If you’re interested in installing security equipment or an alarm system in your home, you may be surprised to find out that most cities require a security alarm permit (but check with your local authorities for specifics).
Permits help hold homeowners accountable for their alarm systems which, in turn, reduces the number of false alarms that cost emergency responders millions of dollars every year in unnecessary expenses.
In addition, in the case of a real emergency, permits can actually help first responders get in touch with homeowners faster. Because homeowners’ contact information (as well as emergency contact information) is on record and stored electronically, any guesswork around who to notify is eliminated.
In this blog, we’ll cover:
For specific information on alarm permits in your area, we recommend speaking with a security professional with knowledge of your local requirements and regulations.
Generally speaking, a false alarm occurs when an alarm is triggered by accident or during a non-emergency. For example, if someone in your family incorrectly enters the alarm code or opens a window while the alarm is armed, causing the alarm to sound and notifying emergency responders. False alarms can also happen for technological reasons, like if the alarm’s batteries are low or if the system itself was improperly-installed.
Alarms are designed to keep people and their homes safe and protected — and when they’re properly installed and maintained, they’re extremely useful. But when alarm systems are triggered and there truly isn’t an emergency — they can cost police and fire departments millions of dollars a year in wasted resources.
False alarm fines
Homeowners with a security alarm permit can face fines from the city if their system triggers a false alarm — meaning, if the police or fire departments respond to an alarm and no danger is detected.
Most cities won’t penalize homeowners for their first offense, but if their system continues to trigger false alarms, the fines can add up — as most fines range from $50 to $500 per false alarm.
For example, if more than one false alarm occurs within a consecutive 365 days, the City of Phoenix fines homeowners $96 for each subsequent false burglar alarm and $105 for each false fire alarm. Keep in mind, fines for fire department responders can be higher than police fines due to their trucks and equipment.
Every city has different requirements when it comes to permits. While the processes may vary, here are some steps to take if you’re looking to get an alarm permit:
What happens if you don’t have a permit?
The consequences of not registering your security system and getting a permit will vary depending on where you live.
In some areas, homeowners without a permit will see much higher fines for false alarms than homeowners with permits. They’ll also be warned to register their system ASAP to avoid further fines. In other areas, like San Francisco, emergency responders aren’t even required to answer an alarm if the home’s system isn’t registered to a permit.
As you can see, registering your security system and making sure you have a valid permit helps ensure you receive the help you need from first responders in the event of an emergency.
At Ackerman, we’ve been helping educate homeowners on permits and install top-of-the-line security systems since 1967. For more information about the security services we offer, check our home security systems page.