False, Nuisance and Unwanted Fire Alarms

A false fire alarm is the activation of any fire alarm system not caused by heat, smoke or fire and results in a response by the fire department.  A nuisance fire alarm is the activation of any fire alarm system caused by mechanical failure, malfunction, improper installation, lack of proper maintenance or for any other undetermined cause of activation resulting in a response by the fire department.  False alarms:

  1. Account for more than 25% of all fire runs across Metro Louisville
  2. Take firefighters away from real emergencies
  3. Can desensitize the community to actual fire incidents and lead to neighbors ignoring a sounding alarm
  4. May make you reluctant to use your fire alarm system, thus exposing your home or facility to fire and property damage
  5. Cost citizens time and money:
  • $150 to $500 = the average cost per incident respone
  • $1 million to $3 million = the cost to the fire service and community annually
Most false alarms are easily prevented by following these simple practices:
  • Notify your fire alarm company if you:
    • Think your system is not working properly
    • Are planning any remodeling near a system device, the control panel or key pads
    • Plan to sell your house
    • Are testing the system
    • Have your fire alarm inspected and tested regularly
    • Replace back-up batteries as directed by the manufacturer
    • Upgrade older fire alarm systems to currently available equipment
The Idea Bank has produced this public service announce, "False Alarms," on preventing false, nuisance and unwanted alarms.