Security, fire alarms to be in compliance with city's new false alarm ordinance

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Shavonne Potts

Salisbury Post

Beginning this week, Salisbury residents and businesses must register their security and fire alarms with either the Fire Department or Police Department to be in compliance with the city’s false alarm ordinance.

Salisbury City Council approved the ordinance in November, establishing a fine for the third false alarm call within a 12-month period.

Users have until March 31 for the free registration.

“This will provide us with updated contact and key-holder information,” said Lt. Trevor Allen of the Salisbury Police Department.

The first two false alarms that police or the fire department respond to will not be fined, but on the third, fourth and fifth call, the city will charge a $50 fine.

The fine increases as the number of false calls the agencies have to respond to increases.

On the sixth and seventh call, a $100 fine will be charged to the owner; the eighth and ninth, a $250 fine; and 10 or more, a $500 fine.

Allen said the goal of the ordinance is to reduce false alarms, not to create revenue.

“Although the ordinance provides for progressive fines, we hope we do not have to bill for fines,” he said.

Police and fire staff, who did most of the work in writing the ordinance, said at the November council meeting that responding to false alarms wastes resources and time.

The police department responds to approximately 3,000 alarms per year, 98 percent of which are false. The fire department responds to approximately 400 false alarms per year.

The ordinance allows the departments to spend more time working toward strategic goals, save fuel and increase safety, Allen said.

It also permits them to hold responsible those alarm users who drain city resources, he said.

“This allows us time to do more projects in the community, foot patrols and drug enforcement,” Allen said.

Capt. Doug Stevens with the Salisbury Fire Department also worked on the ordinance.

The ordinance takes effect April 1.

Alarms may be registered in these ways:

* In person or by mail at the Salisbury Police Department at 130 E. Liberty St. or the Salisbury Fire Department at 514 E. Innes St.

* Online at (click on the link for the Alarm Registration Form).

* By fax at 704-638-8519.

Contact Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253 or