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Unwarranted Fire Alarms

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Fire alarm leverThis page addresses frequently asked questions concerning the Unwarranted Fire Alarm policy for the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District. For more information, feel free to contact the Fire and Life Safety Division at (925) 838-6600.

What is an unwarranted fire alarm?
"The giving, signaling or transmission of an alarm notification to a public fire station or emergency communications center when such alarm is the result of a defective condition of an alarm system, system service or testing, construction activities, ordinary household activities or other cause when no such danger exists." (San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District Ordinance No. 23, Section 402)

When did the unwarranted fire alarm policy become effective?
San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District Ordinance No. 23 went into effect on January 1, 2011.

What was the reason for the unwarranted fire alarm policy?
The policy is intended to encourage alarm owners to be more responsible in preventing unwarranted alarms.

Why are unwarranted alarms a problem?
Unwarranted alarms take life saving equipment and personnel out of service, preventing them from responding to other emergencies. Additionally, excessive alarms can create apathy among occupants who will begin to ignore fire alarms which could have tragic consequences.

Do medical alarms count as unwarranted fire alarms?
No. Unwarranted alarms are for fire alarms only.

How will I know if I have had an unwarranted fire alarm?
You will be noticed by mail if you have had an unwarranted fire alarm at your property. All alarms received before the first notice will count as just one alarm. No notice will be sent for the second alarm.

What if I call and cancel an alarm with the alarm company?
An alarm call will be counted as an unwarranted alarm if the responding unit has left the station to respond to the alarm.

The Fire Department never showed up. Why was I notified of an unwarranted fire alarm?
If the responding fire department unit left the station to respond to the alarm, it will be counted as an unwarranted alarm, even if they were canceled in route.

Can I have my alarm company call me first before calling the fire department in order to avoid unwarranted alarms?
Commercial properties and required fire alarms are required to have the alarm company contact the fire department first. Only on residential alarms can the alarm owner have the option to have their alarm company contact them first before the fire department.

I'm having problems with my alarm system; can I disable the system until I get it fixed in order to avoid unwarranted alarms?
No. If you have having problems with your alarm system and need assistance in establishing a course of correction, contact the Fire and Life Safety Division at (925) 838-6600. You may be required to take your system off-line but alternate means of protection will have to be established and approved by the Fire District.

Is my alarm system required to be monitored by an alarm company?
If your alarm system is in a commercial building, then it is required to be monitored 24/7 by a UL listed monitoring company. Residential alarms systems are not required to be monitored, however the alarm system is much more effective at saving life and property if it is monitored.