False Alarm


The Lake Charles City Council adopted an ordinance providing for the establishment of penalties for repeated false alarms. Provisions under this ordinance allow for the establishment of a fee schedule as follows for false alarms:


False Alarm Penalties (12 month period)


First three (3) false alarms

No charge

Fourth (4th) false alarm


Fifth (5th) false alarm


Sixth (6th) false alarm


After sixth (6th) false alarm

Revocation of

Certificate of Occupancy

Standby Fee

$100 for each consecutive hour

 after the first 60 minutes


These measures have been taken to reduce the number of false alarms. Firemen respond to thousands of false alarm calls each year, placing an undue burden on the fire department in terms of manpower and cost. When officers are dispatched to an alarm,

other calls for service are put on hold until the officers are cleared. Fines are being imposed for excessive false alarms.


How to avoid false alarms


Power to the alarm panel


Fire alarm systems shall be provided with at least two independent and reliable

power supplies, one primary and one secondary (stand by), each of which

shall be of adequate capacity for the application. Ref. NFPA 72-1-5.2.3


Primary Supply

The primary supply shall have a high degree of reliability, shall have adequate

capacity for the intended service, and shall consist of one of the following:

(1) Light and power service consisting of 2-wire or 3-wire supplies and

connected to a dedicated brand circuit(s).

(2) Over current protective device suitable with current-carrying and capable of interrupting the maximum short-circuit current. Ref. NFPA 72-1-5.2.5


Secondary Supply Capacity and Sources

The secondary supply shall automatically supply the energy to the system

within 30 seconds, and without loss of signals, wherever the primary supply is

incapable of providing the minimum voltage required for proper operation.

Under maximum quiescent load (system functioning in a no-alarm condition), the

supply shall have sufficient capacity to operate for 24 hours/60 hours and at the

end of that period, be capable of operating all alarm notification appliances for

evacuation or direct aid to the location of an emergency for 5 minutes. Ref.  NFPA 72-1-5.2.6


User Error


Train friends, relatives and employees on complete system operation.

Make sure all users know the code number and/or word.


If you accidentally set off the alarm, make sure all phones are on the hook and wait

for your alarm company to call you.


If you re-enter the premises because you've forgotten something, turn off the alarm and reset it when you leave again. (This should be done only when a burglar system is combined with a fire alarm system.)


Make sure everyone is out of the building or residence before arming the system. (This is when you have a combination system, having both burglar and fire alarms.)


Remember the majority of false alarms are caused by HUMAN ERROR!


When working on or near an alarm system or devices, notify your monitoring agency before work commences, informing them that work is to be initiated on the alarm system or within the protected premises.


Maintenance and Inspection


Test the alarm system with your monitoring station as recommended in the alarm system owner's manual. Always call your monitoring station before starting a test and again after the test is complete.


Advise your alarm company of any telephone number changes at home or work. Telephone numbers for your responsible parties should be checked for any changes.


Have your heating system professionally serviced at least every 12 months or per manufacturer's requirements. (When a system is not cleaned, start-ups can be a cause for false alarm signals, due to dust particles in the air.)


Permanent records of all inspections, testing, and maintenance shall be retained until the next test and for (1) year thereafter.


The frequency of cleaning shall depend on the type of equipment and the local ambient conditions.


Emergency power sources other than batteries shall be operated to supply the system for a continuous period of one hour at least weekly. The test shall require simulated failure of the normal power source.


All tests on a fire alarm system shall be performed at least once a year or more frequently depending on manufacturer's requirements.


Smoke Detectors


Smoke detectors shall not be closer than three feet from any air vent.


Keep the face of the detector clean and free of any foreign materials such as dust.


Do not smoke in rooms that have smoke detectors installed.


Be sure that the smoke detector (alarm) carries the label of an independent testing lab. Example: UL, FM, SRI


Make sure that all batteries installed within smoke detector of fire alarm system are working properly.


Drafts in the walls can cause false alarms in the motion detectors in flush mount.


Install detectors on a wall 4-12 inches from the ceiling. If ceiling-mounted, then at least four inches away from the nearest wall.


Don't install smoke detectors near cooking areas, or where steam may be produced, or even near an area where fumes sometimes set off "nuisance" alarms.


Motion detectors need a clear view - do not block them. Do not stack things around the line of view.


Never borrow a smoke-alarm battery.


Test alarms/detectors monthly.


Replace any smoke alarm that is more than 10 years old. Ref. NFPA