Non-urgent emergency number receives 78,000 calls

The special number for non-urgent assistance 1722 received 78,000 calls during Sunday's storm.  1722 is activated in such circumstances to ensure 112 isn't overwhelmed by non-urgent calls.

Over 24,000 calls were made in West Flanders, 22,000 in Antwerp Province, nearly 10,000 in Flemish Brabant and over 9,000 in Limburg.  The high number is due to the fact that many callers rang several times because they hadn't yet been helped.

The number remains active today.  Many fire services are still dealing with a backlog and haven't yet attended all scenes. People are asked to be patient.

If somebody's life is in danger, always call 112.  1722 should be used for non-urgent matters linked to the storm.  The fire service will only attend if there is considerable damage to a home or when danger threatens for residents and/or passers-by.

The home office stresses the fire service shouldn't be called to deal with two missing roofing tiles or a tree that's fallen in your garden or even a trampoline that has been blown into a neighbour's garden.  In such instances citizens should seek a solution of their own and contact skilled personnel.