"Over the past decade, the Vineland, New Jersey, Fire Department, like most fire departments, has experienced a significant increase in the number of responses to automatic fire alarm systems, especially systems located in one and two family dwellings. Responses to residential alarm systems increased dramatically in late 1998, when the city council approved local amendments to the New Jersey Uniform Fire Code, one of which prohibited verification of residential fire alarms prior to notification of the fire department. The practical effect of this action was to eliminate the exception to immediate notification of the fire department from household fire warning equipment, found in chapter 2-4.9.2 of NFPA [National Fire Protection Association] 72, National Fire Alarm Code, 1996 edition. Being a combination fire department, this increase in responses eventually began to take a toll on the department's volunteers, some of whose companies were responding to more than 400 incidents per year. As a result, the city administration began to reconsider the prohibition on alarm verification. They also began to explore other solutions to the problem, such as implementing some type of fines and/or penalties for repeat false and/or nuisance alarms. The senior staff of the fire department acknowledged that the growing number of alarm responses was a problem; however, they were opposed to allowing verification, since they felt that this may compromise public safety. It was their belief that all other avenues should be explored, and options exhausted, prior to permitting any verification of residential fire alarm systems."
United States. Federal Emergency Management Agency, Learning Resource Center: http://www.lrc.fema.gov/