Looking at “trends” yields valuable insights. Trends don’t always continue in the same direction. One of the misconceptions is that once something is headed in a certain direction it will continue to do so. That’s not always true.
At the same time, when there are enough good results to publish a trend, that indicates there’s enough change for others to pay attention to. In a recent news account regarding fire alarms in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, it was pointed out that the new ordinance is helping the number of those signals trend downward. The number is not significant yet, but local officials said a new ordinance is getting the numbers headed in the right direction, and encouraging discussion with members of the electronic security industry.
These types of news accounts are worthy because they demonstrate that while the final numbers are not in, progress is being made. Results occur after action is taken. In this case, one of the points made in the story is that there is “consistent enforcement” of the town’s year-old alarm ordinance. As we’ve stated repeatedly over the years, success in reducing unnecessary alarm dispatches is tied directly to how effectively local fire and police departments administer and enforce their ordinances. In this case, Steamboat Springs is clearly trending in the right direction.
Under the ordinance, letters are sent for the first offense, then a $100 fine is assessed on the second, rising by $100 on each subsequent violation. Those numbers are not out-of-line with ordinances elsewhere in the country. Consistent enforcement is trending the numbers downward. With continued enforcement we expect that trend to continue.