‘Only call us if a life is in danger’ – 999 services’ plea to public over Storm Ciara havoc

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Emergency service crews say they are being “inundated” with calls about fallen trees across Birmingham and the Black Country because of Storm Ciara.

But both the police and the fire service said they can only respond to these calls if a life is in danger.

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West Midlands Police and West Midlands Fire Service say their switchboards are being jammed by people reporting fallen trees.

But they can respond if the tree has landed on a car with a person inside the vehicle, or if it lands on a pedestrian.

A tree is felled by the high winds of Storm Ciara in Selly Oak Road, Bournville

All other calls about fallen trees should be made to the local council.

The plea comes as dozens of trees are falling onto roads, pavements and gardens across the region.

Solihull, Sutton Coldfield, Washwood Heath, Bournville and Acocks Green all have roads which are currently blocked by fallen trees.

A spokesman for West Midlands and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue said: “We’re being inundated by people ringing about fallen trees.

“But unless the tree has landed on a car with people inside, or has hit a person, we do not respond.  If the tree is blocking the road, then you need to ring either the police or the local council.

“If a tree has come down on private property, such as your garden or driveway, then it’s up to you to deal with.”

The spokesman said as well as taking calls from local people, it was also having to field calls from the north-west of England.  This is because Storm Ciara has caused even greater disruption in that region and the West Midlands has an arrangement by which it takes any surplus calls.

West Midlands Police said its contact centre was also facing a deluge of 999 calls about Storm Ciara.

A spokeswoman said: “It’s a busy day and our contact centre is already taking lots of Storm Ciara-related calls. If it’s not a crime, please think before you call us.

“If you need to report a fallen tree or highway obstruction, call your local council.”





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