Page 16 - Martin Downs Bulletin - March '22
P. 16

Page 16, Martin Downs

                                              loCal GovernMenT

      ‘Please Don’t Cry Wolf’                            out of the sensors’ zone, and                     businesses and homeowners for false alarms. There is no fine

                                                         even checking for drafts that                     for the first false alarm if the alarm operator has a valid alarm
      By Ruth “Ski”                                      can cause movement of the                         permit. Alarm permit application forms are available on the
      Pietruszewski,                                     houseplants, holiday decorations,                 tax collector’s website, and the permit fee is $20.
      Martin County Tax                                  fans, etc., are ways of preventing                  As an incentive to reduce false alarm calls, alarm operators
      Collector                                          or limiting the incidents. Many                   who had no false alarm incidents during a permit year will be
        It’s good news for public                        jurisdictions impose costly fines                 rewarded by having the cost of their renewal being reduced
      safety that automatic alarms                       for excessive false alarms to offset              to $10, if their permit is renewed prior to the expiration date.
      and detection systems are                          the expenditures. The biggest cost                  Alarm systems provide significant protection to our lives
      widely used, so incident                           is in the loss of lifesaving resources.           and property, if installed and used properly. False alarms place
      and first responders can take                        On Sept. 27, 2005, Martin County Commissioners adopted   a drain on frontline services, increase the risk to road users,
      lifesaving action quickly.                         an ordinance titled The Martin County False Alarm Reduction   and cause interruption to the business sector and communities.
      Alarm systems are designed                         Ordinance 770, which allows imposing a fine against   We should do whatever we can to prevent and reduce them.
      to protect our lives and
      property, and when properly installed, used and maintained,
      are a real asset. However, when responders are sent out on false   Did You Know You Can ‘Co-         The following illustrates this scenario.
      alarm calls, it means they don’t get to the genuine incidents as
      quickly and that’s time they can’t get back, hindering a rapid   Own’ A Property With Your
      response to a critical call. The risk to human life because of                                        House No. 1
      this wasted time is a cause for concern.           Adult Child, And They Can                            This house is
        Many culprits can cause an alarm to go off. Stimuli that   Still File For The Homestead             owned by John
      trick detectors or sensors such as cooking – grilling bacon                                           and Mary Smith.
      and burning toast, welding and grinding, steam from a   Exemption Benefit?                            John and Mary live
      shower, cigarette smoke, dust, aerosols, cleaning chemicals,                                          and reside in this
      a malfunction of the system, low batteries, loose sensors,   By Jenny Fields, CFA,                    home and filed for
      roaming pets, and simple user error, can all unnecessarily   Martin County Property                   their homestead
      generate a false alarm.                            Appraiser                                          exemption.
        False alarms disrupt everyday activities.  They’re     Due to the rising cost
      inconvenient, stressful, cause unnecessary expense, and are a   of property ownership, it’s
      wholly unproductive activity. A false alarm is a notification of   not uncommon for parents
      an alarm to the police department when responding authorities   to “co-own” a property                House No. 2
      find no evidence of criminal offense or fire. Such occurrences   with their child. While the            This  house  is
      engage the police or fire department and needlessly divert public   parents own another home          owned by John and
      safety resources, costing time and means of local municipalities.  and receive the homestead          Mary Smith and
        Frequent false alarms desensitize communities to the actual   exemption benefit on their            their adult daughter
      incidents of crime or fire, eventually leading to ignoring the   home, the child may file             Maggie Smith.
      actual cases. Alarms that are crying wolf affect people’s   for homestead exemption on the “co-       Maggie Smith lives
      behavior making them feel there’s no need to react to the alarm,   owned” property.                   and resides in this
      but for the one in ten or in a hundred alarms that is genuine,     You may own more than one home     home and filed
      complacency could be fatal.                        but you can only claim homestead                   for her homestead
        Educating household members on operating the system,   exemption on one home. That home             exemption.
      checking windows and doors, making sure that pets are   needs to be your  primary residence.
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