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Cook township supervisors pass fire ordinances

| Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Cook Township supervisors unanimously passed Ordinances No. 3 and 4 of 2013 during the September meeting. Ordinance No. 3 deals with false alarms on automatic fire alarms and Ordinance No. 4 authorized the township to seek reimbursement for emergency responses to various incidents.

According to township Solicitor Doug Welty, Ordinance No. 3 complies with PA Act 70 of 1998, which prohibits false alarm activation. Welty said the ordinance establishes the definition of a false alarm and authorizes the township to take action against residents whose automatic systems set off frequent false alarms.

Under this new regulation, Cook Township residents may have up to three false alarms in a calendar year without incurring a penalty. However, any further false alarms would result in fines. These fines begin at $50 after four or five false alarms and increase on up to $200 for 10 or more. Chestnut Ridge Volunteer Fire Co. President Bob Fry said the company would send a letter to homes warning that a fourth violation would result in fines.

“We want people to get their systems fixed,” Fry explained. “If they burn food or something, it's a real alarm. But if it's going off four and five times in the same night, some people laugh it off. If they at least call their vendor in and start working on it, we'll even forgive a call if they're trying to fix the problem and let us know. They need to show us some good faith that they are trying to correct the system.”

Ordinance No. 4 authorizes Cook Township to seek reimbursement for reasonable costs for responses to hazardous material and environmental incidents as well as fire rescue and emergency services. For the most part, Fry said this means asking insurance companies to pay for necessary materials and equipment for the fire company. However, if the insurance cannot pay, the ordinance allows the fire company to charge the resident of the emergency.

In other news:

The supervisors have been working to clean up damage from recent severe storms and the ensuing floods. Supervisor Richard Umbaugh said all of the roads in the township are passable, though work needs to be done on to unplug drainage pipes.

“We ask the residents to be patient with us. We are working on them as quickly and promptly as possible,” Umbaugh said.

• Volunteers from the Red Cross are available to help residents with flood damage. To make arrangements, call 724-593-7471.

• Fall Dumpster Day will be 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 21.

• The Chestnut Ridge Fire Co. Cash Bash will be Oct. 5 Tickets are $20 and are available at the fire hall and at Laurel Valley Hardware.

• The next meeting of the Cook Township Supervisors is 4 p.m. Oct. 2 at the Cook Township Municipal Building, located at 1716 Route 711, in Stahlstown.

Peter Turcik is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.