False alarms could cost Columbiana residents, businesses as much as $300

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Columbiana residents and business owners could now face fines for false alarms that cause city police or fire units to respond unnecessarily.

City officials unanimously approved the ordinance during Monday night&8217;s council meeting, paving the way for possible fines for people who violate the new law.

&8220;Several months ago, we had a number of businesses whose alarm systems would trigger or go off unnecessarily,&8221; Columbiana mayor Allen Lowe said. &8220;Every time a city policeman or fire truck responds to an alarm, it costs the city money and puts wear and tear on city equipment.&8221;

Lowe noted that the false alarms could also pull police and fire crews away from real emergencies.

Under the new ordinance, violators whose systems give two false alarms in a 12-month period will be fined $100 following the second offense. Violators will be fined $200 for a third offense and $300 for every offense thereafter.

&8220;It&8217;s just a way to not so much alleviate our expenses, but to encourage people to maintain their properties and alarm systems,&8221; Lowe said. &8220;We need to make sure our emergency crews are able to effectively do their jobs.&8221;