False Alarm Reduction Section
P.O. Box 83399
Gaithersburg, MD 20883-3399
(240) 773-6300 · FAX (240) 773-6303 · TTY (240) 773-6304
Appointments only! Please call us to make an appointment.
Email us: FARS@montgomerycountymd.gov
The Montgomery County Police Department is requested to respond to over 45,000 false alarms each year. Responding to false alarm calls reduces the police department’s effectiveness and undermines its ability to respond to more critical calls.
The False Alarm Reduction Section (FARS) of the Montgomery County Police Department was created to administer the County’s alarm law. The main function of the FARS is to reduce the number of false alarms to which police respond each year. The FARS licenses alarm companies, registers alarm users, send notifications of false alarms and bills for excessive false alarms to alarm users, ensures that appropriate inspections and upgrades of alarm systems occur, and handles informal appeals regarding the false designation of alarm activations.
What is a false alarm ?
The alarm law defines a false alarm as any alarm signal that elicits a response by police personnel and for which there is no evidence of criminal activity to justify a police response. This simply means that if a police officer responds to an alarm signal and, after investigation finds no evidence that criminal activity either had occurred or was occurring, the officer will designate the alarm signal as a false alarm. A false alarm may be caused by factors such as human error or equipment malfunction.
What does county law say about false alarms ?
Every alarm user is allowed one “free” false alarm in a calendar year. False alarm response fees are imposed for the second and each subsequent false alarm in a calendar year. The false alarm response fee for residential and commercial alarm users begins at $25 for second false alarm. Fees will escalate to $1,000 per false alarm for residential alarm users and $4,000 per false alarm for commercial alarm users. Please refer to the False Alarm Response Fee Schedule for more detailed information.
On the third false alarm in a calendar year, the alarm user must have the alarm system inspected by a licensed alarm company. The purpose of this inspection is to ensure that all mechanical components of the alarm system are in good operating condition, as well as afford the alarm company an opportunity to re-educate all those using the system on its proper use.
On the sixth false alarm in a calendar year, the alarm user must have the alarm system upgraded to meet current County installation standards.
You will be considered in violation of the alarm law if you fail to:
Alarm companies are prohibited from requesting dispatch for seven days after registration of the alarm system, unless there is a waiver granted by the FARS due to imminent danger to people or property. This is referred to as a “burn-in” or “soak” period.
For more information, please visit the pages below (click on individual links) or contact the FARU at 240-773-6300.
For additional information on false alarm prevention, the False Alarm Reduction Association (FARA) has put together various brochures and bulletins to help you avoid what could be costly mistakes. Their publications are made available as a public service, and they encourage the reproduction and distribution of their false alarm prevention information. Please click here to view the FARA web site.