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False Fire Alarm(s)

Fire alarms activate accidentally for many different reasons. When they activate accidentally they can become a nuisance, desensitize people to the alarms, and ultimately lead to a less effective warning system. They also tie up fire department resources, preventing them from responding to actual emergencies.

False alarms are billable to the customer, based upon a 12-month rolling cycle. Billed amounts are reflected in your City of Lakeland electric bill:

  • Up to 2 False Alarms = no fee
  • False Alarm 3 or 4 = $35
  • 5 or more False Alarms = $70

Easy ways you can help prevent false alarms

  • Keep your fire alarm and its system components clean and maintained by a professional annually. 
  • Notify your fire alarm company if you are testing or fixing your alarm system. 
  • Know how to cancel a false fire alarm.
  • Have licensed professionals install and maintain your fire alarm properly.
  • Treat your system with care. Firefighters, ambulance personnel, and police officers want to get to your emergency as fast as they can to provide you with the help you need.

Common Causes of False Alarms and How to Prevent Them

Preventing false alarms is as varied as the different types of false alarms. Click here for some of the most common causes for false alarms and the ways you can help prevent future false alarms from happening.

Consequences of a False Alarm and How It Impacts Response

Opportunity Cost: False alarms prevent the Lakeland Fire Department’s emergency responders from responding to actual emergencies. The opportunity to help others truly in need it is lost when people and resources are tied up responding to a false alarm. Even if a false alarm is discovered early into the response, it may place a crew and their supplies minutes further away when responding to a life-threatening emergency like a cardiac arrest, a vehicle accident with injuries, or a structure fire. Those minutes can sometimes be the difference between life and death. These warnings are not meant to seem glib. The Lakeland Fire Department is dedicated to always being there for its citizens, and false alarms prevent that from always being possible.

Actual Cost: The department responded to over 1,300 false alarms in 2022. Responding to preventable false alarms creates actual cost in the form of fuel and accelerates the repair and replacement, hence cost, of equipment due to unnecessary overuse. Reducing the number of false alarms the department responds to creates an actual financial savings. The Lakeland Fire Department understands the work the department does is made possible by the community's support it serves, and reducing waste in the form of preventing false alarms is what we strive to do as good stewards of the resources entrusted to it.

There were 1,396 false alarms in 2022, which were missed opportunities to help others experiencing an actual need.

False Alarm Regulatory Ordinances

The following City of Lakeland Ordinances and Resolutions regulate false alarms within the City of Lakeland:

  • Ordinance # 3542 with Resolution 3667
  • Ordinance # 4422 with Resolution 4380

Copies of ordinances for your reference can be requested from the City Clerk’s Office.