Town of Abington, MA
Plymouth County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town of Abington 4-6-2009 ATM by Art. 12. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Fire prevention — See Ch. 75.

§ 69-1 Preamble.

Whereas, there has been an increase in recent years in the use of fire alarm systems which operate by way of a master box;
Whereas, improper installation, defective equipment, lack of maintenance or other reasons cause fire alarm systems to malfunction;
Whereas, in addition to the financial cost, each malfunction requires that Abington Fire Department personnel respond, thus decreasing the number of Abington Fire Department personnel available to respond to an actual fire;
Whereas, the Abington Fire Departments' responding to fire alarm malfunctions jeopardizes the safety of firefighters as well as the general public;
Now, therefore, be it ordered to be in the public interest as follows.

§ 69-2 Title.

The Town of Abington Bylaws are hereby amended by adding the following Bylaw to be entitled "Fire Alarm Systems."

§ 69-3 Definitions.

When used in this Bylaw, unless a contrary intention clearly appears, the following words shall have the following meanings:
FIRE ALARM SYSTEM
Any heat-activated, smoke-activated, flame-energy-activated or other such automatic device capable of transmitting a fire signal directly to the Abington Fire Department by way of a master box or central station.
FIRE ALARM SYSTEM MALFUNCTION
The transmittal of a fire alarm directly to the Abington Fire Department by way of a master box or central station, which alarm is caused by improper installation of a fire alarm system, a mechanically defective fire alarm system, lack of maintenance or other reasons that cause a fire alarm to sound even though there is no actual fire or situation that reasonably could evolve into a fire.
FIRE ALARM SYSTEM OWNER
An individual or entity who owns the title to and/or has on his/her business or residential premise or premises a fire alarm system equipped to send a fire alarm signal to a central station operating company or directly to the Abington Fire Department.
FIRE CHIEF
The Chief of the Abington Fire Department.
MASTER BOX
A fire alarm control device equipped to send a fire alarm signal directly to the Abington Fire Department or its designee by way of radio frequency connection for the purpose of manually or automatically reporting a fire alarm or other emergency request for assistance; provided, however, that the definition of master box shall include a fire alarm control device sending such a fire alarm signal by way of a telegraph connection until January 1, 2015.
[Added 4-2-2012 ATM by Art. 15B]
MASTER BOX OWNER
An individual or entity who has on his/her business or residential premises a fire alarm system equipped to send a fire alarm signal directly to the Abington Fire Department by way of a master box.
PROTECTED PREMISES
Any property that has a fire alarm system that is connected to a master box or central station that reports to the Fire Department any alarms or signals from that premises.

§ 69-4 Connection of fire alarm system to Abington Fire Department by way of master box.

A. 
Every master box owner whose protected premises on the effective date of this Bylaw is connected to the Abington Fire Department by way of a master box shall pay the following fees for each master box:
Annual fee
$100
B. 
Every master box owner whose protected premises is connected after the effective date of this Bylaw to the Abington Fire Department by way of a master box shall pay the following fees for each master box:
Permit fee (single charge)
$25
Connection fee (single charge)
$200
Annual fee
$100
C. 
Before any fire alarm system is connected to the Abington Fire Department, the master box owner shall provide the Fire Chief the following information:
(1) 
The name, address and home and work telephone numbers of the master box owners.
(2) 
The street address where the master box is located.
(3) 
The names, addresses and telephone numbers of at least two other persons other than the master box owner who can be contacted 24 hours a day, who are authorized by the master box owner to respond to an alarm signal and who have access to the premises in which the master box is located; and
(4) 
Any other information pertaining to the fire alarm system as the Fire Chief may require.
D. 
If at the passage of this Bylaw, a fire alarm system has already been connected to the Abington Fire Department by way of a master box, the owner shall comply with the requirements of this section within 60 days after the Abington Fire Department has sent him/her notice by first-class mail of the requirements of this section.
E. 
If a master box owner fails to comply with this section, the Fire Chief may assess a fine of $50 for each day of noncompliance.

§ 69-5 Updating information.

A. 
Every master box owner shall be responsible for updating the information herein required to be provided to the Fire Chief. If the information changes, the master box owner shall provide the Fire Chief with the updated information and shall pay the fees, if any, required by this Bylaw.
B. 
If a master box owner fails to comply with this section, the Fire Chief may assess a fine of $50.

§ 69-6 Fire alarm system malfunctions; fines.

If there is a fire alarm malfunction as defined herein, the Fire Chief may assess a fine against the fire alarm system owner for each protected premises and for each such malfunction per fiscal year according to the following schedule:
A. 
First through third malfunction: no charge.
Upon recording of the third alarm by the Fire Department, the Fire Chief shall notify the owner of the building, in writing, and by certified mail, of such fact and at this time inform the owner of the Department policy with regards to charging for false alarms.
Fourth through the sixth malfunction: $100.
Seventh through the 11th malfunction: $250.
Each malfunction after the 11th: $500.
B. 
Private fire alarm systems connected to the Abington Fire Department by other automatic means or through a central station system shall be subject to the above conditions.
C. 
Any fire alarm system malfunction which is the result of the failure of the property owner, occupant or their agents to notify the Abington Fire Department of repair, maintenance or testing of the internal fire alarm system within the protected premises shall cause a penalty to be assessed in accordance with Subsection A above.
D. 
For the purpose of this regulation, a fire alarm system malfunction may consist of but not be limited to:
(1) 
The operation of a faulty smoke or heat detection device.
(2) 
Faulty control panel or associated equipment.
(3) 
An action, malicious or intentional, by an employee of the owner, or occupant of the protected premises, or a contractor employed by the owner or the occupant, causing a non-fire-related activation of the internal fire alarm system.
E. 
Property owners shall be billed once a month for the previous month's malfunction activity. All fines assessed shall be paid to the Town Treasurer for deposit into the Fire Alarm Revolving Account.
F. 
If a bill is not paid within 30 days, a second notice will be sent. If the bill is not paid after 60 days, a final notice will be sent and/or occupant that the master box will be disconnected and the building owner notified.

§ 69-7 Appeal procedure.

A. 
Any fire alarm system owner who is aggrieved by an action taken by the Fire Chief under this Bylaw may, within 10 days of such action, file an appeal, in writing, to the Town Manager of the Town of Abington. After notice, the Town Manager shall hold a hearing, after which it shall issue a decision in which it affirms, annuls or modifies the action taken by the Fire Chief, giving its reason therefor.
B. 
The Town Manager shall send its decision to the owner by first-class mail within 10 days after the hearing. The decision of the Town Manager shall be a final administrative decision. The owner shall have 30 days from the date of the written decision to seek judicial review in the District Court of Plymouth County.

§ 69-8 Deposit in fire alarm system account.

All fines and fees assessed herein shall be payable to the Town of Abington for deposit in the Fire Alarm Revolving Account, with said fees being appropriated to maintain and upgrade the fire alarm system.

§ 69-9 Severability.

The provisions of this Bylaw shall be deemed to be severable, and if any of its provisions shall be held unconstitutional by any court of competent jurisdiction, the decision of such court shall not affect or impair any of the remaining provisions.

§ 69-10 Regulations and enforcement.

The Fire Chief may promulgate such regulations as may be necessary to implement this Bylaw. The Fire Chief is authorized to pursue legal action as may be necessary to enforce this Bylaw.