City looking at response to false alarms

WICHITA, Kansas — Every year, false alarms cost the Wichita police and fire departments valuable time and money. Now they want your feedback on how to solve the problem.

“Every time that a truck rolls out of the doors there’s an expense going on there,” said Capt. Bevis with the Wichita Fire Department.
The city says they spend around 3 million dollars every year just responding to false alarms and since they imposed new fees back in 2010, they saw a drop in false alarms of 7.3 percent in the first year. That saved the city about $200,000.

“It’s almost like the boy who cried wolf, and that’s really one of the big issues here,” said Bevis.

But now, the city is looking to change the ordinance and leaders want feedback.

“We’re trying to work with the community to make it so that false alarms are down. That’s our goal,” said Nolte.

After a couple of public meetings sat empty earlier this year, the Wichita Police Department has gone to the internet and to Facebook, posting a survey to try and get some public feedback.

One of the issues on the survey is whether or not first responders should go to an alarm at a place with unpaid or excessive false alarm fees.

“They are a problem for the local authorities and police departments but they’re also a problem for alarm companies. Homeowners don’t like to have a lot of false alarms either,” said Jonathan Marvin, Vice President of Customer Experience at Protection One.

Alarm companies like Protection One say their focus is simply on protecting homeowners and businesses.

“We hold peoples’ life safety and valuables as a top priority, so we feel it’s important to respond to all alarms,” said Marvin.

But emergency workers still want those alarms to go off to let them know when there is a true problem.

“We want to know, we want to have early warning when there’s an issue at your home or your business, but we want to make sure that it is an actually emergency,” said Bevis.

To participate in the survey you can follow the link below.

Survey: Wichita Alarm Program

Related: Code of Ordinances

Related: Alarm Administration – Frequently Asked Questions

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