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LA Considering Big Fines For False Fire Alarms

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – The Los Angeles City Council is moving forward in developing a plan which would fine homeowners and businesses for false fire alarms.

In a 14-0 vote, the council Tuesday advanced a proposal directing the L.A. Fire Department and the city attorney's office to develop an ordinance which implements a fine structure for false fire alarms.

LAFD determined that 12,000 of the approximately 25,000 fire alarm callouts it receives per year are false, according to a report from the council's Public Safety Committee.

The city administrative office cited the Los Angeles Police Department's own false alarm program, which was implemented in 2009. According to LAPD statistics, the number of false alarm calls dropped from 145,000 in 2009 to 54,000 in 2017. The program brings in about $11 million annually in permits and fees.

Under the program, L.A. residents who have an alarm system in their home must pay a $43 annual fee to the LAPD. The fine for the first false alarm is $189, and it goes up from there for each subsequent false alarm.

The initial proposal is a fire alarm permit fee of $48 annually, along with a fine of $172 for a 15-minute on-scene response, or $343 for a 30-minute response. The city estimates the ordinance would bring in about $1.72 million annually for the fire department.

A false fire alarm is classified by LAFD as a malicious alarm, which is currently a misdemeanor, whereas an unwanted alarm is caused by system malfunction or incorrect installation.

(©2018 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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