Alarm Registration Program

In an effort to enhance public safety and reduce the unnecessary expenditure of public resources to false alarms, Roanoke City Council adopted 2 new ordinances pertaining to fire and security alarms. The purpose of the ordinances is to provide regulation for the use and operation of fire and security alarms. This program went into effect on January 1, 2004.

Take note of the fee structures for maintaining fire and security alarms. The ordinances were revised October 19, 2007. The deadline for registration is 30 days after the date of your invoice.

In April 2002, the Roanoke Police Department launched an awareness campaign to reduce the number of police officer responses to false alarm calls. In 2001, Roanoke Police responded to over 8,000 alarm activations. In early 2002, a patrol officer began a community policing project to address the problem. Many alarm calls for police service are false alarms and unnecessarily use the time of officers who could be spending their time more efficiently and effectively in other areas of service to citizens. False alarms account for approximately 7% of police calls for service in the city.

False alarms also impact Fire-EMS service delivery. For example, electronic alarms for fire from commercial and retail structures activate a response from 3 fire engines, 2 aerial ladder trucks, and 1 command officer. In 2002, Roanoke Fire-EMS responded to more than 1,400 alarms, 95% of which were false alarms. While it is important to respond to security alarms, false alarms distract public safety officers from addressing real emergency situations, and increase the risk of injury to citizens, firefighters and police.

To register contact the False Alarm Coordinator at Fire-EMS at 540-853-2327 or email, or the False Alarm Coordinator at the Police Department at 540-853-5714 or email.

Registration Requirements

The following provides necessary information for alarm company operators and commercial alarm system users to be in compliance with the new policies and procedures for alarms in the city.

Alarm Company Operator

Application for registration must include:
  • Type of system(s), i.e. security/burglary and/or fire
  • Name, address and telephone number of the alarm company operator
  • Name, address and telephone number of the owner and/or manager of the business
  • Non-refundable registration fee (registration and fees are maintained annually for both security and fire alarms)

Commercial Alarm System User

Application for registration must include:
  • Type of system(s), i.e. security/burglary and/or fire
  • Name, address and telephone number of the commercial property with the alarm system
  • Name, address and telephone number of the owner and or manager of the business
  • Name, address and telephone number of the alarm company operator, if applicable
  • Name, address and telephone number of 3 individuals who are authorized to respond to an alarm signal at the business location and can be reached at any time, day or night
If the alarm system is to be installed or maintained by an alarm company operator, the alarm company operator may obtain the required permit for the alarm system user.

Fire & Security Alarm Fees

Registration Fees

Registration fees are only required to be paid once a year for both fire and security alarms.

Alarm System User Permit:
  • $25 each year for each location (limit for this fee is 3 locations)
  • $100 for 4 or more locations
Alarm Company Operator:
  • $25 each year

Service Charges

False alarms are allowed to occur up to 5 times before any service charges are made to give alarm users time to fix any equipment related problems that might be causing false alarms. The schedule of fees are as follows for repeat false alarms:

Registered Permit Holder:
  • $100 each for 6th and subsequent false alarms in 1 year
Non-Registered User:
  • $125 for 1st 6 false alarms in 1 year
  • $150 for 7th and subsequent false alarms in 1 year

Alarm Reduction Tips

Most false alarms are caused by user error. By following simple steps you can greatly reduce the chance of falsely engaging an alarm system. The 1st step is to instruct everyone who has a key on how to operate the alarm properly. Also, make sure all authorized persons know how to cancel false alarms. Be sure to make special arrangements for guests and repair technicians to prevent a chance of engaging the alarm.

Notify your security company immediately at any signs the alarm system is not working properly. Schedule routine maintenance and check the system's battery often to ensure the system is operating properly. Be sure to notify Police or Fire-EMS when maintenance is being performed on the alarm system.

For questions regarding your security alarm, contact the Roanoke Police Department at 540-853-5714. For questions regarding your fire alarm contact the Roanoke Fire-EMS Department at 540-853-2327.