Town of Middleton, MA
Essex County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Annual Town Meeting of the Town of Middleton 5-11-1988 by Art. 69. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Fire prevention — See Ch. 143.

§ 95-1 Purpose and scope.

A. 
This bylaw shall apply to the installation, operation, and maintenance of fire and/or medical aid alarm systems, and police security alarm systems.
B. 
Fire and/or medical aid and police security alarm systems shall include systems connected to Fire Headquarters and the Police Station by the municipal fire alarm circuit, direct wire, or on a telephone dialup basis, and systems which use exterior audible signals at the alarm location.

§ 95-2 Alarm system installation and permit requirements.

A. 
As of the effective date of this bylaw, no alarm system or equipment designed to summon the Police Department shall be installed without first obtaining an alarm permit signed by the Police Chief or his designee. As of said date, no alarm system or equipment designed to summon the Fire Department shall be installed without first obtaining an alarm permit signed by the Fire Chief or his designee. Existing alarm systems must obtain a permit within three months of the effective date of this bylaw. The Police Chief and the Fire Chief shall prescribe an application form for alarm permits and any other rules as may be necessary for the implementation of this bylaw. The fee for each alarm permit shall be $10. This approval requirement shall include municipal connection, direct wire and dialup devices.
B. 
Any current or future alarm user may contract with an alarm company of his choice for the purchase, lease, installation and serving of an alarm system on his premises.
C. 
Existing telephone dialers using voice-type tape recorders, which are not compatible with the alarm console, may continue to use the special alarm number set up only for this purpose for a period not exceeding one year from the effective date of this bylaw. No equipment as described in this bylaw shall use the primary fire or police telephone number. New applications for voice-type tape systems will not be approved.
D. 
Actual connection to the Fire Department's alarm console will be made by the Town's designated alarm contractor, or Fire Alarm Division personnel. Connection of police security alarms to Police Headquarters shall be at the direction of the Police Chief. Alarm users will be required to pay the alarm contractor for this service as set forth in a contract between the contractor and the alarm user.
E. 
The alarm system owner or user, or the alarm company contracting for servicing the alarm user's system, shall be responsible for obtaining any necessary leased lines or municipal cable between the protected location and the alarm-receiving equipment.
F. 
The Town will make every effort to ensure the proper operation of its alarm-receiving equipment but accepts no liability for conditions which prevent proper reception of signals from the user's premises.
G. 
This approval requirement shall include municipal connection, direct wire and dialup devices.

§ 95-3 Alarm disconnection and alternate notice.

Whenever an alarm system or equipment is disconnected, removed, or substantially altered, the owner or user thereof shall notify the Police Department or Fire Department in writing so that an appropriate notation may be made on the permit.

§ 95-4 Automatic shutoff requirement.

All alarm systems installed after the effective date of this bylaw which use an audible horn or bell shall be equipped with a device that will shut off the horn or bell within 10 minutes after activation of the alarm system. All existing alarms using an audible horn or bell shall be equipped with such a device within 12 months after the effective date of this bylaw.

§ 95-5 Alarm system regulations and maintenance.

This regulation shall apply to all alarm systems except automobile alarms.
A. 
Each alarm user shall submit to the Fire Chief or Police Chief the names, addresses and telephone numbers of two persons who can be reached at any time, day or night, who are authorized to gain access to the protected premises for the purposes of silencing and resetting the alarm system. It shall be the alarm user's responsibility to keep this information up-to-date. In addition, each control panel shall have located inside the door the above information and also the name of the company and phone number of the company which currently services the system.
B. 
Written instructions shall be clearly visible for resetting a fire alarm or security alarm control panel on or near the unit. Permission to attempt a system reset must be on file with the Fire or Police Department if the user wishes the Departments to reset control unit. If after three attempts a system will not reset, the zone, or if necessary, the system, shall be left not restored. In this event, attempts shall be made to contact the parties from data given by the user. The Town assumes no liability for the inability to contact listed persons.
C. 
Any building other than a residential building of fewer than six units which has a fire alarm system or other fire protection system shall provide a secure key box installed in a location accessible to the Fire Department in case of emergency. This key box shall contain keys to fire alarm control panels and other keys necessary to operate or service fire protection systems. The box shall be a type approved by the Chief of the Fire Department and shall be located and installed as approved by the Chief.
D. 
All premises shall have their legal street number clearly visible as per existing Town bylaw[1] prior to connection of an alarm to the Fire or Police Department.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 114, Buildings, Numbering of.

§ 95-6 Alarm tests.

