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Does your department force entry on alarm bell or activated alarms if there is no key holder is available? Do you try to utilize thru the lock entry? . Is there a policy in place if you think it is a malfunctioning alarm? Reply in Tactical Building Blocks group.

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Frank: We protect a major college campus and we are fortunate enough to have security on hand. Now my other fire job it depends on the situation.
We also cover a large campus, Suny New Paltz and security is always available and we also have keys to pretty much everything. We try not to break anything down unless we absolutely have too. We had a Auto alarm at a restaurant/pub and the owner was there and aware of it but he did not have his keys with him, so we broke the glass in the door and gained access that way.
Has anyone trained on Drilling locks? I took a class on this and it looked easy but when i bought locks to try myself WOW it was hard!
I haven't done that, but now that you mention it and bring it up id be really interested in trying it. Although we don't have the tools to be drilling locks. worse comes to worse we would pop the door with the irons or a rabbit tool or something of that nature.
Most of the time when we get an auto alarm there is a keyholder. But, if there is no key holder and we have to forcible entry then we have the PD come. There have been several incidents where it began as an auto alarm and turned into smoke in the building and we needed state police to respond for when we did forcible entry.
Well In my department we try not destroy property if it doesn't have to be destroyed. If there is an automatic alarm and no key holder readily available you can wait. I'm not saying that you wait more then a half hour. Now on the other hand i can see forcing entry in a few circumstances. One of those would be if there is smoking showing. Then without a doubt force that door and do your job. But if you get on scene and do a proper size up check for possible entry in all doors or possible open windows. There have been a few incidents where the automatic alarm is an acutal fire. But why destroy someones property if you don't have to? Conserve property!
For the most part, my department relies on the good judgement of the company officer. I have made residential alarms in which we did not force entry. On those calls, it came in as a simple alarm and we could see through virtually every window and had no evidence of smoke or fire showing. If we could not see inside, residentials are easy to gain access to with out breaking anything (garage doors, upstairs windows unlocked,....even "doggie doors")

On commercial, there is usually no way to see everything you need to see through windows and such. If we were called to an fire alarm, chances are the occupant has an alarm permit which is accessed through dispatch. That permit has a 24 hours contact number for the occupancy and we give that a try. It doesnt mean someone will answer the phone, but if they do, they are usually there pretty fast. This is because we tell them that if they dont, we are going to break something!!

If we are going to break something, we try to decide what would cause the least amount of damage. We have gone through the lock before, but sometimes and even cheaper way is found.

I say all of that to say this..........if any evidence of smoke or fire is found, or if it is a multiple signal alarm(fire alarm and water flow and/or pull station) and the knox box key doesnt work or is missing, they are going to need at least one new door!!
I responded to a reported smoke alarm activation in a private home. The alarm came in from the alarm company. We arrived and found no indication of fire. We looked in the windows and all was clear. We were about to leave when the homeowner arrived. He let us in and we discovered tha the alarm was not a smoke alarm. It was a carbon monoxide alarm. It was incorrectly reported as a smoke alarm.
What would have happened if we had left and the occupant was on the floor and we did not see him.
My question is what would you do if you responded to the report of a CO alarm sounding and no one answered the door?
Would you look into the windows and leave if you saw nothing or would you force entry?

Train to say safe,
Chief M
Each incident is unique, and the company officer must utilize good judgement. 360 the building. Have the ladder company look for access from the roof for commercial occupancies; upper floor windows in residential. Smoke showing or water flowing would require forcing entry. Have dispatch call back the alarm company to see if the alarm has reset. If it has, it may be a malfunction. We do utilize thru the lock, if possible.
We try not to force open on alarms we have a great knox box program so we have a key at our finger tips most of the time. Like the other guys we have Collage in our city and they have security and makes it to the alarms about the same time as we do. . But the Knox box has helped out a bunch.

In the case of CO alarm, I would force entry. How do you know that no one is home, and the CO could be the reason they haven't answered the door.

My Town has a by law requiring lock boxes, if none is present and there is no caretaker, it is officer discretion as to forcing entry. Commercial occupancies we usually wait for a key holder.
Chief I agree. For alarms it is left to the officer’s digression, on my company 99% of the time we gain entry by going thru the lock, a window or waiting for a key holder. For departments with Knox boxes that is great. In 16 years we have gained entry to find three true emergencies. One was a fire the other two were students passed out from drugs or alcohol that left food on the stove. Image the ramifications if we left without gaining entry especially if your department response lights and sirens to an alarm. Right there you had the company put on full gear, risked everybody’s life responding and you failed to follow thru. Just something to think about. Gaining entry also cuts down on false alarms.

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