false alarm


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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
References in periodicals archive ?
In order to address the false alarm problem, communities must price response correctly.
The verified alarm approach has proven successful in reducing the number of false alarms, Layhew insisted.
A key question was whether increasing the number of false alarms would decrease the willingness of experiment participants to take precautionary actions.
Despite the huge number of fire detection options currently available, devising a system for the pharmaceutical sector that will give the necessary speed of response without creating maintenance problems or generating an unacceptable level of false alarms is far from easy.
Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service has launched a new initiative which will aim to reduce the amount of time wasted on false alarms at business and commercial premises and public buildings.
Custom Alarm was runner-up for the prize, reducing false alarms by 17.
A fire service spokesman said: 'The alarms were activated but by the time we got to gate of the plant we were told by the on-site firefighters that it was a false alarm.
Some states charge $100 after the fourth false alarm and other states fine the homeowner in incremental stages with each occurrence.
A fire service spokesman said: 'The call turned out to be false alarm with good intent.
The Salt Lake City Police Department struggled with the false alarm issue for 20 years.
By the tenth false alarm, the animals stopped assuming the kind of vigilant behavior associated with genuine threats.
To reduce the potential for false alarms, detectors that can continuously monitor the background radiation level and adjust their alarm threshold level are the most effective because they can be set at the lowest possible detection limit while still maintaining a low false alarm rate.
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.