False Alarms


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Emergency line:


Non-emergency dispatch:


General information:


If your fire alarm activates and you see smoke or fire, please call 911 once you have left the building.

Effective November 3, 2019, fire alarm systems are no longer required to be registered with the City of Ann Arbor. The Ann Arbor Police Department still requires registration for burglar or other police related alarms. Please visit the Ann Arbor Police page Alarm Permits and Registration for more information on police related alarms.

The below definitions have been updated as part of the ordinance update adopted by City Council on October 24, 2019.


Alarm system means a detection device or an assembly of equipment and devices arranged to signal the presence of a hazard requiring urgent attention or to which the fire department is expected or requested to respond. The term includes any system that can electronically cause an expected response by the fire department to a premises by means of the activation of an audible signal, visible signal, electronic notification, or video signal, or any combination of these signals. The term "alarm system" includes, but is not limited to, the following types of devices: “medical alarm,” "local alarm," "personal emergency response alarm," "temperature fire alarm," "manual fire alarm," "fire alarm," "automatic sprinkler," "water flow alarm," “carbon monoxide alarm,” “carbon dioxide alarm,” “supervisory alarm”, “tamper alarm,” or other alarm indicating a service or hazardous condition. Alarm systems designed solely to alert or signal persons within the premises in which the alarm system is located shall not be regulated by this chapter, unless such alarm systems employ an audible signal emitting sounds, or flashing lights or beacons, or “silent” signals to emergency officials or monitoring agencies, designed to signal persons outside the premises.

False alarm means the activation of an alarm system through mechanical failure, faulty equipment, malfunction, improper installation, lack of prudent maintenance, triggering by an animal, testing without prior written notice to the City, or the negligence of the alarm user (or of his, her, or its employees, agents, guests, residents, or invitees). The activation of an alarm system is a false alarm when a fire department investigation reveals no fire or potential fire, or need for medical attention when the alarm system was activated.  False alarms that are intentionally activated shall not constitute a false alarm for purposes of this chapter, but may be prosecuted as criminal offenses.  The activation of an alarm system is not a false alarm when it is caused by any of the following:

  1. Weather events or other condition beyond the control of the alarm user.
  2. Disruption or disturbance of telephone or public utility company facilities.
  3. Utility pole accidents.
  4. Testing of the alarm system after prior notification has been received by the fire department.
  5. Intentional and non-malicious activation of an alarm system due to a reasonable belief that fire department response was needed but was actually not necessary.

Alarm Fe​es​

For each false fire alarm, there is a $250.00 fee. 

There has been a persistent falsehood that the first false alarm is "free." This is false. Each false alarm, including the first, is billed $250.00.