Chapel Hill has begun registration for the Accidental Alarm Program, which will cut down on false alarms responses from the town’s emergency services.

Professional Standards and Public Information Lieutenant for the Chapel Hill Police Department, Josh Mecimore, says that responding to these false alarms takes a huge toll on town resources.

“The Police Department responded to over 3,600 alarms in 2012,” says Lt. Mecimore, “about 95% of those were accidental activations. The department spends about $75,000 to respond to those. The cost is actually higher to the Fire Department. They responded to 1,250 alarm calls in that same period, and the cost is about $122,000.”

Lt. Mecimore describes the general structure of the program and what penalties could be enacted if multiple false alarms occur.

“If you fail to register and you have an alarm that we respond to, you would be fined $100. If you have registered, and we respond to accidental activations after the third, you would be fined $100 for the fourth, $100 for the fifth, and then it gradually increases as you go up: $200 for the sixth and seventh, $300 for the eighth and ninth, and $500 for each alarm starting at ten and up.”

Lt. Mecimore says that the program can serve has a much-needed reminder for Chapel Hill citizens and a means of learning how to properly utilize their home alarm systems.

“Our hope is that we won’t have to impose a lot of those penalties. That after the educational period, and after some alarms have gone off, folks will start to take care of those issues.”

As of the most recent records, over 1,700 citizens have registered for the program.

To register for the Accidental Alarm Program, click here.