, Derry, New Hampshire


October 3, 2013

False alarms may prove costly in the future

Fire chief wants to reduce calls from faulty systems

LONDONDERRY — Firefighters hope to put a new town ordinance in place to cut down on the number of false alarms.

Fire Chief Darren O’Brien said it’s something the department has been working to put details in place to reduce false fire calls.

Having an official alarm ordinance on the books would serve Londonderry well, he said.

The document would include a fee structure to address large numbers of false alarms called in.

“Firefighters have to respond to false alarms,” O’Brien said, “and, at some point, we could charge for those calls.”

Some false alarms are due to businesses and industries not properly monitoring their alarm systems, he said.

Londonderry police already has its own alarm ordinance.

O’Brien said discussion with surrounding communities gave Londonderry some insight on how to move forward with an alarm ordinance.

“This will make sure businesses maintain their systems,” he said.”The systems will be better maintained and protected.”

The ordinance would help the town keep false alarms numbers in check and under control.

Right now, the fee is $50 for four or more false alarms; an excess of six false calls and the fee jumps to $100.

The alarm ordinance would save time and wear and tear on equipment, O’Brien said.

Londonderry Fire Department answered 267 false alarms in 2013. The new ordinance could make that number drop drastically.

“We could maybe drop the percentage of calls by 80 percent,” said Brian Johnson, division chief of fire prevention. “I would be happy to cut that number in half.”

The alarm ordinance discussion will continue at a future Town Council meeting. Right now, councilors say it’s a good plan to have in place.

“Six (calls) is a lot, six times to the same place, you guys want to make a point? Make it,” Councilor John Farrell said.

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