Regular City Council Meeting


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  Regular   4.       
Meeting Date: 11/22/2021  
TITLE:    Public Hearing and First Reading Ordinance for regulation of Fire / Security Alarm Systems
PRESENTED BY: Mike Spini
Department: Fire  

RECOMMENDATION
Staff, Fire and Police Departments recommend approval amending Billings, Montana City Code (BMCC) by adding a new section to Article 14-600 Regulation of Fire / Security Alarm Systems.
BACKGROUND (Consistency with Adopted Plans and Policies, if applicable)
The Billings Fire and Police Departments respond to thousands of false fire and security alarm calls annually. False alarms harm the community by removing in-service fire and police units from responding to actual emergencies and condones complacency for reacting to alarms (building occupants and first responders). False alarms place the public at risk due to code response traveling to the location and produce unnecessary wear and tear and fuel usage for fire and police vehicles.

The proposed ordinance provides a mechanism to reduce the number of false alarms by charging a response fee to alarm system owners for excessive alarms (three or more) requiring fire or police department response. Similar ordinances are in place around the country and have proven to be effective in reducing false alarms. For the years 2018-2020 there have been an average of 942 alarm calls per year with approximately 40% of those calls coming from locations with 3 or more calls per year.
 
STAKEHOLDERS
Affected stakeholders include the fire and police departments, commercial fire and security alarm system owners, alarm system companies, and the public. A stakeholder committee was formed and provided input and direction on the proposed ordinance, including the allowable amount of false alarms, the fee amount, and the appeals process.
ALTERNATIVES
City Council may choose to approve; or, not approve staff recommendations.
FISCAL EFFECTS
There is no negative impact on the fire and police department's budgets. All fees collected will be deposited into the General Fund. The Finance Department will conduct billing and collection of payments based on information provided by the Fire and Police Departments. A separate resolution will set the fee amount and will be presented to City Council after the second reading and public hearing.
SUMMARY
For the reasons stated within this memo, City staff of the Fire and Police Departments recommend approval amending Billings, Montana City Code (BMCC) by adding a new section to Article 14-600 Regulation of Fire / Security Alarm Systems.

Attachments
False Alarm Ordinance


    

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