received by the Brigade are:
- A woman stuck in a tree while trying to retrieve a cat in Hillingdon
- A pet snake trapped in a ring in Hounslow
- A child with their head stuck in a potty in Westminster
- A bus driver locked in a toilet at a bus stand in Lambeth
- A pigeon stuck in a chimney in Richmond
- A hamster stuck between a toilet and a wall in Tower Hamlets
Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act showed firefighters received 24,921 calls worthy of challenging between
2014 and 2018, with crews sent out to 6,636 of these.
However in 2018 the number of such calls had dropped to 5,410, with 4,201 calls challenged.
Deputy Commissioner George added: "With the help of our control officers challenging calls, we have been able to reduce the number of hoax calls we receive and this enables us to be available for when there is a genuine emergency."