False Alarm Reduction Program

alarm panel

If you have a home or business alarm or are planning on installing an alarm system a permit is required. Please complete the registration form.

False Alarm activations account for more than 95% of alarm responses annually. This diverts police officers away from actual crimes in progress, creates longer response times, and poses a risk to safety of the general public as well as public safety personnel. March 1, 1995 the City of Vancouver began registering alarm systems and imposing fines for false alarms. The Alarm Ordinance, Vancouver Municipal Code (VMC) 8.52 is available on-line under the Municipal code.

Some objectives of the alarm ordinance are:

  • Reduce the number of false alarms
  • Improve response time to valid alarms
  • Increase officer and homeowner safety
  • Encourage responsible ownership and operation of alarm systems
  • Ensure continuing police response to alarms

Alarm companies are required by law to notify their customers of security alarm registration and must register their company with Vancouver Police Alarm Unit. Please complete the Alarm Company Registration Form. Alarm Companies are subject to penalties for requesting an alarm dispatch when an installing or servicing company is at the alarm site to install or service an alarm system or for dispatching police to an alarm location that has been suspended.

City of Vancouver security alarm users are required to apply for and obtain an annual permit to use the system. The City of Vancouver will send an invoice for the annual permit fee. VMC 8.52 requires that you keep your alarm permit information updated with the police department. AGE EXEMPTION: Primary residential alarm users age 62 or older may request exemption from the permit fee by providing a copy of their driver’s license, birth certificate or passport along with a completed registration form. ECONOMIC EXEMPTION: Primary residential alarm users who are eligible for the federal food stamp program may request exemption from the permit fee by providing proof of economic hardship each year. Please do not send a check unless you receive an invoice.

Fine Schedule After August 15, 2002

1st Response  $50 / Waiver*
2nd Response  $100
3rd Response  $150
4th Response $200
5th Response $250
6th Response $300 / Disconnect**

False alarm fines are intended to recover a part of the costs caused to the public by security alarm systems.

*A waiver form will be mailed with each first notice of a false alarm allowing the Alarm Owner an opportunity to correct the problem and take responsibility for their system. If a completed waiver form is returned within the designated time frame, that first response fine will be waived but the alarm incident with remain in the permit history.

* *Order of Disconnect and Directive of Non-Response may be sent to the Alarm Owner, Alarm Company and 9-1-1 after sixth False Alarm, failure to register and failure to pay. If an alarm site receives 6 false alarms within a 12 month period, an order to disconnect the system may be issued if compliance steps are not met. Please call the alarm unit with questions (360) 487-7403.

False Alarm Definition: "False Alarm" is the activation of any security alarm system by other than forced entry, attempted forced entry, unlawful entry or actual burglary or robbery at the alarm site. Alarm users are responsible for paying fines regardless of age or economic exemption.

Appeal Process: Alarm owners subject to fine/penalty or other administrative action are entitled to appeal. An appeal must be filed in writing to the chief of police with ten (10) days of receipt of notice and should include evidence or a crime and corresponding police report number or proof of how the City of Vancouver acted in error in assessing the penalty to be granted.


ENVIRONMENT – unlocked or loose fitting doors and windows, unsupervised pets, fans and heaters that may move plants or drapery, extreme weather conditions and power outages.

PEOPLE – Family, friends, repair or service persons with a key to your home or business who are not thoroughly trained how to arm, disarm and cancel known false alarms.

EQUIPMENT – select a reliable, responsible company to install, service and monitor your alarm, review operating instructions periodically, ask your alarm company common mistakes people make when operating your particular system, use “pet friendly” motion sensors, replace batteries, test your alarm system monthly, schedule routine maintenance checks by your alarm company.


Cancel a known false alarm by contacting your security company immediately. Alarm calls made to 9-1-1 can be canceled by your monitoring company before an officer arrives.

Require two sensor activations before your monitoring company calls 9-1-1. An interior motion sensor activation alone is almost always false.

Require the monitoring company to make at least two calls prior to calling 9-1-1. Provide updated phone numbers to your security company for your home, place of work, cell phone(s), and other emergency contacts. Multiple call verification can greatly reduce the number of times police are called to false alarms.

Thoroughly train everyone with a key to your home or business on how to arm, disarm, and cancel a known false alarm and periodically provide refresher instruction.

Install battery back-up of at least four hours power outages are not police emergencies.

For any questions regarding the Alarm Ordinance, Security Alarm Registration or to offer any suggestions please contact Vancouver Police Alarm Unit.

Alarm Coordinator: Jesamie Peters

Phone: (360) 487-7403 Fax: (360) 694-9646

Mailing: PO BOX 1995, Vancouver WA 98668-1995

Email: cityvpdalarmunit@cityofvancouver.us