Erie Fire Department proposing ordinance for excessive false alarms

Local News

A proposed ordinance in the City of Erie is in the works to fine property and business owners for excessive false alarms answered by the Erie Fire Department. First, the ordinance needs to be approved by Erie City Council.

Erie Fire Crews will come out and respond to several calls a day and some of them can be unnecessary because of reported false alarms, so the ordinance is going to help conserve the fire department’s resources and, most importantly, save a life.

Being on the clock 24/7 comes with challenges, including being tied up on multiple false alarms. So far, the Erie Fire Department have responded to 277 false alarms since January.

To reduce the false alarms, the Erie Fire Department is proposing an ordinance that will fine business owners and residents for excessive false alarms. This new ordinance will help the fire department conserve resources and, of course, save more lives.

Erie Fire Inspector Darren Hart says if the ordinance is passed by Erie City Council, this will give firefighters a better chance to tackle other needed emergencies.

“You’re not only responding to a false alarm, you have to stay on location to find out what caused this false alarm.” Hart said.

According to Hart, the issue with false alarms would have crews needing to stay on location until the investigation is over, which causes a delay to get to other emergencies. He says the department has limited resources of fire rigs, so conserving those would be important for any life-threatening situation.

The proposed ordinance calls for fines of up to $300 after the third false alarm.

“We’re a quick response service, so medically speaking, a majority of our calls in the fire department are for medical calls and that’s where we should be helping the people, not going to responding to false alarms unnecessarily.” said Chief Joe Walko.

The ordinance would not only apply to business owners but those living in apartment complexes. The landlord would be held accountable for the fines.

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