FAQ about the New False Alarm Ordinance - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

FAQ about the New False Alarm Ordinance

Where can I get a copy of the False Alarm Ordinance?
You may download a complete copy of the ordinance by clicking here. The ordinance requires Adobe Acrobat Reader to view.

How can I get a copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader?
Many of the forms and documents associated with the ordinance are available for download. Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to read each of these. The software is free and is available for download by clicking here.

What is the Police Department doing to let people know about the new False Alarm Reduction Ordinance?
In addition to press releases and written notification to each alarm company, the Police Department will begin leaving courtesy notices. The courtesy notices will be left at the site of each false alarm beginning July 1, 2001. There is no consequence to the notice. It is only to serve as notice of the ordinance. To see a sample of the courtesy notice click below. The sample notice is 19.8KB and requires Adobe Acrobat Acrobat Reader.
Download Sample of Courtesy Notice

Who must have an alarm permit?
Alarm installers must obtain a permit on behalf of their customer before a new alarm system is activated. In addition, alarm businesses must obtain a permit on behalf of their existing customers before September 1, 2001. Each permit must be renewed each year. If the alarm installer or alarm business fails to obtain the required permit the homeowner or business owner/manager can be summoned to court and face fines and court costs. You may download a blank Alarm Permit Application with instructions by clicking below. The Alarm Permit Application is 103KB and requires Adobe Acrobat Reader.
Download Alarm Permit Application

How much does a permit cost?
$10.00 per year.

I have an alarm system but the Montgomery Police Department is not called when it is activated. Do I still need a permit?
No. There are some locations which use private security or state law enforcement officers to respond to their alarm calls. If this is the case, a permit is not required.

My apartment complex provides an alarm system with the apartment. Do I need a permit?
Yes. The ordinance calls this an "Apartment Provided Burglar
Alarm" and mandates that the landlord notify the alarm company each time the occupancy of the apartment changes. It is then the alarm companies responsibility to obtain a new permit. If the alarm company fails to obtain the required permit the homeowner or business owner/manager can be summoned to court and face fines and court costs. You may download a blank Alarm Permit Application with instructions by clicking below. The Alarm Permit Application is 103KB and requires Adobe Acrobat Reader.
Download Alarm Permit Application

I just signed a lease on a house and the prior tenant still has 6 months before his/her alarm permit expires. Can I transfer it to my name?
No. The ordinance prohibits the transfer of a permit.


I know burglar alarm permits are non-transferable, but I want to change alarm monitoring companies. What can I do?
City ordinance does not allow for more than one permit to be issued for the same system in one year unless a takeover occurs. However, from time to time it may be necessary to change certain information on a Burglar Alarm Permit. Examples may include:

  • When an Alarm User changes alarm monitoring companies
  • When a monitoring company assumes another company's accounts
  • When emergency contacts change

You should note that the modification of information on a permit does not negate any false alarms charged against that permit. It is only notification to the Police Department that certain information has changed.

You many download a blank Request for Permit Modification Form by clicking below. Once completed the form must be sent to the Montgomery Department by US Mail or hand delivery. If there are any problems that would prevent the requested change the applicant will be notified. There is no charge for a permit modification. The download is 88KB and requires Adobe Acrobat Reader.
Download Permit Modification Form

I own a business and listed the manager as the Alarm User on the original application. He is no longer with the company and I need to change the name of the person responsible for the permit to the new manager I hired. What should I do?
You may complete a Request for Permit Modification Form and
change the name of the "Alarm User Responsible for System" as long as the name of the business does not change. Click below for more information.

I own an alarm business and need to get a copy of the Implementation Kit mentioned in the letter I received from the Police Department. What do I need to do?
The Implementation Kit contains the following information which will be helpful to each alarm business: Permit Application with instructions, Permit Modification Request with instructions, copy of the False Alarm Ordinance, answers to many frequently asked questions and examples of many of the forms used by the Police Department to administer the ordinance.

You may download the complete kit by clicking Implementation Kit below. The entire download is 1,400KB and requires Adobe Acrobat Reader.
Download Implementation Kit

I own an alarm business and need permit applications. Where do I go?
You may download a blank Alarm Permit Application with instructions by clicking below. The Alarm Permit Application is 103KB and requires Adobe Acrobat Reader.

