Town of Westminster, MA
Worcester County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Annual Town Meeting 5-1-2007 by Art. 34. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Alarm systems — See Ch. 67.
Buildings and land — See Ch. 81.
Rapid entry systems — See Ch. 148.

§ 100-1 Purpose.

To provide adequate radio communications for the safety of firefighters who enter buildings greater than 12,000 square feet during emergency situations.

§ 100-2 Emergency communications ability required.

No building permit shall be issued for a) construction of a new building or structure containing a floor area equal to or greater than 12,000 square feet, b) substantial renovation or alteration of an existing building containing 12,000 square feet or more, or which, after such renovation or alteration, will contain 12,000 square feet or more, unless such construction, renovation, or alteration shall provide for "public emergency radio communication" as required hereunder. For purposes of this bylaw, "public emergency radio communication" shall provide the unimpeded ability for emergency responders to communicate with each other over public emergency radio frequencies from any point within the building to any other point within the building, and from any point within the building to any exterior area of the building within 200 feet of the building.

§ 100-3 Building permit review.

As a part of and in addition to any existing Fire Department building permit application review, all building permit applications for structures that are or will be required to comply with the obligation to provide "public emergency radio communication" in accordance with § 100-2, above shall undergo a review by the Fire Department to determine whether the design and construction materials, as proposed, are consistent with the obligation to provide unimpeded communications between and among emergency responders in accordance with § 100-2, above. Should the Fire Department have cause to believe that there is a likelihood that such design or construction materials may be inconsistent with the obligation to provide such unimpeded communications between and among emergency responders, the applicant shall be required to engage an independent radio engineer, acceptable to the Fire Department, at the applicant's sole and exclusive expense, to provide a written evaluation addressed to the Fire Department, based upon commonly accepted engineering standards, of the likelihood that the building design and construction materials, as proposed, will provide unimpeded communication between and among emergency responders, in accordance with § 100-2, above. In addition, such report shall contain recommendations for changes or modifications to the building design or construction materials in order to ensure such unimpeded communications. Prior to Fire Department approval of any such building permit application, the application shall incorporate any and all changes or modifications to the building design and/or construction materials as recommended by such independent radio engineer.

§ 100-4 Existing buildings.

Existing buildings shall be required to comply with this bylaw if they undergo substantial renovations or alterations as defined in the State Building Code.

§ 100-5 New construction.

All new construction, regardless of use or occupancy, over 12,000 square feet shall comply with this bylaw.

§ 100-6 Equipment.

A. 
Any "public emergency radio communication system" installed in accordance with this bylaw shall comply with all applicable rules and regulations, as amended from time to time, issued by the Federal Communication Commission, or of any other local, state, or federal agency having jurisdiction over such communication systems. The design of such system must be occupancy-based, and must be engineered and designed taking into account the machinery and equipment to be used by the occupant(s) of such building.
B. 
Any such communications system that requires a power source shall have a battery backup power source that provides power for no less than two hours without an external power source. All "public emergency radio communication systems" must be powered from circuits that are separate and distinct and not subject to being tripped by other equipment. All power cords to devices in the system must be restrained in a manner acceptable to the Fire Department to prevent accidental or easy removal. All equipment must be installed by licensed vendors who have secured the necessary permits and all such installation shall meet applicable sections of the National Electrical Code, as amended from time to time.
C. 
All power-sourced equipment shall be protected from access thereto and shall contain such safeguards as are acceptable to the Fire Department to prevent such equipment from being accidentally turned off. Any cabinet used for emergency radio equipment must be locked, and such cabinets or equipment used for emergency radio communication shall be marked "Authorized Personnel Only." The applicant shall supply a copy of the key to any such equipment cabinet and a key to any room where equipment is stored. Such keys shall be kept in the building's lock box.
D. 
Any system installed in accordance with this bylaw shall provide an audible device and white strobe light, both of which shall be activated by the failure of the system. Any amplifier equipment powering the audible device shall have a monitoring system that monitors amplifier operation and primary power. The system may permit the audible signal to be silenced during a failure, but such system shall not permit the strobe light to be turned off during a failure and it shall remain illuminated at all times until the fault has been corrected. The strobe light shall be located in an accessible location authorized by the Fire Department. The applicant shall cause a sign to be located at the strobe light with the name and telephone number of the equipment maintenance contractor. The Fire Department must be notified of any failures that extend past the two-hour time limit.
E. 
No secondary usage of any emergency radio equipment shall be permitted without written approval of the Fire Department. Such secondary usage shall not interfere with or degrade the operational ability of the system. To the extent that such secondary use interferes with or degrades the operation of the system for the public safety purposes set forth in this bylaw, such use shall cease immediately regardless of any approval that may have been granted by the Fire Department.

§ 100-7 Compliance testing.

Prior to the Fire Department approval of a request for an occupancy permit for any building requiring a "public emergency radio communication system" in accordance with § 100-2, above, the Fire Department shall test the system for compliance with the requirements of this bylaw. Such compliance testing shall be done upon completion of construction and prior to occupancy using then-existing equipment in use by the Town. No occupancy certificate shall be issued until and unless the system is tested and determined to be in compliance with the requirements of this bylaw.

§ 100-8 Annual testing.

The Fire Department shall conduct annual compliance testing of all "public emergency radio communication systems" installed in accordance with this bylaw. Any system requiring battery backup shall be tested for no less than one hour to verify that it will operate during an actual power outage. The Fire Department shall provide written notice to the building owner of any noncompliance of such system with the requirements of this bylaw, as amended from time to time. Any such noncompliance shall be fully remedied to the satisfaction of the Fire Department within 30 days of such notice. Upon request of the Fire Department, the building owner shall provide a written report from an independent radio engineer, acceptable to the Fire Department, at the applicant's sole and exclusive expense, to provide a written evaluation addressed to the Fire Department, based upon commonly accepted engineering standards, that the proposed remedy will bring the system into compliance with the requirements of this bylaw.

§ 100-9 Modifications.

No modifications to "public emergency radio communication systems" shall be made without the prior written authorization of the Fire Department. Upon completion of any such approved modifications, a performance test shall be conducted by the Fire Department in addition to any yearly performance test.

§ 100-10 Change of service contract.

The owner of the building must notify the Fire Department with regard to any change to its emergency radio equipment maintenance contract.

§ 100-11 Emergency radio system operation.

All engineer emergency radio system operation requirements must work based on occupancy. Any designed system for communication must take into consideration potential occupant machinery, equipment, storage, etc.

§ 100-12 Responsibility for maintenance.

A. 
The building owner shall be solely responsible for maintaining the "public emergency radio communication system" and assuring its compliance with the requirements of this bylaw. The owner shall maintain a contract with a qualified radio service contractor for all systems that require power, which contract shall provide for next-day service for such systems.
B. 
To the extent that the owner fails to maintain such systems and/or to ensure compliance of such systems with this bylaw, the Town may, after due notice, undertake such repairs to bring such system into compliance with the requirements of this bylaw. Any costs incurred by the Town in bringing such systems into compliance with this bylaw shall constitute a municipal lien against such real property.

§ 100-13 Violations and penalties.

[Amended ATM 5-3-2008 by Art. 36]
Any person violating any provision of this chapter shall be fined not more than $300 for each offense.