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Archived News Release from 2008

For Immediate Release

Redwood City Fire Department Reminds Community to Check & Maintain Smoke Detectors and Fire Alarm Systems

Redwood City, CA - September 18th, 2008 - The “first line of defense” against injury or death in the event of a fire is a working smoke detector or smoke alarm system. That’s why the Redwood City Fire Department emphasizes the importance of having detectors or alarms installed in all residences and businesses. A properly placed, working smoke detector provides occupants with the best chance to escape without injury should a fire occur.

The Fire Department also emphasizes that automatic fire alarm systems must undergo regular maintenance in order to remain properly operational. Poorly maintained alarm systems may cause false alarms to be reported to the Fire Department – and false alarms can impede service delivery, deplete department resources, and prevent essential services from reaching those in need in a timely manner.

To help avoid these impacts of responding to false alarms, earlier this year the City enacted a False Alarm Ordinance. Section 12.31 of the City of Redwood City’s code establishes the fines that can be levied if the Fire Department responds unnecessarily to more than two false alarms at a business or residence within a sixty-day period. Fines can be levied regardless of whether the false alarm is due to a malfunction of the equipment, or to inadvertence or negligence. If the Fire Department responds to more than two false alarms within a sixty-day period, then a fine of up to $100 per response can result. A second violation within one year of the date of the first violation is assessed a fine of up to $500. Beyond that, each additional violation can result in a fine up to $1,000.

The Redwood City Fire Department would prefer not to levy any fines – the community is safer and better served if all automatic fire alarm systems are regularly maintained and properly operational. Please check your smoke detectors regularly, and replace batteries twice each year. Many fire fatalities occur because there is not a functioning smoke alarm installed nearby. Further information regarding proper placement and maintenance of smoke detectors or fire alarm systems is available at or by contacting the Fire Department at (650) 780-7400.

Visit Redwood City’s award-winning website at for information about the City and its services, the community, recreation programs, education, and local business. Take a look at the variety of City webcams at, and subscribe to Redwood City’s email newsletter or other City documents by visiting


James F. Skinner
Fire Chief


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