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False Alarm Reduction Program

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What We Do

The Regional District of Central Okanagan False Alarm Reduction Program began in 2005 with the adoption of Security Alarm Bylaw No. 1081 (note please use new Schedule D below) by the Regional Board in response to a request from the Kelowna RCMP.

Prior to that time, false alarms had been an increasing problem and a costly drain on police time and resources.  The program has resulted in an annual decline in the number of false alarm calls.  Its success is based on the requirement that all residential and business alarm systems in the Central Okanagan East and Central Okanagan West Electoral Areas and all local governments in the Central Okanagan (City of Kelowna, District of West Kelowna, District of Lake Country, District of Peachland and Westbank First Nation reserves) must be registered, whether they are monitored by a security alarm system or not.

The registration requirement helps to ensure someone is accountable and responsible for maintaining a well functioning alarm system, while providing better tracking of information regarding false alarms.  As many false alarms are caused by failing equipment, improper placement and use and the lack of scheduled maintenance, the False Alarm Reduction Program provides an opportunity for increased awareness on the part of alarm users.

Permit registration forms must be completed by the alarm user and returned with the applicable fee (Residential Alarm Systems - $10 / Commercial Alarm Systems - $15) to the Office of the Alarm Coordinator at the  address below.  Please make cheque or money orders payable to: Regional District of Central Okanagan.

Once a permit has been issued, annual renewal notices will be sent out.  Registered system owners may go online to make a payment (please select the Miscellaneous Billing option, click on the Pay Online link then Account Number and Access Code found on your invoice).

Link to Schedule D - Registration Form

Link to Schedule A - Fees

Questions and Answers

What if I have a false alarm?

Registered Residential and Commercial Alarm Systems are allowed two false alarms each year without penalty.  The Security Alarm Bylaw provides for an escalating fine for three or more false alarms in a one-year period.  Warning letters will be sent after the first two false alarms, a 'Letter and Fee Invoice' will be sent after the third false alarm.  A 'Permit Suspension and Fee' letter will be sent to any registered alarm user after their fourth false alarm, outlining the appeal process and requirement to have their system inspected and re-registered.

If your security alarm is activated and it is not registered, either the RCMP will not respond or, if police do attend and the alarm is false, you will be invoiced for a $100 fee.  Any fees owing after December 15th of that year will be applied to property taxes as taxes in arrears.

Why do we need this program? 

In 2004 in the Westside and Central Okanagan East Electoral Areas, there were more than 1,100 false alarms.  In the City of Kelowna, there were more than 5,000 false alarms each year.  Responding to those false calls incurs considerable police costs and adds to the already busy workload and could result in delays for other more important calls.

Other jurisdictions have found after instituting a similar program that false alarm calls have been cut by 50-65%.

Isn't this just a tax grab that penalizes the minority of alarm users who cause false alarms?

The False Alarm Reduction Program fees offset the cost of the program and any surplus funds will be allocated to the Crime Prevention budget for programs designed to improve the safety and quality of life for all residents of the Central Okanagan. 

While approximately 20% of alarm users are responsible for false police calls, all alarm users must participate by registering their systems in order for the program to succeed and reduce false alarm calls.  The experience in other jurisdictions has shown 78% of agencies requiring registration posted a decrease in false police dispatches.  66% of those not requiring the registration of alarm systems saw an increase in the number of false alarm calls and wasted police response.

I have a registered alarm system, but am moving, what should I do?

Each user of an alarm system is responsible for advising the Alarm Coordinator of any change in their status at the  address below.

Where can I get more information to reduce the possibility of causing a false alarm? 

If you have a monitored system, you may contact your alarm company for questions relating to your particular system and maintenance. 

If you don't have a monitored system, you may consider information provided through the non-profit Canadian Security Association.  It's website (www.canasa.org) provides information on alarm systems.  (Introduction to Alarm Systems, Finding the Right System, Good Security and brochures:  How to have Zero False Alarms and False Alarm Reduction Tips) 

How to Reach Us:

RDCO False Alarm Reduction Program
Alarm Coordinator
P.O. Box 20243 Towne Centre, 
Kelowna, B.C. V1Y 9H2

Phone:  250-470-6219  
Fax:  250-470-6348
Email:  alarms@cord.bc.ca 
Website:  www.regionaldistrict.com


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