Starting next month, businesses that repeatedly have false fire alarm calls will be fined by the Pocatello Fire Department.
“These fines are not meant to discourage anyone from calling in the event of a fire,” said Chief David Gates. “What we want to do is encourage businesses to make sure their fire alarm systems are in and remain in good working order. We also want to ensure critical emergency resources are available for true emergencies, because we have to send a fire crew to each false alarm as if it were a real emergency. We don’t know that it’s not until we get there.”
October 1 the new fine structure will take effect. For the first two false alarms, businesses will not be fined. The third time fire crews respond to the scene for a false alarm, the business will receive a warning letter. The fourth will see them fined $150 and on the fifth false alarm and subsequent false alarm calls, they will be fined $500.
“We will start everyone at zero October 1,” said Chief Gates. “The false alarms have to occur in a six month period before the fine structure kicks in.”
According to statistics compiled by Chief Gates, it costs $200 per hour to send a fire crew to the scene and in 2014, they received 337 false alarm calls.