Las Vegas fire debate nears formal resolution

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Tuesday, April 1, 2003

LAS VEGAS - A controversial policy introduced more than a year ago to institute verified response for fire alarms here is near a formal resolution between fire officials and alarm industry representatives, according to local fire officials.

A series of meetings and communications between officials at the Las Vegas Fire & Rescue and the National Burglar & Fire Alarm Association have resulted in a document that will be distributed to alarm industry officials and local alarm companies. Last summer, the LVFR completed a questionnaire written by the NBFAA that contained a list of 26 specific situations and whether those scenarios would fall under the new verified response policy.

“Once the questions were answered, once some of the things were clarified, I think the industry felt more comfortable,” said Ken Riddle, deputy chief with the LVFR.

NBFAA officials could not be reached for comment by press time.

Among the issues that were clarified include not responding without verification to such locations as low occupancy businesses after hours. Fire personnel will still respond to any healthcare facility or casino, as well as any water flow situations, Riddle said.

Fire fighters will also still respond to locations with a potentially dangerous environment, such as a small dry cleaning business that lacks a sprinkler system.

“We have made exceptions where there is a particularly hazardous environment,” Riddle said.

The policy was implemented in February 2002 to combat the false alarm problem in the city, and follows an earlier policy involving verified response to burglar alarms instituted in the 1990s.