CLEMSON, S.C. (WSPA) – Clemson city council will do a second reading, then vote on an ordinance that would fine alarm owners if their alarm goes off consistently with no real emergency.
Out of the 450 alarm-activated calls the Clemson Fire Department responded to in 2022, Chief Rick Cramer said 146 were malfunctions.
Cramer said a number of the false alarms came from Dockside Apartments.
“It’s concerning every time you have to run out to a false alarm,” Cramer said.
The reason it’s concerning, Cramer said, is because it takes a unit away for a couple of hours that could be used for a real emergency.
Also, it puts people in unnecessary danger.
“There’s a certain amount of risk associated with that and that’s a risk to the firefighters who are responding in that vehicle running lights and sirens,” Cramer said.
However, Clemson City Council is working to help this problem.
“Faulty calls, faulty things need to be taken care of,” said Councilmember Catherine Watt.
Thursday, council members passed the first reading of an ordinance that would hand out fines to alarm owners who keep having false alarms go off.
“Usually, our fire marshal will come out and work with you directly and say hey this is why your fire alarm went off, after that it starts at $50 and progressively gets more expensive,” Watt said.
City council said other cities who put this ordinance in place saw a 20-25% decrease in faulty calls.
“So, this is a way to encourage residents and businesses to address the issue with the fire marshal, to work with them, to learn more,” Watt said.
Clemson City Council said the ordinance will include a section where fines can be waived in the event of power outages or natural disasters.
The second reading will take place next week.