Delaware enacts fire legislation

SSN Staff  - 
Sunday, June 1, 2003

DOVER, Del. - Gov. Ruth Ann Minner in late April signed into law a bill that sets a fee schedule for false fire alarms, a policy where fees begin after the third false alarm in one year.

The bill will also require alarm companies to update their lists of contact information for each account on an annual basis, including a contact that lives within 30 minutes of a residence to open the house to firefighters in an emergency, published reports said.

A task force, made up of 12 members of the alarm industry, fire chiefs from around the state and local and state officials, was set up to draft the bill to address what officials on both sides acknowledged was a high false alarm rate, industry officials said. According to the state fire marshal’s office, about 25 percent or 3,000 of the 12,000 fire alarms each year from monitored fire systems are false.

The Senate approved the bill 20-0 in a vote earlier in April. The bill will take effect July 1, 2004.