Panama City, FL Enacts False Alarm FinesPosted By Michael Goris
You may recall how we recently discussed the prospect of Panama City, FL introducing false alarm fines. As expected, the city did go through with the plan, as the city announced a new fining structure for false alarms. Only repeat offenders can be fined under the new city ordinance.
According to the new policy, security system users in single-family homes will be provided with three (3) warnings for causing false alarms. Another offense after that will result in a $250 fine. Any subsequent false alarm will result in a $500 fine. As for multi-family homes and businesses, users in these locations will only be given two (2) warnings before fines start occurring. The next false alarm will result in a $500 fine, and all subsequent false alarms will result in $1,000 fines.
City manager Tony O'Rourke explained how false alarms waste resources, stating, "That’s not only an inherent risk for our first responders, but also it is taking away valuable resources in true emergency situations.” O'Rourke also stated that the fines provide a strong incentive for users to verify that their systems are working as intended. Records indicate that roughly 2,200 false alarms occur each year.
Panama City, FL Mayor, Mark Sheldon added, "When the chiefs are going out and their teams are going out, they don’t know if it’s a false alarm or not... They respond with the utmost urgency to every call, and 2,200 times this year, they got there for nothing. They put themselves in danger and everyone else that they passed along the way.”
From our perspective at Alarm Grid, this newly enacted policy is tough, but fair. Giving three (3) warnings for residential end users is quite generous. This allows for some occasional mistakes to be made, without punishing an end user too severely. The fines are admittedly quite steep, but it is very unlikely for a responsible end user to reach that threshold where they begin being fined. A good monitoring company will do its part to properly train end users so that false alarms are kept to an absolute minimum. With the right training, a user should never expect to be fined under this policy. However, the policy is still there to help ensure that users act responsibly.
We have said many times before that we at Alarm Grid always do our part to educate and train our customers so that they do not cause false alarms. We strongly advise checking out this informative guide to preventing false alarms. Additionally, all Alarm Grid monitored customers are invited to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if they are any questions or concerns about preventing false alarms on their systems. Our team is available to answer your email inquiries from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!