Delaware False Alarm Law to Go Into Effect 2004


The state of Delaware has passed legislation that imposes
penalty fines to alarm system owners after three false
alarms are reported to authorities.

House Bill 57, primarily sponsored by State Rep. Biff
Lee, a volunteer firefighter for more than 30 years, was
signed into law by Delaware Gov. Ruth Ann Minner April 23.
It will levy fines on individual alarm system owners if
their automatic fire alarm system causes more than three
false alarms a year.

After the third false alarm, the fourth would draw a $100 fine and $200 for a fifth false alarm. Any other false alarm will cost users $250.

The new law is scheduled to take effect July 1, 2004.

Willard Preston, Delaware state fire marshal, says electronic alarm systems account for nearly 26 percent of all firefighter dispatches in the state. Ninety-nine percent of these alarms are false.

Alarm industry representatives and fire companies worked together with state lawmakers on the legislation, says David Johnson, NBFAA government affairs director. “[The bill] is a good compromise. The measure is important because now, with residential alarms, people will be required to have them tested and maintained properly, so they won’t cause false alarms and unnecessary running on the fire companies’ part,” he says.

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