Worcester County, Md. enacts new false alarm ordinance

SSN Staff  - 
Friday, July 31, 2009

WORCESTER COUNTY, Md.--A story from delmarvanow.com reports that county commissioners in Worcester County, Md. have voted in a new false fire alarm ordinance. To decrease the number of false alarms to which fire fighters and Emergency Medical Service (EMS) providers respond, the Commissioners unanimously adopted Bill 09-3 (Public Safety—Nuisance Alarms) on June 16, a law that will become active on Aug. 1.

Bill 09-3 adds a new section to the Fire Prevention Code of Worcester County to establish regulations and includes fees for such services. Fees will be assessed for nuisance violations that occur twice in a 24-hour period, three times within a 30-day period; six or more times in one calendar year, resulting in a $100 fine for each of the next two nuisance alarms and a $200 fine for each additional nuisance alarm thereafter. Habitual false alarms can be deemed as either an intermediate or a major civil infraction, and stiff penalties will be imposed.

Such fees are not revenue generating sources, but are to act as strong motivators to owners to repair faulty systems in a timely manner. Those parties responsible for properly maintaining and operating such systems, but failing to do so, place lives in danger. Ultimately, systems that continue to generate false alarms may be deemed a nuisance and be ordered to be disabled.