Ottawa city council adding fees for false fire alarms

City council is hoping new fees for false fire alarms will help reduce their numbers by 10 to 20 per cent over the next three years.

“Ottawa Fire Services responded to more than 10,000 false fire alarms in 2022, needlessly occupying emergency services and posing a potential risk to public safety,” wrote city council in a release. “Most false alarms can be prevented with proper maintenance of alarm systems, and the strategy includes a fee for nuisance alarms – the most common type of false alarm, caused by equipment malfunction or negligence.”

Only commercial, institutional, industrial or multi-residential properties will be subjected to the new fees.

Council also said it won’t apply to alarms outside the owner’s control, like from accidents, weather or vandalism.

For a first offence, the Ottawa Fire Services will provide owners with information on the proper use and maintenance of alarm systems. The owner will be hit with a $500 fee for the second offence, $1,000 for the third and $1,500 for each additional offence in the same calendar year.

The fees will come into effect on July 1.

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