False alarms are costing Bowling Green taxpayers more than $100,000 a year. Bowling Green's Police Department has answered more than 3,200 false alarm calls this year, and 14.5-percent of all BG Fire Department runs are due to false alarms.
Police and fire officials say false alarm calls put their officers and firefighters out of position in case there is an actual emergency, which poses a public safety risk in a business where time is always of the essence.
To stem the tide of false alarms, the city passed an ordinance in 1997 to charge repeat offenders. Businesses are allowed three free false alarm responses. On the fourth time, the company is charged $25, $50 for the fifth, $75 for the sixth, and $100 for the seventh false alarm response and beyond. Businesses are not charged if the false alarm is found to have been triggered by forces beyond their control (i.e. weather, etc).
City officials say they have seen a slight decrease in the number of false alarms since the ordinance was passed, but say a lack of attentiveness by employees is still the primary cause of most false alarm calls.