Question: Is it legal to pull a fire alarm? And if not, what are the consequences?
Answer: First and foremost, no, it is not legal and/or OK to pull a fire alarm. If the alarm is pulled with full understanding by the individual or individuals who are doing the pulling that there is no fire to truly respond to, we have a fire alarm that was “willfully and maliciously” sounded, and thus, a crime. It is an illegal act and punishable as a misdemeanor, as defined by Penal Code 148.4. A misdemeanor means up to one year in a county jail, or a fine not exceeding $1,000, or both. Secondly, if anyone suffers great bodily harm or death while responding to or due to the false alarm, the person responsible for pulling the false alarm may be charged with a felony. A felony means more than a year spent in prison, $500 to $10,000 in fines, or both.
Remember, when any fire apparatus responds to a fire alarm, they are responding with the understanding there may be a fire. They are making every effort to arrive in the least amount of time to keep injury and property loss to a minimum. If other emergency responders, i.e. the police respond, and they are injured due to the false alarm, or a car or person is struck while others our responding, it may be deemed a felony as well.
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