Useful Information from the Seattle Police Department

What alarm customers need to know about ....

The Seattle False Alarm Ordinance:

• Alarm companies and monitoring companies must be licensed with the City. They must hold a valid business license as well as a valid alarm-monitoring license. Your alarm company should be able to provide you with their Unique Identifying Number (UIN), which is issued by the City to licensed monitoring companies. The Seattle Police Department will not respond to dispatch requests from known unlicensed alarm companies. (SMC 6.10.010).

• Monitoring companies must utilize enhanced call verification (or a statutory alternative) by making at least two (2) phone calls in an attempt to verify the alarm before calling 911. (SMC 10.08.165 (D )).

• If an Administrative Hearing is requested regarding Pending No Response Status, both the alarm user and the monitoring company must have a representative present at the hearing. (SMC 10.08.178 (D ))

• All false alarms are billed to the alarm company. The fee for a false alarm is $90.00. The fee for a dispatched alarm call where an officer has not yet arrived is $30.00. There is no fee if the request for dispatch is cancelled before an officer is dispatched. (SMC 6.10.100).

• Subscribers are entitled to a waiver of one false alarm fee if they attend an Alarm User Workshop within 120 days of the false alarm. This waiver is available to alarm users only once every seven (7) years. The class is held at Seattle Police Headquarters. (SMC 6.10.110).

• Subscribers are entitled to a waiver of one false alarm fee if they opt to switch to private guard response.

• Elderly subscribers (70 years old and older) are entitled to a waiver of one false alarm fee if they elect to have the Seattle Police Department conduct an on-site security survey.

• Locations that have six or more false alarms of any type in a consecutive 12 month period and at least one false alarm in the 60 days prior to notification will have their alarm company notified of the pending No Response Status. The False Alarm unit also sends a courtesy copy to the alarmed address. False alarms include alarms where officers are dispatched, but cancelled prior to arrival.

Seattle Police Department’s No Response Policy:

• Alarm companies and subscribers receive the Pending Notice of No Response, alarm companies by certified mail, subscribers by first class mail.

• The alarm company has 10 business days to request an administrative hearing to provide evidence that they have made significant effort to rectify their false alarm problem.

• Both the alarm user and the monitoring company must have a representative present at the hearing.

• Hearings are only done in person, not telephonically.

• Hearings are generally available weekdays from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

• The most common result of a hearing is a 90-day probationary period.

• If no hearing is requested, the evidence is not sufficient or the location experiences a false alarm while on probation, that location will be placed on No Response Status for one year.

• Notification of No Response Status is mailed to the alarm company and the subscriber, alarm companies by first class mail, subscribers by certified mail.

• While on No Response Status, the Seattle Police Department will not respond to “any automatic intrusion or property burglar alarm signals."  There are some exceptions.

• The Seattle Police Department will respond to all panic/robbery/duress alarms regardless of No Response Status. lf it is another false alarm, the fee will be assessed.

The most common causes of false alarms:

• Vendors, employees and other authorized people are not trained in the use of the system or the cancellation procedures.

• Balloons, plants, banners, pets and anything else that can move. Motion detectors only detect motion, not intent or crime.

• Low batteries.

• People trying to beat the clock - if you need to re-enter your business/home, turn the alarm off. Do not activate your alarm until you are ready to leave.

• "One plus" duress codes which allows the alarm to appear to be turned off but in reality sends a panic signal. This is often done by adding one number to your code (if your alarm code is 9753, the "one plus panic" code would be 9754). Many users are unaware that they even have this on their panel.

• Home remodeling or moving furniture can change the coverage zones for alarm sensors.

• A door or window that is not locked and is inadvertently opened while the alarm is set. Your alarm will do no good if you do not lock your doors and windows.

Froula Alarm Systems, Inc. Ordinance Page