Town of Agawam, MA
Hampden County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Council of the Town of Agawam as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Violations and penalties — See Ch. 1.
Fire prevention — See Ch. 106.
[Adopted 2-14-1977]

§ 69-1 Permit required; application.

No person, firm, corporation, company or any other entity shall install any fire alarm system or equipment in any building or other structure within the town without making application to the Building Department in accordance with the provisions of the State Building Code and obtaining a permit therefor. Such application shall be made in the name of the owner, occupant or by the person or company who proposes to make the installation of such fire alarm equipment.

§ 69-2 Approval of installation.

Upon affirmation that the installation will be made in accordance with the National Fire Protection Association No. 74, Standard for Household Fire Warning Equipment and National Fire Protection Association No. 101, Life Safety Code, the head of the Fire Department shall approve such installation.

§ 69-3 Certificate of completion.

The person or persons making the installation of a fire alarm system shall immediately, upon completion of the work, file a certificate of completion as specified in the State Building Code.

§ 69-3.1 Unintentional false alarms; penalties.

[Added 4-6-2015 by TOR-2015-3]
A. 
The following fines and charges shall be imposed upon the property owner for activation of any fire alarm system by error, mistake or malfunction, as the case may be, which results in a response by the Fire Department:
(1) 
Up to four such false alarms may occur in any twelve-month period without the imposition of a penalty.
(2) 
The fifth such false alarm shall result in a fine of $200, and every subsequent false alarm in excess of the above shall result in a fine of $100 per false alarm. In addition, such person shall be responsible for, and shall bear the expense of, responding to any such false alarm. Said expense shall be determined by the Chief of the Fire Department and the Auditor of the Town and billed to the responsible party or parties; provided, however, that no such charges, exclusive of any penalty imposed, shall exceed $500.
B. 
After the third false alarm, a written warning shall be sent to the property owner by the Fire Department.
C. 
After the fourth such false alarm, a written order shall be issued to the property owner requiring that the alarm system be inspected and the Fire Department notified of corrective action taken.
D. 
All fines and expenses shall be paid to the Town of Agawam within 30 days of the date of the bill. Fines and bills unpaid for more than 90 days shall be subject to municipal charges liens as set forth and in accordance with M.G.L. c. 40, § 58.
[Adopted 10-21-1991 by TOR-91-12]

§ 69-4 Purpose and intent.

The purpose of this Article is to provide for the public safety and welfare by setting forth regulations governing burglary and robbery alarm systems, businesses and agents within the town, requiring permits therefor, and providing for punishment of violations of provisions of this Article, and to prevent the erroneous and mistaken use of said alarms. Alarms which are not installed and maintained properly has resulted in increased responses by the Agawam Police Department and is creating a hazard to the members of that Department and to the general public.

§ 69-5 Definitions.

For the purpose of this Article the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
ALARM BUSINESS
To engage in the supplying, installing, maintaining or servicing of burglary or robbery alarm systems.
ALARM SYSTEM
The assembly of equipment, mechanical or electrical, or a device, which is designed or used for the detection of an unauthorized entry into a building, structure or facility or other activity which emits a sound or transmits a signal or message to the Agawam Police Department to which police officers are expected to respond, and where applicable includes fire alarm systems.
ALARM USER
That person whose name appears on the registration form as the user or, if there is no such registration, the owner of the premises to which the Agawam Police Department is expected to respond.
AUDIBLE ALARM
A device, designed for the detection of unauthorized entry on premises, which generates an audible sound on the premises when it is actuated.
DEPARTMENT
The Agawam Police Department.
FALSE ALARM
An alarm signal necessitating response by the Agawam Police Department where an emergency situation does not exist. Such term shall include alarms as follows:
A. 
Error or mistake. Any action by any person, firm or corporation or other entity owning or operating any dwelling, building or place, or any action by any agent or employee of said person, firm or corporation or other entity which results in the activation of an alarm system when no emergency exists.
B. 
Malfunction. Any unintentional activation of any alarm system caused by a flaw in the design, installation or maintenance of the system. This shall not include any activation caused by violent condition of nature or other extraordinary circumstances, not reasonably subject to control of the alarm user.
C. 
Intentional misuse. Any intentional activation of an alarm system when no burglary, holdup or other emergency is in progress.

