The following statement by Tredyffrin Township Police outlines why the problem is such a concern and why false alarms really are a big deal that costs every taxpayers while taxing the resources of the township's first responders:
October Is False Alarm Awareness Month!
What is a False Alarm? A false alarm is notification of an alarm to the police department when the responding authority finds no evidence of criminal offense, attempted criminal offense or emergency.
In 2012, did you know?
· Tredyffrin Township responded to an average of 81 residential and 90 commercial false alarms each month.
· These false alarms increased twofold in the summer months due to thunderstorms and subsequent power outages.
· 25% of residential and 50% of commercial false alarm calls were due to repeat offenders.
· The average false alarm call takes 2 to 3 Officers 15 to 45 minutes to complete and additional time and resources for fire department personnel.
False alarms take first responders away from real emergencies. This embarrassing situation endangers responding authorities and the whole community by needlessly diverting public safety resources. In addition, communities can be become desensitized to actual incidents of crime and fire and these can lead to neighbors ignoring your alarm when it goes off. False alarms also make your security system less reliable and credible and may make you reluctant to arm your system, exposing your home and property to undetected theft or fire.
Alarm companies and alarm users must be responsible for the use and maintenance of alarm systems to help ensure prompt police response when an emergency really does exist. You can help us reduce false alarms- and avoid fines- through the proper use and maintenance of your alarm system.
Tredyffrin Township has policies in place for both residences and businesses:
Residential alarms: If you move into a home where there is an alarm system installed, or would like to have an alarm system installed in your home, you are required to register your alarm with Tredyffrin Township. To register, complete the Alarm Permit Registration Form and pay a one-time $45 registration fee. If you are over 65 the permit fee is waived; however, you still must submit the Alarm Permit Registration Form.
Business alarms: Businesses located in Tredyffrin Township that have alarm systems must register with the Township. To register, complete the Alarm Permit Registration Form, Emergency Contact Card, and pay a one-time $45 registration fee. This one-time charge will cover your business as long as the business remains in Tredyffrin Township. If your business billing address is different from your office address, please note this on the application form.
Fines can be imposed for causing false dispatches, especially to repeat offenders. These fines are dictated through the Township’s fee schedule. Refer to the following links for the documents necessary to apply for a permit and for the fees associated with them.
False alarm dispatches cost you and the Township time and money!
Causes of false alarms at home:
· Inadequate training of people allowed access to your security system (children, neighbors, cleaning personnel, real estate agents, guests, relatives, babysitters, service and delivery personnel, etc)
· Weak battery systems
· Open, unlocked or loose fitting doors and windows
· Drafts from heaters and air conditioning systems that move plants, curtains, balloons, etcWandering pets
Lock all doors and windows
Ensure moving items such as balloons, curtains, decorations and pets are not placed in the path of motion detectors
· Know how to cancel an alarm dispatch
· Educate all alarm system users on the proper use of the alarm system
· Schedule a service call if the alarm is not working properly
· Notify your monitoring company if you remodel, change or upgrade phone systems.
· Update your contact information with your security company annually or if you hire domestic help, get a new pet, or plan to sell your house.
· Instruct your monitoring company not to dispatch law enforcement on power outages, weather related signals, low battery signals, or heat loss sensors.
· Request your monitoring company to use Enhanced Call Verification (ECV), which requires making two calls to a responsible party prior to requesting a law enforcement dispatch.