Volunteer firefighters are on call 24-7 to respond to emergencies where every second counts, many leaving their normal jobs to answer the call. Now, one town wants to make sure each call is a real emergency.
Bobby Brewer owns the Red Dome Inn Restaurant in Pittsfield and says he supports the city council's decision to impose fines on false alarms.
"Listen, fines never are a good thing, anywhere but a lot of times they have to be put into place to get people to react," said Brewer.
The fines being:
1. First offense: written warning, no fine
2. Second offense: $200.00 service charge
3. Third and subsequent offense: $200.00 service charge plus an additional $50.00 for each offense after
The reason behind the fine? Firefighters say it's because of a recent increase of false alarms.
"We've had some that's had probably 8 or 9 in a month so we just want to curb that. We just want to fix it so we don't have false alarms," said Assistant Fire Chief Tom Reinhardt.
Reinhardt says the purpose of the fines is not to gain revenue, it's to show the importance of what volunteer firefighters go through to actually get to a fire.
"They have to leave a paying job or they have to get out of bed at 2 or 3 in the morning and respond to it," said Reinhardt.
Reinhardt says there's also a safety issue at hand.
"There's a certain risk when we're going to a fire we have to assume that it's a fire we risk having an accident or somebody suffering an injury on the way to the fire."
Brewer says he's now looking into a state-of-the-art automated system for his restaurant, that'll hopefully not trigger false alarms.
"With the economy and the way things are today they're quite pricey but there's just no price on a life," said Brewer.
The ordinance for businesses is now in effect.
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