Pulling a fire alarm when there is no fire may have seemed funny when you were in school. Perhaps it was a good way to get out of that algebra test. However, if you pull a fire alarm for no reason as an adult, you could be looking at a world of trouble.
Falsely pulling a fire alarm is not funny. It can get people hurt in ways you may not even realize. Today, we want to discuss what could happen as well as the penalties for pulling a fire alarm when there is no emergency.
What are the penalties for falsely pulling a fire alarm in Pennsylvania?
There are various penalties for falsely pulling a fire alarm in place within Pennsylvania law. The law states that “A person commits an offense if he knowingly causes a false alarm of fire or other emergency to be transmitted to or within any organization, official or volunteer, for dealing with emergencies involving danger to life or property.”
A person can be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor and punished with 2.5 to 5 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
If the false alarm takes resources away from emergency services dealing with a declared state of emergency, they can be charged with a third-degree felony. This is punishable by 3.5 to 7 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.
The answer to the original question is – yes, a person can be charged with a felony for falsely pulling a fire alarm in Pennsylvania. As we learned as children, never pull a fire alarm unless there is real danger. The consequences of pulling an alarm for fun are just not worth it.
What Happens If You Pull a Fire Alarm When There’s no Emergency?
Pulling a fire alarm in a crowded place, such as a theater, hotel, concert venue, restaurant, or other establishment will immediately set off a panic amongst the crowd. These days, our collective conscious is focused on terrible events happening around the country. This could lead many people to believe that a fire alarm means another type of emergency altogether – perhaps a shooting or a bomb threat.
When panic sets into a crowd, bad things happen. People get scared, and they start to run to the exits as quickly as possible. This can cause pedestrians to get knocked to the ground and trampled. People have been seriously injured and have even died due to this type of trampling. Children and the elderly are particularly at risk of harm when this kind of panic ensues.
Resources responding to the incident
Every time someone pulls a fire alarm, emergency services get set into motion. We are not talking about a single firetruck. In these cases, emergency services come ready for all possibilities: multiple fire trucks, ambulances, and rescue vehicles are dispatched. The police are almost certainly going to be on the way. Even though a majority of all fire alarms are false, fire departments come ready for anything every time they roll.
False fire alarm pulls waste time, workforce resources, and energy. Not only that, but it takes away the responders’ ability to get to real emergencies that may happen while they are deployed on a false alarm.
If you find yourself in this situation, contact a local criminal defense attorney in West Chester. We offer free consultations.