JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – Johns Creek residents and businesses in Johns Creek who use a monitored alarm system need to register their systems by Sept. 1, in accordance with the City’s new False Alarms Ordinance.
Even if residents have already signed up, they may have to do so again.
The city had originally called for registration to be complete by June 1, but postponed the deadline pending getting alarm vendor’s contract completed. Now the city is saying anyone who signed up before Aug. 1 must re-register.
City Manager John Kachmar said registration is free and can be done simply online by going to
www.JohnsCreekGA.gov/alarm. However, monitored alarm owners who don’t register and receive a false alarm are subject to a $100 penalty, beginning Sept. 1.
“You need to be registered in the system. But our biggest problems are with local businesses,” Kachmar said.
The first false alarm does not provoke a fee, but if being unregistered will. However, alarm owners who registered their systems with the City in the past (prior to Aug. 1, 2013) need to re-register their systems in order to comply with the new ordinance.
Johns Creek has contracted with private vendor Cry Wolf to implement online registration, and tracking and collection of fees for the Johns Creek False Alarm Reduction Program.
In doing so, Johns Creek is joining Sandy Springs Dunwoody as clients of Cry Wolf to reduce the ongoing problem of answering false alarms.
Alarm users are assessed a graduated fine ranging from $50 to $500 based on the number of false alarms. False alarms for fires will escalate more quickly because those responses are more expensive for the city.
Fire Chief Jeff Hogan said the cost for a fire engine to respond is about $480.
The first false alarm is only a warning. Subsequent false alarms will have fines attached to them and will be billed by Cry Wolf.
Fine is to get the user’s attention. Habitual false alarm offenders will soon get the message that it is cheaper to get the system fixed than it is to burn up the city’s public safety personnel’s time and equipment.
The False Alarms Ordinance was approved in May with the goal of reducing the number of false alarm calls in the city.
An estimated 95 percent of all alarm calls to which police and fire turn out are false alarms. In 2012, Johns Creek police and fire personnel responded to almost 6,000 false alarms, which was time spent away from their real mission.
"We have limited resources to answer calls. And when there are 14 false alarms a day, there is a tragedy waiting to happen because our people are answering a cry-wolf situation," Kachmar said.
The city recommends if the public discovers the alarm has been set off accidentally, that they immediately call the alarm company to cancel it so that false alarm won’t be registered against that facility.
The ordinance also addresses the requirement of Johns Creek businesses to have a KNOX Box Rapid Entry System. All KNOX Box questions should be addressed to Johns Creek’s Fire Marshal at firstname.lastname@example.org or 678- 512-3363.
Details about the false alarms ordinance, penalties, and appeal process can be found at www.JohnsCreekGA.gov/alarm. Questions about the Johns Creek False Alarm Reduction Program can also be answered at 855-725-7100, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.