false alarm


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

false alarm

A benign situation initially mistaken for an emergency. Mary thought she was going into labor, but it turned out to be a false alarm. When the smoke detectors started beeping, we thought the building was on fire, but it was just a false alarm caused by faulty wiring.
See also: alarm, false

false alarm

A warning signal that is groundless, made either by mistake or as a deliberate deception. For example, The rumor that we were all going to get fired was just a false alarm, or Setting off a false alarm is a criminal offense. This expression, first recorded in 1579, today is often used for a report of a nonexistent fire.
See also: alarm, false

a false aˈlarm

a warning of something, especially something unpleasant or dangerous, which does not in fact happen: They thought the packet contained a bomb but it was a false alarm.
See also: alarm, false
References in periodicals archive ?
As false alarms are such an important issue, manufacturers of fire detection systems have devoted much effort to developing products that will eliminate them.
The service's Protection and Technical Team will now target organisations which repeatedly have false fire alarms in their buildings, with the aim of educating them about what they can do to prevent false alarms from happening in the first place.
A coordinated effort among local, government, and business entities in the alarm service industry have devised the Model States Program in an effort to reduce the n u tuber of false alarms.
Some experts also believe that improvements in software are likely in the future given the significant software advances in the past few years that have reduced false alarm rates and increased sensitivity.
Students have been warned that each false alarm will mean a pounds 25 fine and continuous offenders face expulsion.
2) Unless communities take action to bring the number of false alarms under control, police officers soon may find themselves devoting much of their time responding to false alarm calls, or in effect, working for private security companies.
Even the most conservative estimate place the false alarm figure at 80 percent.
Summary: Washington DC [USA], Jan 14 (ANI): Hawaii's Emergency Management Agency on Saturday clarified that an alert of a ballistic missile threat sent to people across the island was a false alarm.
Tenders are invited for False Alarm Tracking and Billing Services.
Carbon monoxide alarm, Nantucket Place, false alarm.
As part of the project community fire station managers visit each organisation on its first false alarm and then send specific advice to the person responsible for the building on how to reduce false alarms.
FOUR firefighters were rushed to hospital after their engine smashed into a tree as they responded to a false alarm.
RESCUE workers battled last night to save a child who had fallen down a manhole only to find the emergency call to the fire brigade was a false alarm.