No alarm system designed to transmit emergency messages or signals directly to the Police or Fire Department shall be worked on, tested or demonstrated without obtaining permission from the Police or Fire Chief or his designee. Failure to do so may constitute a false alarm and therefore be subject to fee assessment.

§ 95-7 False alarm assessments.

A. 
Alarm systems which generate false alarms in any twelve-month period shall be subject to assessment as follows:
(1) 
Fire alarm and emergency medical systems:
[Amended 11-29-2005 STM by Art. 18]
False Alarm
Assessment
1 thru 3
None
4 thru 5
$150 each
6 or more
$300 each
(2) 
Police security alarm systems:
[Amended 11-29-2005 STM by Art. 18]
False Alarm
Assessment
1 thru 5
None
6 thru 10
$25 each
11 or more
$50 each
(3) 
Alarm users who produce a valid service agreement for the protected property shall receive a twenty-five-dollar credit against any assessment.
(4) 
It is the intent of this section to have systems maintained on a regular basis annually.
B. 
False alarms caused by faulty telephone service, electrical storms, or power outages will be excluded from assessment.
C. 
False alarms received during the first 30 days of connection shall be discounted provided no malicious intent has occurred and every attempt has been made to rectify new installation defects.
D. 
Determination that a false alarm has been transmitted will be the responsibility of the Fire Chief or Police Chief or his duly appointed duty officer.
E. 
Upon failure of an alarm user to pay two consecutive fees assessed within 60 days of the assessment, Fire Department shall order the alarm user to discontinue the use of the alarm system for not more than six months.
F. 
Town, county and state agencies are exempt from the provisions of the assessment schedule.

§ 95-8 Connection fees.

A. 
Each alarm user shall, on or before July 1, remit to the Police or Fire Department the connection fee for the proceeding year as outlined below:
(1) 
Master boxes: $150 per box. Note: Locations that have multiple master boxes installed at the request of the Fire Department shall be assessed for the initial box only.
(2) 
Digital alarms: $10 per signal.
B. 
All fees are to be deposited in a revolving account for the express purpose of maintenance and capital improvement of public safety alarm circuits, equipment and labor necessary to maintain said Town alarm system.

§ 95-9 Violations and penalties.

The following acts and omissions shall constitute a violation of these regulations and the responsible person or persons shall be punished by a fine of not less than $50 nor more than $200 per offense as follows. Each day in which a violation occurs may be considered a separate offense.
A. 
Failure to follow an order issued by the Fire Chief or Police Chief to disconnect a fire alarm system from the municipal circuit box, or to disable a telephone dialer arranged to dial the digital alarm console or the special alarm telephone numbers.
B. 
After the effective date of these regulations, using a telephone dialing device arranged to dial a Police or Fire Department number without authorization under this bylaw.
C. 
Failure to pay two or more consecutive fees assessed under either or both of §§ 95-7 and 95-8 of these regulations. Within 60 days from the date of the second assessment.
D. 
Failure to comply with the requirements set forth in §§ 95-2 through 95-8 of these regulations.
E. 
Continued transmission of false alarms caused by the user's negligence or system malfunction on the user's premises which is under the user's control, and where no effort is made to correct the condition.

§ 95-10 Suspension or revocation of permit; appeals.

A. 
The Police Chief or the Fire Chief may suspend or revoke an alarm permit for just cause in accordance with the following procedures:
(1) 
The Chief or his designee shall issue to the permit holder a written notice, by certified mail, of his intent to suspend or revoke the alarm permit. Notice will include the date of the intended suspension or revocation, the reasons for the suspension or revocation and notice that the permit holder is entitled to a hearing upon written request.
(2) 
Upon receipt of a notice of suspension or revocation, the permit holder may, within five working days of receipt, submit a written request for a hearing before the Police Chief, the Fire Chief or a designee thereof. At the hearing, the permit holder shall have the right to present evidence, cross-examine witnesses and be represented by counsel. The hearing shall be informal and shall not be subject to rules of evidence or formal courtroom procedures. After the hearing, the hearing officer may issue a written order of suspension or revocation for a given period of time. He may also withdraw any previous order of suspension or revocation.
(3) 
During the appeal period, the alarm system may remain in operation.
(4) 
An alarm owner or user whose permit has been suspended or revoked may reapply for a new permit after the suspension period is over.
B. 
An alarm user wishing to appeal a decision of the Fire Chief or Police Chief may, within 15 calendar days of any fee assessment or permit suspension or revocation, request in writing a hearing with the Board of Selectmen.