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More comments on fire departments not canceling run once dispatched from article on August 25, 2022
          My department will generally cancel if given notification by the alarm company of a proper cancellation code from the key holder unless we’ve had multiple false alarms at the same location, in which event we may then go ahead and go in to investigate at the duty officer’s discretion with his desired level of staffing/equipment.  Some local departments will send one engine or occasionally an engine and officer (if the command officer operates as a separate unit) “for the report” … for at least one of those departments that became their policy after cancelling on several “false” alarms at a factory and then finding out there had indeed been a small equipment fire and the person cancelling the alarm was not on site at the time.  I also know one of our local alarm monitoring companies will tell the key holder they “cannot cancel” the fire dept (any dept, it’s a company thing) once dispatched, but will they advise the dept of the updated information … most will then go ahead and cancel on their own.
Mick Tiede
           Various departments have various ways of dealing with this.  As SG stated, FDNY will dispatch based on what they receive and how it is received.  An office building with one smoke detector activated may only get a 1&1 (1 engine & 1 ladder truck) response to investigate while a nursing home may get 3 & 2 because of the life hazard. 
          Another thing that I think SG touched on, FD receives a smoke detector and starts out with a limited response, then a second signal is received such as a water flow or manual, the response is upgraded because they now have a confirmation.  
          I owned a house 3 miles outside a town of 1200 in Minnesota.  One night a detector activated and the central office notified the fire department.   I was able to cancel the alarm with no trucks leaving the station about three minutes after the initial call to them.  Slow response time on their part allowed for that.  Different departments, different protocols, and in some cases, responding is half the fun.
          To add some color to this, every department has their own policy as it relates to what they do when a subscriber says there is no fire present.  Some will stop all response and turn around, others will slow down and keep the same response and others will send a smaller response.
          Over the years I have seen where the person on the phone that says there is no fire was incorrect and while they are telling the CS there is no fire the attic is fully engulfed and they didn’t know it because they didn’t smell smoke or see flames. As a monitoring center we are careful how we tell the fire departments what’s happening.  For example, when we call the PSAP we will tell them that we have an UPDATE to the dispatch that the person on site states that there is no apparent fire on premise, and would like to cancel the response.
          Fires like that can quickly overtake a building, so most fire departments are careful in how they respond to alarms and cancel requests. 
  Morgan Hertel, VP of Technology and Innovation
Rapid Response Monitoring
          There is a very strong case to be made for the fire department to not accept cancelations.
          We dispatched the fire department to an off campus student housing residence and after the dispatch we called the premises and the occupants said there was nothing showing as an issue to be concerned about.  However, there was a fire and real threat to the building and its occupants, the chimney was a blaze and was about to spread to the attic area.  This is why fire departments respond to the scene. I am a volunteer firefighter and we always say to home owners do not reset the system until we arrive to identify the origin of the alarm activation.
          For commercial activations, mostly restaurants, we warn them the first time they reset before our arrival that if they reset again they will be shutdown for the night. These are large occupancies and its all about public safety. In their minds they don’t want to evacuate and disturb their customers.
          In fire safety, there is no middle ground for compromise.
Bart A. Didden, President
U.S.A. Central Station Alarm Corp.
Port Chester, NY
Milford, CT
St. Paul, MN
          Thanks to all for your participation and expertise.|

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Ken Kirschenbaum,Esq
Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
Attorneys at Law
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