Things will be changing soon in terms of what happens when a false alarm sounds in Chilliwack.
First City of Chilliwack moved ahead earlier this summer with plans to invoice property owners responsible for false alarms.
Now RCMP is also announcing a change to their protocol for responding to nuisance property alarms — the ones that go off by accident.
Starting Sept. 1, any alarms will have to be verified first before RCMP officers attend.
“This is going to make us more efficient,” said Cpl. Mike Rail about the Upper Fraser Valley Regional Detachment serving Chilliwack, Hope, Agassiz, Harrison and Boston Bar. “It will also mean a better use of police resources.”
It’s a problem that had to be addressed because excessive fire alarms that call out police or fire services are considered a nuisance, and waste time according to officials.
Since the beginning of 2015, local police logged 1400 false alarm calls in the UFVRD area which covers Chilliwack, Agassiz, Harrison and Hope.
Last year during the same time frame there were 1356 false alarms triggered, and another 1414 from January to August 2013.
RCMP completed a statistical analysis on the false alarm calls, proposed response changes based on the numbers, and then shared the data with the city.
“The numbers have been very consistent over the past three years,” he said.
Verification before RCMP are dispatched will have to be confirmed by: a property rep, key holder, witness or by two-way voice, video monitoring, multi-zone or glass break notification.
As of this fall, the onus will now be squarely on the property owners to ensure maintenance and proper operation of their security alarms.
Police will respond to monitored panic and medical alarms as usual however.
“What is important is that public safety is our highest priority,” he said.
RCMP are offering tips to help avoid a false alarm:
·Test and service alarm systems
·Have alarm monitored by video or voice
·Know how to operate alarm system
·Ensure property representatives can be reached.
On the city side of things, starting Sept. 1 people will get one warning before receiving an invoice. To date, no bills have yet been sent out, but the first one could go out as soon as Jan. 1.
After Dec. 31, everyone will have to comply with the terms of the bylaw passed by council in 2011 to reduce false alarms. There will be no warnings and false alarms will see invoices fired off to the property owner responsible.