§ 69-6 Permit required.

No person shall install or operate an alarm system within the Town of Agawam until an application has been filed with the Police Department and a permit authorizing the installation and operation of said alarm system has been issued. The application shall include the name, telephone number and address of the alarm user and at least two other persons who can be reached at any time, day or night, and who shall have access to the alarm system in order to reset the system or disconnect the same when necessary. Permits shall expire on January 1 of every odd-numbered year unless renewed. It shall be the responsibility of each permit holder to notify the Department in writing within 10 days of any change in registration information.

§ 69-7 Control and curtailment of signals emitted by alarms.

Within six months from the effective date of this Article, all alarm systems which use an audible horn, siren or bell shall be equipped with a device which will shut off such horn, siren or bell within 10 minutes after activation of the alarm system.

§ 69-8 Approval of plans; location of components; lock boxes.

A. 
No alarm system shall be installed until the plans and specifications relating to said alarm system have been approved by the Chief of the Department or his designee. The Chief of the Department or his designee shall have the right, at all reasonable times, to inspect any alarm system within his jurisdiction.
B. 
The location of the alarm components shall, when deemed necessary by the Chief of the Department or his designee, be provided on a floor plan to be kept at the site of the alarm system or in a location adjacent to the alarm system panel.
C. 
Prior to issuance of a permit pursuant to these provisions, the permit applicant shall, when deemed necessary by the Chief of the Department or his designee install a lock box in an approved location at the site of the alarm system. Said lock box shall, when deemed necessary by the Chief of the Department or his designee, contain keys to the structure served by the alarm system.

§ 69-9 Response to alarm.

A. 
When an alarm is activated, the Police Department shall respond to the alarm and notify the person or persons listed with the Police Department as having responsibility for securing said alarm system. Said person shall immediately go to the place where the alarm is sounding to meet the police officers, secure the building and reset the alarm.
B. 
Should any person responsible for securing and resetting any alarm system, when notified of its activation, refuse to respond pursuant to this section, the officers on the scene shall check the property thoroughly and secure the location as much as possible. The Police Chief or the Chief's designee, at his or her sole discretion, may require no further response to that building, dwelling or place until such time as said alarm system has been properly reset.
C. 
If any dwelling, building or place is required by law to maintain a burglar alarm system, as herein defined, and if said alarm system fails to function and cannot be returned to service within a reasonable time and if, in the opinion of the Chief of the Department, or his designee, the absence of properly functioning alarm system may pose a threat to life and property, the Chief of the Department or his designee may require the special duty assignment of one or more police officers to patrol the premises until the alarm system has been returned to service. The cost of any special duty assignment shall be the responsibility of the alarm system permit holder.

§ 69-10 Unintentional false alarms; penalties.

A. 
The following fines and charges shall be imposed upon the alarm system permit holder for activation of any alarm system by error, mistake or malfunction, as the case may be, which results in a response by the Police Department:
(1) 
Up to four such false alarms may occur in any calendar year without the imposition of a penalty.
(2) 
The fifth such false alarm shall result in a fine of $25, and every subsequent false alarm in excess of the above shall result in a fine of $25 per false alarm. In addition, such person shall be responsible for and shall bear the expense of responding to any such false alarm. Said expense shall be determined by the Chief of the Department and the Auditor of the town and billed to the responsible party or parties; provided, however, that no such charges, exclusive of any penalty imposed, shall exceed $300.
B. 
After the third false alarm, a written warning shall be sent to the alarm system permit holder.
C. 
After the fourth such false alarm, a written order shall be issued to the alarm system permit holder requiring that the alarm system be inspected and the Department notified of corrective action taken.
D. 
All fines and expenses shall be paid to the Town of Agawam within 30 days of the date of the bill. Fines and bills unpaid for more than 90 days shall be subject to municipal charges liens as set forth and in accordance with MGL C. 40, § 58.

