false alarm reduction unit information

Instructions: Return the completed application to the False Alarm Reduction Unit (FARU) by fax or mail. Please keep this page for your reference. Your Alarm Permit will be a bright yellow post card. Your Permit number will be located on the mailing label. Keep the Alarm Permit with your records. Contact the FARU if you do not receive your Alarm Permit within two weeks of submitting an application.

Police and Fire expend valuable resources responding to "false" alarms. In an effort to recover a portion of the costs, the City Council enacted a Police and a Fire Alarm Ordinance in December 2002. Both Ordinances became effective April 1, 2003. All alarm systems in the city must be registered by applying for an Alarm Permit. This includes residential, business, and commercial alarms (monitored and non-monitored alarms). There is no fee to register the alarm.

See Geo-Data Explorer to verify if your address is within the city limits of Winston-Salem, NC. 

*Each Alarm Ordinance allows three (3) false alarms during a 12-month tracking period. A 12-month tracking begins with a first false alarm response. False police and fire alarms track separately. For registered alarm sites, the false alarm count resets to zero at the end of a 12-month tracking. 

Civil Penalties:

Unregistered Alarm Penalty:           Additional penalties per # of False Alarms:
$100 = Police or Fire respond to
a “false” alarm at an unregistered
alarm site.

4-5 alarms

=  $  50 each


6-7 alarms

=  $100 each


8-9 alarms

=  $250 each

10 and up

=  $500 each

Police No Response to Burglar Alarms: After Nine (9) false police alarms in a 12-month tracking require the alarm site placed on “No Police Response to Burglar Alarms only.” Police will always respond to holdup, panic, and duress alarms.

Reinstate Police Response to Burglar Alarms: (1.) Schedule an alarm system inspection by a licensed alarm technician; (2.) Fax or mail a copy of the inspection to the False Alarm Reduction Unit; (3.) Pay all civil penalties associated with the false alarm violations. If reinstatement at a registered alarm site is after the 12-month tracking period, the false alarm count resets to zero; if reinstatement is within the 12-month tracking, the false alarm count does not reset to zero. Consequently, 10+ false alarms in a 12-month tracking are $500 each. In addition, if a 10th false burglar alarm occurs during the 12-month tracking, the burglar alarm site is again placed on “No Police Response to Burglar Alarms only.” Reinstatement is required.

ALARM PERMITS ARE NOT TRANSFERABLE. If ownership of an alarm system transfers through sale of the property, etc., notify the FARU within 10 business days. Submit an Alarm Permit Application to the False Alarm Reduction Unit within 10 business days of alarm installation date or acquisition of alarm property. An alarm owner may not install, maintain, or use an audible alarm system which sounds for more than 20 minutes. This does not apply to fire alarms.


The FARU must receive a written appeal for a review of a false alarm ruling within 10 business days. Failure to send a written appeal within ten business days shall constitute a waiver of the right to appeal. A written appeal shall include the following: Alarm user name; Alarm location address; Date and time of the false alarm; Alarm permit number; and Documentation the alarm was not false THERE IS NO APPEAL FOR NON-REGISTRATION (NO ALARM PERMIT). Alarm Permit Applications must be submitted within 10 business days of alarm system installation/ownership. Awareness of alarm regulation is best communicated by your alarm company. If you were not aware of alarm regulation, contact your alarm company to inquire about their notification practices. Alarm regulation prevails across the United States. The City of Winston-Salem informed the NC Burglar and Fire Alarm Association (NCBFAA) of the date of regulation. The city continues awareness about alarm registration via the Journal, The Chronicle, Que Pasa, TV-13’s Bulletin Board, and this web site.


Update key holders and telephone numbers with your alarm monitoring company and the False Alarm Reduction Unit.


• Instruct alarm users/key holders on proper operation of the alarm system to include arming and disarming the system, and how to cancel “false” burglar alarm activations via the alarm monitoring company before police arrive.

  • An arming delay of at least 60 seconds is recommended.
  • Properly secure all doors and windows before arming the system. Unsecured doors and windows may result in false alarms.
  • Review with your monitoring service the procedures for police/fire dispatch. Most alarm companies make one-call verification to the alarm premises to verify if a burglar alarm activation is valid and asking personnel on site for a password. Some monitoring companies allows a two-call verification on burglar alarm activations, i.e., call the residence or business and then call a cell phone before requesting dispatch.
  • Ensure motion sensors are adjusted correctly, especially if you have pets or install ceiling fans. Contact your alarm company BEFORE you schedule modifications to an existing alarm site installation.
  • If your alarm system activates during thunderstorms or power outages, schedule an inspection by your alarm company. A yearly inspection of the alarm system is recommended. Alarm systems have a secondary power source which is usually a battery. An adequate battery should prevent alarm activation due to minor power interruptions.
Alarm costs

Alarm System Permit online application

Or download the printable form to complete and mail in
Alarm Permit Application [pdf/474kb/1p]       


*You will need the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view these files.

Return to A-Z Services

Notify me of page changes

Receive E-Mail Notification When New Information is Posted on this Page
As a member, enjoy the benefits of MyCityofWS, including your choice of newsletters, and notifications about events and site updates. Login and Manage Your Subscriptions Now.

Citizen Notification System

City Link 311