False alarm ordinance watch

SSN Staff  - 
Thursday, December 1, 2005

Fire Chief David Burns told the City Council that November, 2004's false fire alarm ordinance isn't doing
the job, reported The Des Moines Register.
False alarms have increased 30 percent this year, he said. Burns couldn't estimate a cost related to false alarms for the council, but he did say that open calls, where there is no report of smoke or fire, will now only by handled by on-duty staff. On-call staff will not respond.

Hayward police Chief Lloyd Lowe said that last year's estimated $468,000 spent on false alarm calls means that the city's false alarm ordinance is in need of an update, reported The Daily Review.
Lowe said that 1,659 of 1,678 residental alarm calls, or 99 percent, were false last year. Currently, the city imposes a $50 fine on a user's second false alarm, $100 for a third and $150 for a fourth and any further false alarms in a six-month period.
That's too little, said Lowe, who was quoted as saying, "It's cheaper for them to pay our bills than to have the company come out and fix the alarms." However, one councilman said the city was not interested in having police officers only respond to verified burglar alarms. The council will likely consider a proposal to increase fines in the coming months.

An ordinance enacted Oct. 18 now requires that fire alarm systems monitored
by third-party monitoring companies be permitted every two years, reported
The Pasadena Citizen. Healthcare facilities must have their fire alarm systems permitted every year.
By April 30, 2006, systems must be permitted or be subject to between $75 and $2,000 in fines for each day they are in violation. Permitting fees are $10 for a home, $24 for a
business, and $125 for a healthcare facility.
The ordinance goes further to penalize for false alarms. The third and fourth false alarms in a year will incur
a fine of $100, five through 10 will result in $200 fines and any false alarm after that will cost $500.

The Princeton Township Committee passed, on Oct. 24, a new ordinance that requires any user who experiences more than one false alarm within any one-year period to add to their system a mandatory audible 15-second signal, designed to prevent accidental activation.
Also, there is a minimum penalty of $200 for the second false alarm in a one-year period, $300 for the third, on up to $500 each for five or more false alarms.
After the fifth false alarm, users will be required to implement a corrective action plan to prevent additional false alarms, which must be approved by the police and fire departments.
Ten false alarms in a year will require the user to disconnect the alarm system for the rest of the year or 90 days, whichever is longer, and reimburse the fire or police department for responding to the alarms. Schools, banks and hospitals will be allowed to keep the alarm system, but will still have to pay the reimbursement.