Port Hardy bylaw prohibits false alarms

Violators face fines for forcing fire and rescue personnel on needless call-outs

PORT HARDY – Sending a false alarm to emergency personnel could be costly.

A bylaw written at the request of the fire chief in Port Hardy proposes to fine property owners for the sounding of false alarms.

“One business had a mechanical problem and every week at 2 or 3 a.m. the fire alarm would go off,” said Gloria Le Gal, director of corporate services. “This went on for months. The business refused to repair the alarm and finally the fire department refused to respond.”

That experience prompted the new bylaw that defines a false alarm as any time an alarm sounds for a test, a mechanical failure, an error or as a deception of emergency services personnel.

Under the new bylaw, property owners are responsible for false alarm calls from their properties. However, the first two calls within 12 months would not be charged a fee. Third and fourth call outs for emergency personnel in the same year would be fined $400 each, while $600 would be charged  for any further calls.

The District would send a bill to the property owner. If it is unpaid at the end of the year, the amount would be added to their property tax bill.

As well, apartment buildings that don’t have live-in managers have also been a problem when an alarm is set off by pranksters and the new bylaw calls for property owners to provide contact information for three people who could respond to turn the alarm off.

 

“The bylaw gives us tools for dealing with the problem,” said Le Gal.