Fines a stiff reminder to fix fire alarms

Nobody likes paying fines.

Just ask a traffic cop.

As law-abiding citizens, the idea of having to pay for an electronic device gone awry may at first sound infuriating. After all, who among us hasn’t had equipment operate at its own leisure. But upon closer consideration of the Terrebonne Parish Council’s decision to fine homeowners and businesses whose fire alarms continually falsely tip firefighters to problems may in fact be good business practice.

Terrebonne Parish is home to 11 fire departments, of which nine are manned by volunteers. With each ring of the bell, these men and women jump into action, racing to your home or mine with one mission in mind: saving lives and property.

Repeated calls to the same address, where a broken alarm has again and again alerted firefighters to a problem, mean the trucks must roll, equipment in tow. Volunteers from across the parish must race to the scene. Against a fire, speed is of the essence.

Now, modify that scenario slightly. Let’s say it is an address firefighters regularly respond to. False alarm after false alarm sent volunteers or paid firefighters rushing to the scene. Once there, they discover it’s another false alarms; another time where the alarm has sent the fire department an incorrect signal.

In his address to the Terrebonne Parish Council, Schriever Fire Department Chief Ken Pitre suggested, in some cases, the problem was known to the home or business owner and had gone ignored. The fines are intended to serve as a wake-up call to those offenders.

It goes without saying that moments spent tied up tending to a false alarm are moments not available to a legitimate emergency. If your family is the one experiencing the trauma, you want the fire department, police, ambulance and anyone else who can provide aid at the scene pronto.

In that moment, it is unlikely that you or anyone else suffering from a fire or crash or other emergency want to hear that firefighters were detained while they responded for the fourth or fifth or sixth time to the same address where they’d been before only to find they’d been alerted by a false alarm.

That only a few departments report the problem is curious. And time will tell if Councilman John Navy is correct and that selective laws are unconstitutional. But until then, those who ignore problems with fire alarms have been put on notice.

Cajun Fly-In a day to remember

Remember the movie “Space Jam?” 

The flick where Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny took on cartoon Mon-Stars and saved the freedom of all of our favorite cartoon characters over four quarters of hoops? 

That movie introduced us to the idea that “I Believe I Can Fly” – based on the hit song artist R. Kelly made for the movie.

We’re not sure if the song is the inspiration, but a slew of locals believe that they can fly, as well.

And they are ready to show off their talents this coming weekend at the 2014 version of the Cajun Fly-In, which is set for Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Houma-Terrebonne Airport.

OK, all jokes about “Space Jam,” R. Kelly and everything else aside – the Cajun Fly-In is a ton of fun.

The event features as many as 25 local pilots flying their home and factory-built privately owned airplanes through Houma’s air on a Saturday morning and afternoon filled with food, family and fun. 

This year’s U.S. Air Force F-16 “Fighting Falcon” will be on display after a long, lengthy career defending our country as a fighter jet in the Air Force.

Picture that – an actual piece of history sitting on Houma’s soil. How cool is that?

Our area is filled with fun weekends – especially in October when the festival season is in full bloom.

But don’t forget about Saturday’s Cajun Fly-In – annually one of the most unique and fun-filled days of the year.

Oh yeah, and the cost to attend is the best price of all – free. Where else can one enjoy such a unique experience without paying a dime out of his/her family’s budget?