02/20/08 — Fremont eyes charge for alarms

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Fremont eyes charge for alarms

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on February 20, 2008 1:57 PM

FREMONT -- The Fremont Town Board moved Tuesday night to explore the possibility of charging fees for an excessive number of false burglar and fire alarms.

Goldsboro already has a fee structure in place that allows residents three "free" false alarms caused by human error -- not "acts of God" such as weather -- for businesses and homes. After the three freebies, residents are assessed a fine of up to $100, depending on the number of false alarms.

The Wayne County Sheriff's Office also recently announced it would investigate the idea of charging similar fees after officials noticed a particularly bad three-month period, when officers were called to 449 false alarms.

Fremont town Administra-tor Kerry McDuffie said false alarms are bad for emergency medical responders.

"It gets to the point where people assume it's going to be a false call," McDuffie said. "These people are doing a disservice to (themselves) as well as the town."

False alarm problems often can be fixed by alarm maintenance or by identifying and replacing problem parts in the system, Sheriff's Office Maj. Ray Smith has said.

Smith and other Sheriff's Office officials say they have to treat every emergency call as serious, because they cannot risk assuming a false alarm.

Alderman W.T. Smith said false alarms had been a recent problem for Fremont.

"I know we had two yesterday (Monday) morning, about 45 minutes apart," Smith said.

McDuffie said that town officials recently met with one business to see what they could do about the number of false alarms.

McDuffie said that he would ask the town's legal representative to compose an ordinance that aldermen could consider at a later meeting.