Upstate N.Y. Village Approves Fines for Repeat False Alarms
The law imposes fines on people whose alarm systems malfunction and dispatch first responders when there is no emergency.
LAKE GEORGE, N.Y. – A law that will give property owners an extra incentive to keep their alarm systems functioning correctly has gained unanimous approval from town officials here.
The law imposes fines on people whose properties have alarm systems that malfunction and call first responders when there is no emergency, which drains energy and money from fire departments, reports Poststar.com.
There is no fee for the first or second false alarm within a 12-month period, but after that, the fines go up to $350 plus $100 for each false alarm beyond five within a year.
Mayor Robert Blais told the news outlet it also is designed to “make sure the owner of the premises maintains the alarm in proper good-working order.”
“When it’s a volunteer fire company, it’s even more cumbersome because the firefighters are leaving their homes at all times of day and night and in all kinds of weather,” Blais said.
The new law will require property owners with alarm systems to fill out a form so village officials have emergency contact information for the owner and tenants.
The village passed the law Nov. 17, and it takes effect after filing with the state Department of State, which usually takes about 30 days, according to Poststar.com.
“We hope we won’t be out there charging a lot of people. For the past year, if it was in place, we would have had maybe two properties that would have paid the (highest) fee and maybe one that would have paid the $200 fee, so the main thing is when they arrive and the premise is unoccupied or seasonal, we need a good resource here to be able to get hold of so someone can come correct the situation,” Blais said.
“An activated alarm signal which is promptly followed by a good faith call to dispatch personnel that the message or signal may be disregarded shall not constitute a false alarm,” the law reads.
“We’ll try to get records from past false alarms, and we’ll probably have to go almost door to door and drop the forms off, and they’ll have 90 days to fill them out,” Blais said. “Most of the commercial places built in the last several years we know probably have an alarm system. … It’ll certainly take the 90 days the law calls for to complete. Once we get all the records in place, it’ll operate efficiently.”
Fines collected will be relayed to the Lake George Fire Department, according to Poststar.com.
Code Enforcement Officer Doug Frost said via Poststar.com that issuing the tickets will likely fall under his department of code enforcement.
“If the person doesn’t pay, I’m assuming what we’d do is bill them. If they don’t pay the bill, we’d charge them with a violation of the local law,” Blais said.
According to the law, that comes with possible imprisonment and a range of fines of $250 to no less than $750 for three or more instances of failing to pay the fee.
The town has not yet taken action on the law, according to Poststar.com.
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