Beginning July 1, 2014, the Town of Chapel Hill implemented the Chapel Hill Accidental Alarm Program (CHAAP), an ordinance to reduce the amount of accidental alarms. All University building fire alarm systems are covered by this ordinance. Civil penalties for excessive accidental activations are assessed as part of the new ordinance.

Breakdown of payment per false alarm citation

Number of false alarms Penalty
1 to 3 $0
4 to 5 $100
6 to 7 $200
8 to 9 $300
10 plus $500 each

Since the ordinance began, EHS Fire Safety took the role to oversee the fire response aspect to all campus locations. The Chapel Hill fire department provides EHS with any report pertaining to the UNC campus and once the reports are received, they are thoroughly reviewed to ensure whether an alarm was a false activation or not. EHS Fire Safety can dispute the alarm if it feels that it is not a false activation.

After the review of each report, EHS then receives a citation from the organization that is responsible for the monitoring and billing of the ordinance called “Crywolf.” In the event of an activation, the building facility manager will then receive an email per alarm so they are aware of the number of activations (the first 3 activations are free). A citation will be received from “Crywolf,” verified and sent to the purchasing department by EHS Fire Safety to be paid. EHS will pay the initial payment then be reimbursed by the department at fault. The request for payment from EHS is an external charge imposed by Town of Chapel Hill and EHS is just an intermediary in the process. As a result, these fees are not covered under Interdepartmental Fee & Charges Committee purview.

Description of False Alarm Activations

  • Fire Alarm: Cause Not Found
    – Any alarm that a reason for activation could not be found.
  • Fire Alarm: Deliberate
    – Alarm caused by means of a prank, horseplay, illegally discharging a fire extinguisher.
  • Fire Alarm: Hairstyling Tools/Products
    – Any product or action used during hair styling.
  • Fire Alarm: Pull Station/No Fire
    – Anytime the pull station is activated for no reason, prank or malfunction.
  • Fire Alarm: Steam from the Showers
    – Steam generated from the shower causing an activation (mainly housing).
  • Fire Alarm: System Malfunction
    – Any fire alarm system activation caused by a malfunction in the system as documented by Life
    Safety on site, or another UNC/Vendor performing a specific work related function that requires
    the fire alarm to be part of the work.
  • Fire Alarm: Workers
    – Any maintenance/housekeeping/contract workers or actions caused in the activation‐ (unless
    system is placed in test mode which will not be dispatched if received by communications).
  • Fire Alarm: Dust/Mist/Fumes
    – Candles, housekeeping procedures, maintenance products that generate dust, fumes or steam
    from machines or outdoor machines that may enter the building and cause activation.

Note: Any type of smoke or product of combustion will not be classified as false.

If you have any questions, concerns or would like more information on the ordinance, contact EHS Fire Safety at firesafety@unc.edu.