Steamboat Springs, Colo. votes in new false alarm ordinance

Imposes fines for false alarm calls
SSN Staff  - 
Thursday, May 27, 2010

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo.—A May 4 story in Steamboat Today reported the city’s police and fire chiefs were ready to push through a new false alarm ordinance and attendant fine schedule to the Steamboat Springs City Council, which voted to pass the ordinance on May 18.

Under the ordinance the owner of any alarm that malfunctions, is set off by user error or by an undetermined cause more than once will face increasing fines. The second offense would carry a fine of $200, a third offense $300, and so on up to a maximum of $700.

If a person fined under the ordinance proves to law enforcement or fire personnel that the problems with the system were fixed within 30 days, they can get half of their money back.

Hotels and other buildings like condos won’t necessarily be fined if someone pulls an alarm in error, and the idea is not to fine someone who burns food while cooking. In that situation, the alarm would have been working properly.

The ordinance does, however, call for fines against anyone who “maliciously” sets off an alarm. There is no first warning in that instance, with $200 for the first time and an extra $100 for each offense up to $800. That includes students who pull the alarm at schools, and people who set off alarms at hotels and condos for fun.