False alarm crackdown

Too many false alarm calls are putting emergency services staff at risk in Red Deer County, say the assistant county manager. Ric Henderson said every year, crews respond to hundreds of calls at businesses and homes where, when they show up, there is no emergency.

Too many false alarm calls are putting emergency services staff at risk in Red Deer County, say the assistant county manager.

Ric Henderson said every year, crews respond to hundreds of calls at businesses and homes where, when they show up, there is no emergency.

On Tuesday, Red Deer County council gave first reading to a new False Alarm Bylaw that may curb the alarms by penalizing home owners and businesses for the second false alarm within a calendar year.

The first offence can result in a $200 fine payable to the county. Subsequent response would see offenders pay $400 per incident.

Henderson said this bylaw is a long time coming because the incidents are on the rise.

He did not have a specific number but he estimated the crews respond to hundreds of false alarm calls every year.

For example, they see situations where businesses run fire drills with employees but do not inform the fire crews or the alarm company.

Or employees will forget the security code to get into a building and set off the alarms.

“A fire call (is) an emergency response for our fire vehicles,” said Henderson. “That puts not only our people at risk but those on the roads. When you’re running lights and sirens, that’s a risk every time.”

Henderson said the false alarms are taking the personnel away from other legitimate complaints, emergencies and duties. As well, he said the unnecessary response is taking the volunteer firefighters away from work and home.

Henderson said the bylaw isn’t intended to be a money grab but to make property owners accountable for their alarm systems.

“Sometimes when it hits you in the pocketbook, it makes a difference,” said Henderson. “People need to be accountable for the systems that they have in their property. Even though you have a company that is monitoring it, the property owner is still responsible for what happens with that alarm.”

Red Deer charges residents $300 on second and subsequent offences for false alarms due to faulty equipment under its Emergency Services Department Fees and Charges and Bylaw. The bylaw is under review.

Blackfalds and Lacombe approved similar bylaws earlier this year.

County council is expected to pass the new bylaw in September.

crhyno@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Police back mandatory alcohol screening

New legislation taking effect on Dec. 18 allows alcohol testing of all drivers legally stopped

Manslaughter trial begins for Delburne man involved in 2016 collision

Delburne man is accused of causing a collision with a pickup he was following

Red Deer RCMP ready for new mandatory alcohol screening law

Red Deer RCMP are ready to enforce a new law intended to… Continue reading

Bentley family left without a home grateful for community support

Central Albertans are coming together to support a family left homeless after… Continue reading

‘My nightmare began again’: Close call as bus carrying Humboldt crash survivor rear-ended

CALGARY — A terrifying ordeal for Humboldt Broncos survivor Ryan Straschnitzki this… Continue reading

Orlando SC acquires Canadian Tesho Akindele in trade with FC Dallas for cash

ORLANDO, Fla. — Canadian forward Tesho Akindele was traded to Orlando City… Continue reading

Koskinen notches third shutout, McDavid gets winner as Oilers blank Flames 1-0

EDMONTON — The Edmonton Oilers appear to have shored up their defence… Continue reading

Beyonce performs at pre-wedding party in India

Beyonce brought her star power to a pre-wedding party for the daughter… Continue reading

Kirk Douglas celebrates 102nd birthday

LOS ANGELES — Actor Kirk Douglas got to celebrate his 102nd birthday… Continue reading

Ellen Page steps up attack on Nova Scotia pulp mill’s effluent pipeline

HALIFAX — Hollywood actor Ellen Page is doubling down on her criticism… Continue reading

Pence aide out of running to be Trump’s next chief of staff

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s top pick to replace chief of staff… Continue reading

Swath of South faces wintry mess: Snow, sleet, freezing rain

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A massive storm brought snow, sleet, and freezing rain… Continue reading

‘I killed my best friend’: Opioids’ fatal grip on mayor, pal

MOUNT CARBON, Pa. — Janel Firestone found her son — the 24-year-old,… Continue reading

Most Read