False Alarms Concern Local Fire Prevention Bureau
Homeowners could be fined on the third unintentional false alarm.
The Fire Prevention Bureau that covers Kinnelon, Butler and Bloomingdale is asking homeowners to be more aware of what can set off their fire alarms and take precautions to avoid unintentional false fire alarms.
Tri-boro fire codes allow for two false alarms per homeowner per year, the bureau said, and penalize the homeowner with a fine on the third false alarm. The estimated cost for a fire department to respond to a fire is between $250 and $450 per hour per vehicle and several volunteers give up their time to respond.
"We are seeing a general increase of 'unintentional false alarms' in our areas. These are alarms that could have been avoided by some basic precautions. This is not only a problem within the tri-boro, but one that is worldwide," according to the bureau.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, 2,187,000 false fire alarms were responded to by fire departments in the U.S. in 2010.
Many of the unintentional false alarms have been caused by contractors working in homes, unaware of the alarms and the effect dust can have on activating them. Locally, no codes are in place to penalyze the contractors if this is the reason the alarms are set off, the bureau said.
The bureau recommended the following to avoid unintentional false fire alarms:
Whenever any work is being done within the premises, whether with permit (change to structure/property) or general maintenance, such as painting, sanding, etc., the owner/occupant should inform the contractor that the premises is equipped with central monitoring and before work is started, the monitoring company must be notified of work being performed so the system can be put on test during the time the work is being done. In addition, the local police department also should be informed that the alarm is in test. Naturally, after work is completed the alarm company must be called again to re-set system.