False alarms have a negative impact on the community. Because police and fire departments are required to respond to all reports (false or real), a false alarm unnecessarily takes the emergency vehicles out of service. This negatively impacts the city's ability to service the citizens and unnecessarily increases safety risks posed to city emergency response personnel and citizens during false alarm responses.
The City of Lafayette Municipal Code states:
- "False alarm" means an alarm eliciting a police or fire response when the situation does not warrant such a response. For the purposes of this chapter, this does not include alarms triggered by severe atmospheric conditions or other circumstances not reasonably under the control of the alarm user, installer or maintainer.
11.03.040 - Prohibited Acts
- A. It is a prohibited act punishable by fine as provided in this chapter to do any of the following acts:
- 1. For a person who owns or controls property on which an alarm system is installed to issue, cause to be issued, or permit the issuance of a false alarm;
- 2. For a person who owns or controls property to install, maintain, or permit to operate any alarm which automatically dials into any police or Fire Department public or emergency telephone line when an alarm is activated;
- 3. For a person participating in the ownership or management of an alarm system business to do any business within the city without registering as required by this chapter.
- B. Each separate occurrence, under subsection (A)(1) of this section, and each separate day, under subsections (A)(2) and (A)(3) of this section shall constitute a separate and distinct violation. (Ordinance 86-37, l-5-87; Am. Ord. 89-17, 4-3-89) Penalty, see § 11.03.990
Maintaining a Working System
It is important for you to maintain your system in a proper working order. The Lafayette Fire Department's goal is to decrease the number of alarm malfunctions and unintentional alarms through proper installation and regular maintenance.
Set up a maintenance program that includes a complete testing and repair of your system once per year. Fire alarm systems are required to be thoroughly inspected annually in accordance with NFPA 72.
Preparing for Possible Alarms
- If a contractor is going to work on your system, make sure your monitoring company is aware.
- If a construction company is going to create dust that might set off the smoke detectors, discuss this with your alarm company before work begins.
The building owner shall be responsible for ensuring that the fire and life safety systems are maintained in an operable condition at all times. Service personnel shall meet the qualification requirements of NFPA 72 for maintaining, inspecting and testing such systems. A written record shall be maintained and shall be made available to the fire code official.
Detector sensitivity shall be checked within 1 year after installation and every alternate year thereafter. After the 2nd calibration test, where sensitivity tests indicate that the detector has remained within its listed and marked sensitivity range (or 4% obscuration light grey smoke, if not marked), the length of time between calibration tests shall be permitted to be extended to a maximum of 5 years. Where the frequency is extended, records of detector-caused nuisance alarms and subsequent trends of these alarms shall be maintained. In zones or areas where nuisance alarms show any increase over the previous year, calibration tests shall be performed.