General Alarm Information

What Is a False Alarm?

The false alarm regulation defines a false alarm as an alarm dispatch request to police, fire or emergency medical services where emergency responders find no evidence of medical need, criminal offense, attempted criminal offense, or, after completion of an investigation, no evidence to support activation of the fire alarm system.

Scope of Problem

Calvert County Fire/Rescue/EMS, the Sheriff's Office and the Maryland State Police respond to thousands of false alarms each year while less than 50 of the alarms require actual emergency response assistance. False alarms reduce the effectiveness of emergency services and limit the ability of emergency personnel to respond effectively to legitimate calls.


The False Alarm Reduction Unit (FARU) was established to monitor alarm users and alarm businesses, encouraging responsible operations, reliability and proper use of alarm systems. One of the main goals of the FARU is to reduce or eliminate false alarm dispatch requests.

Under the guidance of the Department of Public Safety, the FARU is responsible for implementing the conditions set forth in the county code regarding alarm operations and to invoice fees and/or penalties for violators of the False Alarm Regulation.

False Alarm Examples

  • Faulty, defective or malfunctioning equipment
  • Improper monitoring by alarm businesses, including instances when the alarm business:
    • Did not notify the alarm owner of the alarm activation
    • Dispatched to an incorrect address
    • Failed to cancel the dispatch request when instructed to do so
    • Disregarded "do not dispatch" instructions
  • Alarm activations that occur while alarm technicians are repairing, servicing or testing the system
  • An occurrence where no evidence of criminal activity is present
  • User errors (mistakes made by alarm owners, private contractors, maids, cleaning crews, realtors, caretakers, visitors, children, relatives, employees, etc.)
  • Improper maintenance of the alarm system by the owner (including false alarms caused by low backup battery supplies or caused when changing system batteries)
  • Items within the home or business that move and cause motion detectors to activate (i.e., pets, curtains, balloons, plants, etc.)
  • Glass break detectors that activate due to other noises or sounds
  • Improperly maintained or unsecured doors or windows that allow a break in contacts

This list is intended only as a guide to assist you in deciding whether or not to appeal a false alarm assessment or whether to contact your alarm company for further discussion. This list is not intended to cover every situation where an appeal may be denied.