To:Head of Fire Departments
From:Stephen D. Coan, State Fire Marshal
Date:January 24, 2001
Re:Passage of Hoax Bomb Legislation

Recently, H.3423 "An Act relative to the transport, use or placement of a hoax device" (hoax bomb legislation) was signed into law by the Governor. C.266 S.102A1/2 now makes it a crime to possess, use, transport or place a "hoax bomb" with intent to cause unrest, anxiety, fear or personal discomfort.

This bill, passed with the strong support and effort of the fire service community fills a void that existed in this area in which individuals using facsimile or hoax bombs could not be substantially prosecuted. As you know, responding to these hoax device causes panic and drains valuable time and resources of public safety personnel. The new law makes it a crime in and of itself to use, transport or plant a hoax bomb and is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and/or a $5000.00 fine. We believe prosecution of these cases under the new law will have a deterrent effect on future perpetrators and will cut down on costly responses for public safety. Thank you for your assistance in getting this important legislation passed.