Kelowna’s Security Alarm System Bylaw
Did you know that Kelowna has a bylaw that sets out rules for your security alarm system? All security companies must abide by the Security Alarm Bylaw, but our homeowners and business owners may want to familiarize themselves with the bylaw too.
Best Security Okanagan recommends that you view the full Security Alarm Systems Bylaw on the City of Kelowna’s website or pick up a copy at City Hall. In the meantime, here are some key takeaways to be aware of.
Why does Kelowna have a bylaw for security alarm systems?
It can be expensive for RCMP to respond to false alarms, not to mention that a false alarm takes resources away from other emergencies. The bylaw, known as Security Alarm Systems Bylaw No. 9147, came into effect in 2004. It helps reduce the number of false alarms and allows fines for excessive false alarms and other costly alarm reports. Failure to comply with the bylaw may also result in penalties of up to $10,000.
What is an “excessive false alarm”?
When your alarm system is triggered and the RCMP respond, but there has been no unauthorized entry, unlawful act, or emergency situation, it is dubbed a false alarm. According to the City of Kelowna’s bylaw, an excessive false alarm means the reporting of 3 or more false alarms to the RCMP within a 365-day period.
A false alarm also includes, but is not limited to:
- Testing an alarm which results in RCMP response
- An alarm that’s activated due to mechanical failure, malfunction, or faulty equipment
- An alarm that’s activated by mistake (user error or negligence)
Preventing false alarms
Alarm systems must be installed to code and there are a number of regulations and restrictions that security companies must abide by. These regulations help govern everything from control panels to alarm time limits and alarm system testing. Your security alarm company will also need to register your system with the municipal government.
When it comes to registration, Best Security Okanagan works with our customers to complete the necessary paperwork. Part of this includes supplying you with written guidelines for avoiding False Alarms and training you how to use your new alarm system. In addition, your registration information will need to be updated annually.
As the alarm user, some of the things you will be responsible for include:
- Maintaining the property so that false alarms are minimized
- Getting to the property within 30 minutes when you are notified to deactivate a malfunctioning alarm. This includes sending a keyholder in your place
- Proving RCMP access to your property when an alarm dispatch request is made and help secure the premises as quickly as possible
- Ensuring that the alarm is not manually activated unless you actually intended to set the alarm off for an emergency
- Keeping your registration up-to-date with the Alarm Coordinator and your alarm company
- Keeping a set of written instructions for operating the alarm system at the alarm site and making sure that family members and employees have been trained on how to use the system as required.
What happens if I have a False Alarm?
The City has appointed an Alarm Coordinator who will send you a written warning after the second false alarm in a 365-day period. After the third and fourth false alarm, you will receive a written notice and an invoice for your administrative fee. Alarm response will be suspended after your fourth false alarm until your account has been cleared, which involves paying your fees and making an appeal to the Alarm Coordinator.
If you have two false alarms within a 365-day period, you may need to have the alarm system inspected by a Licensed Alarm Company, such as Best Security Okanagan.
If you have any questions about your security alarm system or how to avoid false alarms, please call Best Security Okanagan at 250-826-8395.