Police and Fire Alarm Ordinances
The City of Burlington adopted a Police and Fire Alarm Ordinance
in an effort to make alarm response more effective. The ordinance brings the city in line with alarm policies in surrounding municipalities and gains control over a problem with excessive false alarms within the city. The main focus of this ordinance is to require alarm subscribers for businesses and residences to assume responsibility for their alarms. Alarm subscribers are required to obtain a permit, providing information on the alarm system as well as emergency contacts. A schedule of fines for excessive alarms is included in these amendments.
These ordinances are in effect as of July 1, 2004. We offer an online alarm registration here.
We also provide tips for avoiding false alarms.
- Failure to Obtain Alarm Permit - All alarm systems shall be registered with the City of Burlington. Any person or firm that fails to register an alarm system with the City of Burlington, Alarm System Coordinator shall be subject to a civil penalty of one hundred dollars ($100.00).
- Excessive False Alarms - Four or more false alarms within a permit year is excessive
- Failure to Respond - If a key holder does not respond within thirty (30) minutes of the alarm, it will be counted as a false alarm. Failure to provide up-to-date contact information can also result in a "failure to respond" situation of a false alarm.
- Civil Penalties - Excessive false alarms for any alarm system within a permit year shall subject the alarm user to a civil penalty according to the following schedule:
|Number of False Alarms||Police Civil Penalty||Fire Civil Penalty|
|Four or Five||$50.00 each||$100.00 each|
|Six or Seven||$50.00 each||$200.00 each|
|Eight or Nine||$50.00 each||$300.00 each|
|Ten or more||$50.00 each||$500.00 each|
Considering the advanced technology utilized by modern home security systems, it may be surprising to learn that the vast majority of calls to police are false alarms. In fact, at least 90% of security system alarm calls prove to be unnecessary. Fire alarms are also susceptible to false alarms often due to a low battery, a loose electrical connection, high humidity, or dirt in the sensor chamber. They require maintenance just like any other household product. Frequently, the most common false alarms are due to human error, which homeowners can easily avoid by following the following tips thus avoiding embarrassment and a potentially costly situation.
- Keep your batteries up-to-date - An alarm running on low battery may act erratically or trigger a false alarm. Systems will typically indicate low battery via high pitched beep
- Educate your family on how to use the system - Teach all residents how to properly use the security system and how to cancel an alarm. Make sure everyone is aware of the password. Don't forget house guests either. They should be able to cancel an alarm if the situation arises. It may be useful to let trusted neighbors know the password as well, just in case.
- Be mindful of pets - If motion detectors are not installed adequately out of reach, adventurous cats or other household animals may be able to climb enough to set off a false alarm.
- Be sure to close all windows and doors - A door or window anywhere in the house that is left open even a crack can set off an alarm in the case of a slight breeze.
- Have your system installed professionally - It may be tempting to skimp on installation costs by doing it yourself, but poorly aligned sensors and other technical problems can lead to a false alarm.