What Homeowners Need to Know About Home Security Alarm Permits
You’ve decided to start your search for a home security system. Great choice! These systems are one of the most important tools to keep your family safe from intruders, fire or other emergencies. Today’s home security technology is quite impressive, but you might be shocked to learn one of the most effective tools to protect your home is a home security alarm permit.
Many cities and municipalities across the US require homeowners to register their home security system with an alarm permit from their local police department. Without this permit, first responders may not be able to reach you as quickly as possible. We’ve compiled all the information you need to know about alarm permits and why they’re such an important part of protecting your family, home and wallet.
What is an alarm permit?
An alarm permit acts as a license for your home security system. Many local police and fire departments use permits to pair your unique monitored device with information they have in their system. Then, if your alarm is triggered, first responders are fully prepared with the important information they need to respond quickly and effectively. Typically, departments will charge a small annual fee for the permit, which often funds their ability to respond to home alarms.
Why do I need an alarm permit?
Alarm permits serve as an essential resource for your local police or fire department to provide a timely response. That’s why many cities commonly require these permits. Without a permit on file, first responders may not be able to respond to your alarm at all. If police do answer your alarm and discover you don’t have a permit, the financial consequence can be substantial. Homeowners without a permit may be subjected to a fine ranging anywhere from $50 to $500, depending on the city’s policies.
What are benefits of alarm permits?
Alarm permits collect the homeowner’s contact information, which enables first responders to get in contact with the owner very quickly. Additionally, most alarm permits require multiple emergency contacts. If you happen to be out of town or unreachable during a burglary, fire or other emergency, first responders can immediately coordinate with secondary contacts. This swift communication is critical for responders to obtain information on the details of the emergency, identify people or animals that are in danger, and receive answers to any other important questions.
Alarm permits also help first responders connect with homeowners to identify and reduce false alarms. When there are fewer false alarms, response teams can remain available for other local needs and emergencies. State and local government commonly require permits for this reason and use steep fines for enforcement.
When did cities start requiring permits?
Many cities first started requiring home alarm permits when they discovered just how many false alarms police departments responded to each year. For example, the city of Charlotte, NC answered 112,000 false alarms in 1995 before implementing their alarm permit program. Now that they have alarm permit requirements in place, first responders in Charlotte receive about 30,000 false alarms per year, nearly four times less than the original volume.
How do permits help decrease the number of false alarms?
A new home security system can take some time to get used to. If some members of the household aren’t present for the installation process, they may not learn everything about the system and could have trouble remembering the correct code. If someone makes a mistake, the device can trigger a false alarm. According to the San Antonio Police Department, more than 90 percent of all home security alerts result in false alarms.
Without an alarm permit on file, emergency dispatch may not be able to confirm the alarm with the homeowner or emergency contact. Without permit requirements, police and fire units may be forced to respond to false alarms frequently, creating confusion and bogging down the overall response system. As a result, the people who are actually in an emergency situation may not receive the prompt response they need. Having an alarm permit on file keeps your neighbors safe and protects you from the steep fines that come from unnecessary false alarm dispatches.
Before you purchase a new security system for your home, be sure to spend some time looking up the alarm permit regulations in your area. In most areas, you can visit your local city offices or website to read through the guidelines and fill out a registration. If you’re prepared to file the permit ahead of time, you won’t be caught off guard with any additional fees or issues. You and your family can take a deep breath and know that your home is protected to the fullest extent.