Again, if you feel so strongly that its a possible fire, is an entire structure box warranted for an alarm system activation?
Jet, over the long term what is your actual to false rate on alarms? We ran a few back to back also but the long term shows nearly 99% false or unintended. The fact that the apparatus was on the street and alerted early, even though at reduced speed allowed extinguishment with a can.
Rob, In NJ they teach us life is the top priority too. Until proven otherwise, I'll protect the lives of my crew and other motorists by going reduced unless warranted. We do upgrade or even start out as emergency speed, but well over 90% of our alarms and many other runs are done at a reduced rate. How would you feel if you were involved or caused a serious accident while responding hot to a repeated false alarm address? Maybe for the 2nd or 3rd time that day?
We're currently revising our SOGs in regards to CO, smoke, fire alarms when the called in by an alarm co. or a CO or smoke alarm activation called in by the resident when nothing is seen or smelled. The new SOG advises that the officers and the first engine respond emergency all other units respond with traffic. We do not run a high number of these types of calls but at least one or two a year are actual fires or CO emergencies. We still run a full structural response to fire or smoke alarms but only the first engine goes emergency. We looked at it more as a image issue, when your 3rd due unit secures a the intersection with lights and sirens and makes the motoring public yield the right of way only to watch the same unit shut all the warning devices down and turn around and head back to station a quarter mile down the street due to the alarm being false makes the public think why do they need to yield if your only going to turn around? It's easy to upgrade the response of the remainder of the units and response time isn't hindered due to the units already heading in that direction.
On my old Vollie dept, (early 80's) the only auto alarm we had was a direct to the dispatch line from a local college. If it went off, we sent a box. (4 pumpers, medical squad (today would be a "rescue"). We had a few residences with alarm systems, where the alarm co. called us. On those, we responded 1 pumper (Emergency rules) and had all others "stand by at quarters).
As far as letting "police" cancel us. Ha! Unincorporated county, we usually beat them by 10-15 minutes, despite being volunteers with no full time personnel at the station.
On the other hand, muni dept where I live now, they respond 1 pumper on residential, and a "still" (3 pumpers, truck, BC) on multi-occupied (business or apartment) auto-alarms. Normal response to confirmed is 3/1/1 on residences and 3/2/1 on businesses.
When they get a "false" from the alarm company, they all go in service except first due, who continues "hot" to the scene, and confirms in person. Usually if it's system malfunction, the property owners get a "talk" from the captain.
I live near a high school, and when they get a pull station (common - malicious false) they send 3/2, then slow them down when the school calls in the false. If they catch the perp (they usually do, someone alway sees it), then the kid gets talked to by the BC, and then the BC goes and talks to the parents!