How Condo Board Management of “Nuisance Alarms” Saves Money

Condo Board Management Saves Money

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Nuisance alarms are not just inconvenient. They can have long lasting repercussions that can lead not only to lost money, but also lost lives. Here’s how management of nuisance alarms can save money while helping to keep your community safe. 

The Impact of Nuisance Alarms

False fire alarms or “nuisance alarms” in condominiums impact your condo’s safety and finances in several ways, including:

  • Building value: Nuisance alarms can impact the perceptions of the community, making your property feel unsafe. Add to this, constant disruptions interfering with residents’ quiet enjoyment of their homes, and you can experience reduced unit values. 
  • Condo budget: From a budgetary perspective, when an alarm is sounded and emergency services are dispatched, your condo is charged up to $1,396.25 per dispatch for false alarms. Although you get a “free” false alarm once a year, false alarms can also draw attention to possible maintenance shortfalls. If this raises concerns with the fire department that your alarm system is faulty due to improper alarm maintenance,  pursuant to Article of the Fire Code, property managers can face criminal charges including fines as high as $100,000 and possible jail time. 
  • Resident safety: Residents tend to become complacent with nuisance alarms and no longer think of alarms as a safety concern. This increases the risk of injury or death. Unless people can see fire or smell smoke, they feel safe and won’t worry about leaving the building. Also, aging populations will avoid the prospect of climbing downstairs during an emergency. They might feel safer staying in place until the alarm is disengaged, they sense imminent danger such as smoke and fire that gets them to leave their home, or help arrives.  

How Management of Nuisance Alarms Saves Money 

There are several ways you can manage nuisance alarms effectively and save money, including:

  • Maintenance: Proper maintenance of your fire alarm and sprinkler systems in accordance with the Fire Code avoids the costs associated with fines and charges for noncompliance. With proper testing and maintenance, you can make repairs and keep records documenting your compliance. Should ongoing nuisance alarms put your management under suspicion by the fire department, your records protect you against fines and charges. 
  • Testing and repairs: Ongoing nuisance alarms can amass a hefty amount of fees per dispatch, which can cost you thousands of dollars each year.  A strict testing schedule identifies issues so repairs can be made to avoid these costs. 
  • Technical assessments: If maintenance doesn’t seem to resolve the issues, a technical assessment might. This prevents expensive mechanical failures that can impact sprinkler systems allowing fires to spread. Through assessments you can help reduce damage should an actual fire occur. 
  • Security and monitoring: Security and monitoring can help determine troubled areas where vandalism is most likely. Cameras can determine if alarms are being used as a distraction to carry out criminal activities such as theft that can lead to costly damage to storage units, security passkey systems, etc.  
  • Communication: Informing residents of the dangers of nuisance alarms can help reduce the number of “pranks.” Sharing the costs associated with false alarms and how they can impact common element fees is also a good incentive to reduce pranks. 

Nuisance alarms are often a lot more than nuisances. By addressing them as soon as possible, and scheduling regular testing and maintenance, you can save money and keep your residents safe. 

The condo experts at CPO Management Inc, a full-service property management company in Toronto and the GTA, can help find fire system maintenance and management solutions to keep your condo property and residents safe. They have tremendous success in helping condo corporations implement cost-effective strategies for condo corporations. Reach out to us today to learn more about our condo services.

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