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How many Departments Reset Alarm Systems after an activation as a courtesy or do you have a policy of silencing the alarm and turning the premises over to the owner/ occupant to contact the alarm company to have it serviced?

My question is in response to officers who have reset alarms with the system being a trouble alarm system only to return to a reactivation later requiring a second and third response adding more risk to responding firefighters unnecssarily. Who "really" benifits from this, the FD or the alarm company who has a contract ?

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Hey Jim,

Good policy ! It appears to hold a line of accountability for those who fail to maintain their alarm system. This is needed more and adheared to ! Maybe the alarm companies and residents/owners will get the hint they need to pay more attention to maintenence.

Thanks for the reply !

STAY SAFE !! Dennis
Hey Dale,

This policy is definitely an eye opener for failing to maintain your alarm system. Surely keeps the trucks in the bay !

Thanks for the reply !

STAY SAFE !! Dennis
Hey Ron,

You made a key statement " we spend way to much time playing alarm tech's"

See you on the rebound ! Great picnic, we must do it again !!

STAY SAFE !! Dennis
We reset and solve the problem right then to keep us from coming back later. If the system does not reset we advise them it is out of service and they need to get it repaired. If the County 911 Center gets another activation they always dispatch us even if it is out of service. Then I fire Officer would go direct to location and hold the crews at station to confirm another false trip. Have a Knox box ordinance helps us out too.
Hey Chuck,

Many departments in our county use this system due to the flexability and the oportunity to take a system out of service but still have an officer response on a realarm. A system that keeps everyones safety in mind !

Thanks for the reply !

STAY SAFE !! Dennis
Initally we silence the alarm so crews can communicate effectively without the horns going off. After the location is confirmed and checked and verified that there is no fire, or the condition that caused the alarm is identified ie; dust, heat starting up, light ballast. We reset the alarm. If it is a faulty detector that will not reset we will remove the smoke head ( we are lucky to have an electrician that has done a lot of work in the fire alarm field). This way the system will show a "trouble condition" but will not cause an alarm condition that the monitoring company would notify dispatch. We also have the Building Rep call the monitoring company and notify them of the situation and schedule a service technician. We then advise them of any other things they will have to do once the building is occupied like providing a "fire watch" in the area served by the faulty detector.
We handle these two ways. It depends on how the alarm comes into our dispatch.

Alarms monitored by the dispatch center may be taken OOS by our companies. If it is a trouble condition, we only take it out for trouble. If it is fire, we can take it out for fire. However, if the occupancy is a target hazard the occupant acknowledges the life safety issue. On one occasion at a school due to a graduation event we posted a FF with radio as watch (not usual or customary), We don't worry about the trouble alarm because 90% are phone line issues.

Alarms called in by an alarm company maynot be taken OOS by a company - only the property owner can do that. If they don't and we get multiple activations we usually downgrade the response. SInce the alarm does not come into our panel, if it won't reset we put it on the owner.

Regardless of the alarm monitoring source, any alarm taken OOS for any reason is followed up on by the fire prevention bureau the next business day.
Regardless of the alarm monitoring source, if proper passcode is received by our dispatch or by the alarm company calling back we downgrade toa singel company.
Regardless of the alarm monitoring source, if we get more than 3 false alarms in a year the occupancy starts to get billed with the 6th and up false in a year costing $500 each.

Regarding liability, we require a detailed narrative of the situation found and actions taken in the fire report. Also, we never silence an alarm until a member is in the affected zone and confirms no fire or smoke and we do not attempt a reset until the actual detector/pull station is located and cause of activation determined,

Before any alarm is silences you have to be sure there is not a fire. Prematurely silencing an alarm, especially in a large structure, may cause occupants to think there is no fire and that they either do not have to evacuate or that the fire is out.
I am not an officer that has any experience but i thing of installing an alarm system in my house and I was wondering how many false alarm are generally happening and do you have to pay when this happens?
I had already many complaints from friends and i am not sure if it is really when i want and need ...
Thanks for your answers
Hey Donald,

There is no question you should get a fire alarm system for your home. Most alarm systems malfuntion because of lack of maintenence and improper location installation. Most alarm malfunctions happen in larger buildings and commercial structures because of poor maintenence. Single family homes are on the lower part of the scale when it comes to alarm malfunctions but they do occure. Many things effect the system from installation (next to your stove), to spiders (maintenence), dampness (outside the bathroom) and poor equipment (have I got a deal for you). Most communities have a tiered penalty system for false alarms that are levied by the Fire Prevention Bureau that start after the 3rd offence and the fine varies drasticlly from community to community. All aside, your safety and your families is far more important than any possible fine! Your senses go to sleep when you do, the one that stays awake is the system you install and maintain in an operating order. An alarm system that wakes you and your family to a fire ONE TIME when needed, far outweighs the fines ! Residential Home Sprinkler systems are a great feature also, they are cost effective to potential loss due to fire and RARELY malfunction !! No matter how you look at, a fire alarm systrem is a WIN WIN INVESTMENT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That investment ? You and your loved ones !!!

STAY SAFE !! Dennis

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