You may also contact the False Alarm Reduction Office by e-mail or call (334) 241-2505 to obtain a bulk supply.
Download Alarm Permit Application

I have a burglar alarm system in my home/business. Now that the ordinance has passed what should I do?

  • Ensure your alarm company has obtained a permit on your behalf by September 1, 2001.

  • Make sure your system is in proper working order to avoid false alarms. If you believe you have a mechanical problem you should contact your alarm company.

  • Make sure people who use your system are properly trained on the system.

  • Promptly provide any information requested by your alarm company which may be needed to obtain your permit. Be careful not to release personal information without verifying the person's identity.

The National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association has listed 20 suggestions to reduce the number of false alarms. Please review each of these.

  • Choose a dealer wisely.
  • Demand thorough training so you are comfortable using your system.
  • Keep a sheet with simple operating procedures for the system handy.
  • Everyone who has a key to your home or business must know how to operate your security system.
  • Remind visiting relatives, kids returning from school, etc. how to use your system.
  • Require all alarm users to use the system in a very responsible way.
  • Be comfortable with how much time you have to arm and disarm your system.
  • Request that all power consuming devices be point identified.
  • Service and maintain system regularly before false alarms occur.
  • Before leaving - securely close and lock all protected doors and windows.
  • Make sure all doors and windows stay closed whenever your system is armed.
  • Keep pets, fans, heaters, balloons, etc. away from motion sensored areas.
  • Contact your alarm company if you are planning any home improvements.
  • Contact the alarm company and tell them of any changes in your telephone service (call waiting or fax line) or if you get a new area code.
  • Contact your alarm company as soon as you obtain a new pet.
  • Have all alarm system users practice the process to cancel an accidental alarm.
  • When a false alarm occurs - Don't Panic! Enter your disarm code carefully to reset your alarm.
  • If you set off your alarm by accident, do not leave until you are certain that either your system is reset or your central station calls you and you give your pass or ID code (this is different from your disarming code).
  • Understand that every time your alarm goes off, it is like calling 911.
  • If you don't understand any aspect of your system, ask your dealer.
I have a problem with my alarm company what should I do?
If you can not work out your problem directly with your alarm company you many contact the Alabama Electronic Security Board of Licensure at (334) 264-9388. For information on the Alabama Electronic Security Board of Licensure, click below.
Learn more about the Alabama Electronic Security Board of Licensure

What actually constitutes a false alarm?
For the legal definition of a false alarm, you should refer to the definition found in the actual ordinance. However, generally a false alarm is any activation of a burglar alarm system when there is no legitimate need for the police. The following circumstances are not considered false alarms:
  • Alarm activation caused by violent weather or lightening damage.
  • Telephone line malfunction.
  • Notification to the Police Department that the alarm is false before police dispatch.
  • Alarm activation which occurs 30 days or less after installation.
  • A second or subsequent false alarm within a 24-hour period.
What happens if I have a false alarm?
The officers who respond will thoroughly check the premises to ensure a crime has not been committed or attempted. If it is found to be a false alarm, as defined by the ordinance, a False Alarm Notification Form will be left on the premises. To see a sample of the False Alarm Notification Form click below. The download is 41KB and requires Adobe Acrobat Reader.
Download sample False Alarm Notification Form


Will I be fined on my first false alarm?
No. The ordinance allows you to have three (3) false alarms per permit year without consequence. After the third the Police Department will mail or deliver a letter to the person indicated on the permit as the alarm user. This letter will let the user know there have been three (3) false alarm and if a fourth occurs, they will be in violation of the ordinance and subject to fine.

How much are the fines?

4th False Alarm $25.00 fine or attend false alarm reduction class
5th False Alarm $50.00 fine
6th False Alarm $75.00 fine
7th or greater $100.00 fine each

How will I know I owe a fine?
The Montgomery Municipal Court will notify the person indicated on the permit as the alarm user. This person will be responsible for the fine.


What if I receive a notice and do not agree that I am in violation of the ordinance?
You may request a hearing with a Montgomery Municipal Court Magistrate. If you need additional information, you may contact the Montgomery Municipal Court at (334) 241-2876.

What if I still need more information?
You may call your alarm company, e-mail the False Alarm Reduction Office or call (334) 241-2505.

Source: Montgomery Police Department.  This information is provided for informational purposes only.   Such use does not constitute an official endorsement or approval of any commercial company making this information available.
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