The Del Mar City Council on Nov. 17 addressed the sometimes-costly annoyance of false fire and burglary alarms by introducing an ordinance that will charge residents and businesses fines for such occurrences.
According to Assistant Fire Chief Dismas Ableman, the Del Mar Fire Department responded to an average of 112 false fire alarms during the past two years. The Sheriff's Department responded to 399 false alarms during the same period.
Currently, the city does not charge a fee for false fire alarms, but charges $60 for a sheriff's response after the fourth such incident. Under the new ordinance, an unnecessary response from either department, will now result in a $60 fine for a third false alarm, $75 for a fourth, $100 for a fifth, $150 for a sixth and $175 for all subsequent repeat offenses. There will be no fines for the first two false alarms.
Ableman said the average time emergency teams spend responding to false alarms is one hour, costing the city about $220 each time. He added the Del Mar Fairgrounds is responsible for the most false alarms in the city.