Thursday was the first day for alarm owners in Chapel Hill to begin registering them with the town, the town said in a news release.
Registering alarms is free and residents and business owners can do it online at www.townofchapelhill.org/alarms or by calling 1-855-725-7107.
The Accidental Alarm Program, established by an ordinance passed by the Council in October 2013, aims to reduce the number of accidental alarm calls through a system of education, registration, and assessments for repeat accidental alarms.
Town of Chapel Hill police officers and firefighters respond to nearly 5,000 alarm calls each year, officials said, and about 95 percent of those are accidental.
As of Thursday, businesses and residents operating an alarm system in Chapel Hill will be required to obtain a permit to register their alarm systems. Homes and businesses are required to register for a permit within 10 business days of operating new alarm equipment or within 10 business days of May 1 if they already operate an alarm system. Failure to register an alarm system with the Town will result in a $100 penalty, which take effect on July 1.
The town will begin tracking the number of accidental alarms from properties on July 1. Fire and Police alarms are tracked and counted separately. In cases where the Police Department or Fire Department responds to four or more accidental alarms in a 365 day period, the registered alarm user will face a series of graduated fines, ranging from $100 to $500 for each violation.
There is no fine for up to three violations. The fine is $500 each time for 10 or more violations.