Red Deer County approves false alarms bylaw

Businesses and other property owners will pay the price for triggering false alarms in Red Deer County.

Businesses and other property owners will pay the price for triggering false alarms in Red Deer County.

County council unanimously approved a false alarm bylaw on Tuesday that will ding repeat offenders $200 for a second false alarm in the calendar year. Third and subsequent false alarms will mean a $400 fine.

RCMP and the county’s volunteer fire department respond to hundreds of false alarms a year from commercial, industrial and residential properties. In fact, most of the alarm calls forwarded by alarm monitoring companies turn out to be false, says a report to council.

Ric Henderson, county assistant chief administrative officer, said the constant stream of unwarranted calls is putting a strain on police and fire service volunteers, who often have to leave their regular jobs or homes to respond.

Responders are put at risk racing to the scene and time spent on chasing down false calls affects their ability to be ready for a real call.

“The idea is not to generate more revenue, but to make people more responsible and more accountable for their systems,” Henderson told council.

“Police are in favour of these bylaws, as are our fire services.”

Many other Alberta communities have resorted to similar approaches to convince alarm owners to be more wary of triggering false calls. Sometimes it is a mechanical issue, but often false alarms are triggered by poorly trained employees.

Coun. Philip Massier said urban communities within the county are watching closely and are expected to bring their own bylaws to council.

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