Punishment for False Alarms
A much needed piece of legislation is now before the New York State Legislature. It is a bill introduced by Assemblyman John G. Malone, of Albany, and is aimed at the growing practice of sending in false alarms, through viciousness or a false sense of humor on the part of the guilty person. The immediate inspiration of the measure was the unfortunate accident in Albany recently, resulting in the serious injury of four firemen, and the fracturing of the skull of Captain Michael Fleming, of Engine Company No. 10. The occurrence, a collision between the engine and a ladder truck, was directly traceable to a false alarm sent in by an unknown party. Under the provisions of the bill any person who is found guilty of wilfully or maliciously sending in a false alarm of fire is guilty of a felony. Under the present law the offense is but a misdemeanor, punishable with a fine or not more than one year in jail. Under the provisions of the Malone bill the offense is made a felony and the punishment ranges from not less than one year to not more than 15 or a fine of $1,000, or both. “I have not the slightest doubt but that the bill will find a whole-hearted endorsement,” said Assemblyman Malone. “The accident which happened in Albany serves to illustrate the harm which can be caused by persons who send in false alarms.”
There can be but one opinion, not only by chiefs and members of fire departments, but also by every thinking individual, as to the wisdom and necessity of legislation of this character. The more stringent the penalty for this offence against the community, the less of the unnecessary calling out of the departments with the attendant dangers and expense, there will be. Every State should have such a law on its statute books.