Neb. City Implements Ordinance to Reduce False Fire Alarms

LINCOLN, Neb. — The city council here approved an ordinance that penalizes business owners and residents for false fire alarms.

Last year, the Lincoln Fire and Rescue Department (LFR) responded to more than 2,000 fire calls. Of those, 1,180 were false, JournalStar.com reports. As many as 14 firefighters are deployed to each fire call. In the event firefighters are preoccupied responding to a false alarm when an actual fire is reported, the department has to rely on engines from a company that is farther way, which can delay their arrival, according to LFR officials.

Under the ordinance, offenders will have to pay $100 after three false fire alarms and $250 after eight false fire alarms. LFR officials maintain that the goal is not to bring in revenue; rather, the department just wants to send its firefighters to locations that actually need their assistance.

LFR hopes to share the same success that Lincoln Police Department (LPD) experienced with its false burglar alarm ordinance. Last year, the police department responded to 2,400 false alarms compared with 4,850 in 2002.

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