'Dial 999, before you post on social media', warns Fire Brigade
Emergency services' chiefs have warned that lives are being put at risk by the increasing tendency of the public to video incidents on their phones for social media posting - rather than immediately call 999.
Members of the public have now been urged to 'dial not film' when they spot a traffic accident or any other serious incident.
The warning came as it emerged that some serious incidents were video recorded on smartphones and posted to social media before emergency services were alerted.
Alarmingly, the volume of calls being received by the emergency services in Ireland via 999 or 112 alerts has been declining - despite the number of incidents responded to steadily increasing each year.
Emergency services across Ireland respond to around 1.5 million alerts and call-outs each year.
Cork Fire Brigade third officer Gerard Ryan said it was a cause of concern for the emergency services that call volumes were declining compared to the number of incidents occurring.
Emergency services across Ireland respond to an average of 150,000 call alerts each month.
"Unfortunately, at the moment, we are getting a lot less call volume to our Munster regional control centre when there is a big incident," Mr Ryan told Virgin Media.
"People are assuming that others have rang the fire service or the other emergency services.
"But, in fact, we are looking for a volume of calls about big incidents because those calls help us know the gravity of a situation before we get there.
"For major incidents in Ireland, the call volume was down.
"People are not calling - they are using their phones to capture images and they are not calling the emergency services.
"We would ask people to dial before they film.
"If we don't get the proper information, or if people assume that someone else has contacted the emergency services, time is a huge factor in the fire service.
"We need to get there quickly and get as much information about an incident as quickly as we can."
Gardai have warned motorists that they risk prosecution if they attempt to film traffic incidents with a hand-held mobile phone while driving.
A number of motorists in Dublin face action over footage taken of a major accident recently which was shot from hand-held mobile phones and later posted to social media.