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Notice of False Fire Alarm

Toronto Fire Services

Sent to the Management Office by TFS

False fire alarms cost all of us. Each year in Toronto your fire service responds to tens of thousands of alarms where upon investigation, the cause is not a fire but poor maintenance of the alarm system. Properly installed and maintained fire alarm and security systems are important factors in minimizing nuisance alarms. Maliciously activated fire alarms are also a serious concern. Because of the high numbers of these incidents the possibility is always present that responding to these nuisance alarms may delay our response to a real emergency.

To deal with this issue, the City of Toronto Bylaw No. 133-1998 (Municipal Code, Chapter 441-1) was enacted, which identifies fees to be charged for nuisance and malicious alarms. An administration fee of $350 per dispatched fire vehicle will be charged when the following criteria are met;

  1. For the 2nd and all subsequent nuisance fire alarms in a building in the past two calendar months;
  2. For the 2nd and all subsequent malicious false alarms in a calendar year.

You can help yourself and help us …

A rebate of up to 90% of the false alarm fee or the cost incurred to correct the problem of the false alarm, whichever is less, is available to those who make real efforts to reduce their nuisance and malicious alarms. To qualify for a rebate the false alarm invoice must be paid and you must provide improvements to the fire alarm system that enhance life safety or improve security in the building. This does not include regular/yearly maintenance and repairs or a security patrol.

Your application accompanied with the original invoice of improvements to the system will be validated upon receipt and the installation will be verified on location by a Fire Prevention Inspector. Submissions should be directed to the attention of:

Sean Pearce, Executive Officer Toronto Fire Services
4330 Dufferin Street
Toronto, ON M3H 5R9

Your cooperation will go a long way toward reducing nuisance and false alarms in the City and increasing the availability of our Fire Fighters to respond to genuine emergencies.

William A. Stewart
Fire Chief

This information is shared with building owners and building managers in order to provide assistance in reducing the incidents of false fire alarms within a building.

This list identifies a number of actions that have been implemented previously with good results.

Please consider the following:

  • The installation of localized alarm type covers over the fire alarm pull station. These must be U.L.C. listed and installed according to the manufacturer's instructions. (These items are reimbursable.)
  • Consider installing security cameras in the main foyer and other areas of the building where pulled alarm stations are common.
  • Assign security personnel to patrol the building.
  • Organizing of tenant groups to be fire wardens in troublesome buildings. At. least one person per floor would look out in the corridor to see if they can determine who activated the alarm, immediately upon hearing the fire alarm sound.
  • Post letters in the building signed by the Fire Chief warning people of the dangers associated with false alarms.
  • Arranging for Fire Services personnel to talk with tenant groups regarding the dangers of false alarms in the building. Be on the look out for troublesome people and do not hesitate to contact the police when you have gathered evidence that could lead to the arrest of perpetrators regarding false alarms. False alarms are a criminal offence.
  • Consider arranging meetings to include building occupants, property management, maintenance personnel and superintendents in order to discuss together the possible solutions to your particular concerns. Try to develop a genuinely concerned and involved team effort with all parties involved.
  • Ensure that reputable companies are performing regular maintenance on fire protection equipment in accordance with the Ontario Fire Code requirements and that the communications centre of the Toronto Fire Services is notified when systems are being worked on. (416-338-9000)

False alarms are activated for a number of different reasons. We must take a responsible position in order to eliminate them. They create dangerous situations for fire fighters and the public and will not be tolerated.

Your concern, interest and cooperation will go a long way toward reducing the false alarms within the building. Being free of false alarms will benefit everyone!

Thank you,

William A. Stewart
Fire Chief