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Callicoon acts on false alarms, marijuana

By Joseph Abraham
Posted 9/17/21

JEFFERSONVILLE –– The Callicoon Town Board voted unanimously to pass two local laws on Monday. One of the new laws seeks to reduce the number of “avoidable false alarms” in …

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Callicoon acts on false alarms, marijuana


JEFFERSONVILLE –– The Callicoon Town Board voted unanimously to pass two local laws on Monday. One of the new laws seeks to reduce the number of “avoidable false alarms” in the town that emergency personnel have had to respond to, and the second deals with the recent legalization of recreational marijuana in New York State.

Under the new alarm law, any person who owns, leases, or uses an alarm system within the Town of Callicoon will be required to register annually on a calendar year basis each alarm system they own, lease, or use with the Town of Callicoon Building Department.

There’s a one-time registration fee of $25 for the initial registration of each alarm system. An alarm registration shall not be transferable to another person or alarm site, and alarm users are required to notify the Town of any change in their registration information within 30 days of such change. Failing to register an alarm system will result in a $50 fine.

A false alarm as defined in the law is, “the activation of any alarm system that is not occasioned by a local or regional power outage, weather conditions, natural disaster, criminal act, fire or other emergency.”

Persons who are found guilty of a false alarm violation may be subject to punishment by a fine for the occurrence of one or more false alarms in any twelve-month period. There would be no fine for the first violation, $250 for the second and third violation, $500 for the fourth violation and $1,000 for their fifth or more violation.

Supervisor Tom Bose, who is a Youngsville firefighter, knows from experience the challenges false alarms provide.

“What it does is takes your volunteers away from an actual emergency, so this will regulate it,” said Bose, adding that the town isn’t doing this as a revenue source.

At a public hearing held on the law prior to the start of the town’s monthly board meeting, Matthew Murphy, Chairman of the Jeffersonville Fire District’s Board of Fire Commissioners, spoke on the subject, explaining that between January 1, 2020 and July 31, 2021, the department responded to 43 false fire alarms. Murphy said that isn’t just in the Town of Callicoon.

“Basically we’re running 100 calls a year and almost 50 percent of them are false alarms,” said Murphy, “[at] all hours of the night, all hours of the day.”

The board hopes that having a law in place will provide incentive for those with alarm system issues to rectify the situation.

“I've had experiences with this [alarm laws] being a building inspector in two towns,” said Councilman David Kuebler, “and it does cut down on the [false] alarms a lot.”

Opting out
In other news, at Monday’s meeting, the board voted to opt out of adult use cannabis retail dispensaries and on-site consumption sites.

All local laws passed by municipalities opting out of allowing adult-use retail dispensaries or on-site consumption licenses are subject to a permissive referendum as outlined in section twenty-four of the state’s Municipal Home Rule Law.

When asked why he supported opting out, Bose told the Democrat that with the deck of cards the state gave towns (that if they didn’t opt out by the end of the year they wouldn’t be able to, but if they did opt out, they could opt back in at a later date), opting out gives them the opportunity to change their mind and the advantage of seeing what happens and how things play out.

Bose said he likes to weigh the good and the bad with every decision.

“With cannabis the only good I see that comes from this is a small percentage of the gross sales,” Bose said. “To me that isn’t worth what I believe to be more problematic and more of a burden on emergency services.”
Bose said in rural areas people rely on personal vehicles as their primary means of transportation, which would likely include when they travel to a potential consumption site.

“Currently there’s no way for law enforcement to tell if someone is under the influence [of marijuana],” said Bose. “My fear is we are going to have more people behind the wheel of personal vehicles that are stoned and under the influence. Our job as elected officials is public safety. Protecting our people. If we were to allow this, we wouldn’t be doing our job.”


2 comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here

  • lhfc1563

    If we have a power outage that causes a detector to 'function' because of that blip, why not hold the power company at fault not the owner that has these life saving instruments? If a car malfunctions is the car industry held accountable? If the equipment proves faulty at a certain point of time and sends a false alarm in unkownst to either the homeowner or the security office then how do you get that not to happen? You go from 50 calls (4 per month) to 100 calls (8 per month) a year, some fire departments in the state see over 1000 calls (83 per month) a year with some of them being false.

    Is the same punishment for businesses too? The thing with electronics is as with anything 'made' is the chance of malfunction, look at space rocket that blew up just after take off.

    What I see happening is that once people start getting fined they will disconnect their systems from the monitoring agency and that will lead to more 'major incidents' with delay in time for Fire Companies responding. Or they will stop getting early fire detection/life-saving systems.

    Now take a boiler-puff-back, will set off a smoke detector even though there is no fire and no need for the Fire Dept to respond so being a false alarm that needs a boiler cleaning. Then you have the chance that a spider will walk in front of the detector detection piece and set it off. Spider being gone when you get there would be considered a false alarm.

    If it wasn't about the money then why so many levels and the heightened cost of a fine AND where does this money go?

    What about Fire Companies that have few to little to about no false alarms?

    I being a fireman with 40 years or so experience when my Fire detection system goes off I have the monitoring company call my house first to see if someone is home to confirm fire or not, if no answer on the phone they call 911 and report the alarm activation. This stops the smoke-from-cooking false alarms and other false alarm activations.

    We do follow the State's Mutual Aid System that allows other Fire Companies to be called to go to another call of yours if you can't get the manpower out that's needed.

    There are way too many situations that can happen that can be construed to be a false alarm that wasn't a false alarm that would be fined as one.

    If an alarm keeps activating, the company being used should be fixing the problem or pay for the problem as well.

    The other problem is always going to the same place time after time for false alarms, manpower doesn't want to show up UNTIL that one call and it's blowing out the windows!

    Right now the only false alarm is one that someone calls in knowing there is no need to have called and that's already against the law. What about false alarms at schools? Or set off by smoking or burnt popcorn or from smoke outside?

    I wonder if a survey has been taken of the Fire Depts and see just how many false alarms their are a year and where.

    My company gets very few false alarms - explain that by 1) systems are kept up with maintenance or 2) safeguards are in place or 3) People DON'T Have systems, which waits for the 'working fire with people trapped' type of call.

    How this will reduce the number of false alarms will be by disconnecting their systems, which is a bad choice to make.

    Stay Safe.

    Friday, September 17, 2021 Report this

  • lhfc1563

    On the OPT-OUT.

    Seems like somebody doesn't know much and thinks this will start something new,

    too late, what he describes is something that has been going on since the 60's.

    Protecting our people? When did he stop drunk driving and that they can tell what a how much?

    He speaks of money but says not about money, but here he will get too little in revenue.

    Seems to me this guy is a bit out of touch with the reality and too much into the politics.

    Your job as elected officials, that would be to lower taxes and so much more versus something that's been around and people doing for many decades.

    Saturday, September 18, 2021 Report this