Automatic Fire Alarm System Law

Automatic fire alarms are essential to both lives and property, but false alarms are time-consuming and tax the resources of local fire departments. The following are examples of false fire alarms:
  • Doing maintenance on system without proper notification
  • False call/malicious activation
  • Improper installation
  • Malfunction/defective components
  • Unknown reason for activation
Fire Alarm


In accordance with Harford County Code Section 84, a $100 fine will be assessed in the event of two false alarms within a rolling 12- month period. In addition a Notice of Defective Alarm will be issued and the State Fire Marshal's Office will be notified.

In the event of a third false alarm within a rolling 12-month period, a $500 fine will be assessed. If four or more false alarms occur within a 12-month rolling period, a $1,000 fine will be assessed for each occurrence.

Because a defective alarm system continues to be used, a $200 fine may also be assessed for every day since the third false alarm.


Upon receiving a Notice of Defective Alarm System, the user must have the alarm system inspected within 30 days and send a written report to the Emergency Operations Center within 15 days of the inspection. The report must include the results of the inspection, description of probable cause and action taken to prevent future incidents.

Reports should be mailed to:
Harford County Division of Emergency Operations
Attn: Fire Alarm Coordinator
2220 Ady Road
Forest Hill, MD 21050


If you or an authorized service contractor is performing maintenance on your alarm system, it is your responsibility to contact Harford County Emergency Communications, at 410-638-3400, prior to performing the maintenance.

Preventing false alarms

  • Ensure everyone who operates your alarm system is properly trained.
  • Follow all instructions furnished by your alarm company and/or manufacturer for proper use, repairs and maintenance, etc. 
  • Inspect and service your alarm system regularly.