Alarm Management

If you have not registered your alarm with us, we encourage you to do so.

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The Ottawa Police is committed to working together for a safer community. A properly installed and functional alarm system will enhance a residential or commercial property’s security. By reducing the numbers of unnecessary calls for service such as false alarms, it will enable police officers to focus on higher priority calls for service.

People with alarm systems owe the Police Service the respect of keeping their systems in good repair thus decreasing the number of false alarms.

If you have not registered your alarm system, we encourage you to do so online.

  • You can also call the Alarm Management Section at 613-236-1222, extension 2531, or email us to obtain a copy of the registration form.

The registration of your alarm system is voluntary and we strongly encourage this be done. Here's why:

  1. A registered alarm system allows police to predict response requests for alarm calls and permits informed decisions to be made on staffing levels.
  2. It allows quicker handling of alarm calls by our dispatch centre since alarm companies only need to quote a registration number which, when entered into our computer system, will automatically pre-fill an alarm dispatch screen.
  3. It provides a greater degree of officer safety and protection of your property. Alarm calls are inherently more dangerous for police due to the fact that police are walking into an unpredictable situation. This is true in the case of monitored and non-monitored systems.
  4. It provides the name and number of the monitoring company, names of persons who may be contacted in the event of a situation.

The Ottawa Police Service False Alarm Reduction By Law

The Ottawa Police Service False Alarm Reduction By-Law  Alarm systemstates that when the Ottawa Police is required to attend a building, structure or premises as a result of an Alarm Incident that is deemed a False Alarm, a fee plus any applicable taxes will be charged to the Registration Certificate Holder for the Alarm System responsible for the False Alarm. (By-law No. 2 of 2017)

Facts:

  • Alarm calls make up 6% of our total calls for service or about 19,000 calls per year.
  • 99% of alarm calls are false alarms. Each alarm call response on average utilizes two officers for 30 minutes.
  • The fee for police response to a false alarm, plus any applicable taxes, is the actual cost of servicing the call.

Common Causes of False Alarms

  • Entering the wrong keypad code
  • No valid password for user
  • Failure to secure doors and windows beforing turning on system
  • Failure to advise alarm company when changer are made, ie addition of pets; remodeling; name changes; house guests, etc
  • Weak system batteries
  • Key Holder without access to premises or a code

Tips to prevent False Alarms

  • Know your system password and code
  • Before activating your system: lock all doors and windows; keep pets, balloons, fans, heaters, plants, curtains, seasonal decorations, etc, away from motion sensor areas; know how to cancel the alarm if the system activates.
  • Educate alarm system users: all users, key holders or any person with legal access to your property must be thoroughly trained in how to operate your system, including knowledge of procedures for cancelling accidental alarm activations.
  • Have your security company check and service your system regularly.  Routine maintenance can help prevent many false alarms.
  • Notify your security company if you plan any remodeling, including replacing doors or windows, changing phone systems, hiring domestic help or adding a pet to the family. 
  • Alarm owners and alarm companies must be responsible for the use and maintenance of alarm systems. Don’t be part of the problem, be part of the solution. An alarm system is only as good as its user.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is a false alarm?

A false alarm is an alarm that prompts a police response to a premise where an EMERGENCY does not exist.

What Should I do if I have a false alarm?

You need to determine why the false alarm occurred. If it is a user error, make sure that all users are properly trained on how to operate the system. You should contact your alarm company after every false alarm whether the police attended or not. Your alarm company should be able to supply you with the detailed information about the alarm, how many zones were activated and what zones they were.

Where does the money go?

All monies collected are used to offset the costs of Police response to alarms within the Ottawa Police Service Budget.

How do I know the police actually responded to my alarm if I wasn't there?

The Ottawa Police Service received a request for dispatch from your alarm company.  Our dispatch computers record the time the call was received, dispatched to the officers, the time they arrived and the time that they cleared from the premise. Your alarm company can verify a dispatch to police. It is their responsibility to notify you or your key holder of the alarm activation.

If I receive an invoice for a false alarm, but there was a break and enter, what do I do?

If you return home or to your business and discover that in fact the premise was broken into you must immediately contact Ottawa Police. The call taker will create a call for service and have an officer attend to assess the situation and submit a break and enter report if required. Once the break and enter report has been taken, contact the Alarm Management Section and advise them of the report number.

Who would the Police Service recommend for an alarm company?

Ottawa Police will not recommend any specific alarm company. We will advise however to obtain three quotes from three different companies. Once you have met with each of the three you will have a better understanding of what each has to offer and something to compare one to another.

What should I do if I have a false alarm?

You need to determine why the false alarm occurred. If it is a user error, make sure that all users are properly trained on how to operate the system. You should contact your alarm company after every false alarm whether the police attended or not. Your alarm company should be able to supply you with the detailed information about the alarm, how many zones were activated and what zones they were.

What if I want to appeal the designation of a false alarm?

Appeals are submitted through the Ottawa Police Service Alarm Management Section where determination is made on the facts presented. Responses to appeals are generally provided within five days of receipt. If the alarm holder is not satisfied with the decision of the Alarm Administrator, they can submit in writing why and request the decision be reviewed by the Alarm Appeal Committee which meets once a quarter.