False Alarms: The Million Dollar Problem

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· Contact your alarm company and update                   your contact list
· Fax or email Alarm Subscriber Permit information changes to the Phoenix Police Department Code Enforcement Unit -be sure to include your permit number
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False Alarm Prevention Program Offered by the Phoenix Police Department and the Phoenix Fire Department

Provides reasons for false alarm activation and ways to prevent them

Refer to section 10-76.01 of the Phoenix City Code regarding the False alarm prevention program and its limitations.
 

YOU MUST R.S.V.P. FOR ANY CLASS.

For more information call the Code Enforcement Unit at

(602) 534-0322
 

This document is available in alternate formats upon request. Please call 602-534-6613 or TTY City Relay at 602-534-5500.

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Alarms were originally designed to protect lives and property.  Properly installed, used, and maintained, alarms are a real asset.  When misused, they become a liability.  Each year false alarms cost all of us millions of dollars and thousands of wasted man hours.  The Phoenix Police and Fire Departments as well as the security companies, must spend a significant amount of time and money responding to false alarms.  You, as the system user, may also experience the inconvenience of false alarms and assessments.  False alarms must concern each of us.  They do not reduce crime and can increase the liability and endanger the safety and welfare of the public, responsible parties, and responding agencies.  The following links provide Alarm Ordinance Information and Alarm Permit Information.

 

What is a False Alarm?

A False Alarm, for all alarms except fire alarms, is any alarm caused by human error or equipment problems requiring police response, with no evidence of an actual crime having been committed.  A False Fire Alarm is any activation caused by an equipment malfunction.

 

What are the most frequent human errors that cause alarms?

Residential

  • Use of incorrect key pad codes
  • Failure to train other authorized users (i.e., sitters, relatives, children, visitors, etc.)
  • Failure to secure doors and windows before turning on alarm.
  • Fail to cancel alarm with monitoring facility.


Commercial

  • Use of incorrect key pad codes
  •  Failure to train other authorized users (i.e., employees, janitors, delivery personnel, etc.)
  • Failure to cancel alarm with monitoring facility.
  • Failure to notify monitoring facility of unscheduled openings or closings (for businesses using set schedules)
  • Failure to update authorized personnel list with monitoring facility
  • Failure to secure doors and windows before turning on alarm
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What are the most frequent equipment problems that cause false alarms?

  • Improper application or installation of interior motion detectors
  • Improper application or installation of outdoor beams
  • Improper charging or checking of batteries
  • Faulty equipment (i.e., panels, detectors, key pads, etc.)
  • Failure to test smoke detectors on a monthly basis
  • Failure to clean and maintain detectors to prevent accidental activation (dust, debris, etc)
  • Failure to have sprinkler systems serviced on a regular basis


What can you do to reduce false alarms?

  • Make sure everyone is familiar with alarm system operations
  • Secure doors and windows before turning on system
  • Be aware of changes in the environment (i.e., new animals, design changes, seasonal decorations, plants, etc.)
  • Notify monitoring facility of any and all changes (i.e., house guests, name changes, new employees, termination of employees, etc.)
  • Equipment should be routinely inspected, and maintained by qualified personnel
  • Keep your fire alarm and its system clean and maintained by a professional on an annual basis.
  • Notify your fire alarm company if you are testing or fixing your fire alarm system.  The alarm company is required to notify the fire department.
  • Know how to cancel a false fire alarm.
  • Treat your system with care. 


 

City of Phoenix Alarm System Ordinance

Within the City of Phoenix, a permit is required for alarm systems monitored by an alarm company as well as those that are not.  You may be subject to an assessment of $96.00 for each burglar alarm activation that the police respond to if you do not have the required permit.  For each fire alarm activation that the fire department responds to you may be subject to an assessment of $105.00 if you do not have the required permit. 

You can also be assessed if your alarm system generates excessive false alarms.  If you have more than one false burglar alarms within a consecutive 365 day period, subsequent incidents can cost you $96.00 for each false burglar alarm.  If you have more than one false fire alarm within a consecutive 365 day period, subsequent incidents can cost you $105.00 for each false fire alarm.

 

If you need an alarm subscriber permit application or if you have any questions about the City of Phoenix Alarm System Ordinance, call the Phoenix Police Department Code Enforcement Unit at (602) 534-0322 or the Phoenix Fire Department at (602) 626-6771.

 

The Phoenix Police and Fire Departments offer a False Alarm Prevention Program for alarm system users.  The program provides reasons for false alarm activation and ways to prevent them.  It also includes educational information for alarm system users and a certificate waiver for either a $96.00 false burglar alarm or $105.00 false fire alarm assessment.  For more information call the Phoenix Police Department Code Enforcement Unit at (602) 534-0322 or the Phoenix Fire Department at (602) 262-6771.

 

The Arizona Alarm Association and the Phoenix Police Department developed the information for this web page.  It is our sincere desire to provide the public with this information to reduce false alarms to an acceptable level.  A reduction in false alarms allows your local law enforcement and security personnel to more effectively serve and protect you.  Your comments and cooperation are essential to the success of this program and we welcome your involvement.  Working together, we will continue to have a safe and secure place to live. 

 

If you need to contact the Code Enforcement Unit for alarm questions, please call 602-534-0322 or visit us at 1717 East Grant Street, Phoenix, Arizona, 85034

Lobby hours are 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Phone hours are 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM

 

Related Information 

Alarm Subscriber/Alarm Proprietor Permit Application

Alarm Company Reports

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Phoenix Neighborhood Patrol

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