By CLYDE FORD
Staff Writer, Charles Town
CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Jefferson County Emergency Services Director Darrell Penwell calls it the "cry wolf syndrome."
When a home fire alarm or burglary alarm goes off, there's an almost certain chance that it will be a false alarm, Penwell said.
Penwell asked the Jefferson County Commissioners on Thursday to look for ways to fight the problem, possibly by billing homeowners for false alarms, which other localities have done.
In 1996, there were 1,702 false alarms caused by burglary alarms and fire alarms, Penwell said.
Only six of the alarm calls were actual emergencies, Penwell said.
So far this year, there have been 997 total alarms and only five have been actual emergencies, Penwell said.
The culprit in false alarms is usually a homeowner who does not know how to use the system properly, Penwell said.