§ 69-11 Intentional false alarms; penalties.

A. 
No person shall knowingly or intentionally activate any alarm system when no emergency exists.
B. 
No person shall knowingly or intentionally test, repair, adjust, alter or perform maintenance on an alarm system or cause the same to be tested, repaired, adjusted, altered or maintained, if such action could result in a false alarm, without first notifying the Department of such test, repair, adjustment, alteration or maintenance and receiving approval for the same. The Department shall be notified immediately upon completion of such test, repair, adjustment, alteration or maintenance. The Chief of the Department may restrict or refuse to permit testing, repair, adjustment, alteration or maintenance of an alarm system if testing, repair, adjustment, alteration or maintenance could result in a false alarm when during a time when the manpower resources of the Department are limited.
C. 
Any person who violates Subsection A or B of this section shall be fined $100 and, where applicable, may additionally be subject to prosecution under the General Laws of the commonwealth for falsely reporting an incident. In addition, such person shall be responsible for and shall bear the expense of responding to any such false alarm. Said expense shall be determined by the Chief of the Department or his designee and the Auditor of the town and billed to the responsible party or parties; provided, however, that no such charge, exclusive of any penalty imposed, shall exceed $300 per response.
D. 
All fines and expenses shall be paid to the Town of Agawam within 30 days of the date of the bill. Fines and bills unpaid for more than 90 days shall be subject to a municipal charges liens as set forth an in accordance with MGL C. 40, § 58.

§ 69-12 Other offenses.

A. 
Failure to obtain a permit for any alarm system shall result in a fine of $100, and all other offenses shall be cumulative.
B. 
Failure to submit to the Police Department proper names and addresses as required in § 69-6 shall result in a fine of $25, and all other offenses shall be cumulative.
C. 
All fines and expenses shall be paid to the Town of Agawam within 30 days of the date of the bill. Fines and bills unpaid for more than 90 days shall be subject to a municipal charges liens as set forth and in accordance with MGL C. 40, § 58.

§ 69-13 Use of exterior audible alarm.

No alarm system which produces an exterior audible signal, bell, siren or horn shall be installed unless its operation is automatically restricted to a maximum of 10 minutes' automatic reset for a residential facility and 10 minutes' automatic reset for a business facility. Any exterior audible alarm system in use as of the effective date of this Article must comply with this section within six months of such date.

§ 69-14 Hearings.

Any person receiving an order or notice of violation pursuant to this Article may contest said order or notice at a hearing before the Police Commissioner. All demands for a hearing must be made in writing and delivered in person or by mail no later than 10 days following receipt of the order or notice of violation. Any person requesting a hearing shall be given written notice of the date, time and place of the hearing. Such hearing shall be held no less than 15 days nor more than 30 days from the date of the mailing of the notice, provided that the Police Commissioner shall grant, upon good cause shown, any reasonable request by any interested party for a postponement or continuance. The presence of the issuing officer shall be required at the hearing if such person so requests. A person wishing to contest an order or notice of violation shall appear at the hearing and shall have the right to represent evidence and cross-examine witnesses. The Police Commission shall conduct the hearing in a manner that he or she deems fair and appropriate. The rules regarding the admissibility of evidence shall not be strictly applied, but all testimony shall be given under oath or affirmation. The Police Commission shall announce its decision within five days of the completion of the hearing.

§ 69-15 Exemptions.

The provisions of this Article are not applicable to audible alarms affixed to automobiles or affixed to municipal, state and federal buildings.

§ 69-16 Disclaimer of town's responsibility.

Notwithstanding the provisions of this Article, the town, its departments, officers, agents and employees shall be under no obligation whatsoever concerning the adequacy, operation or maintenance of any alarm device. No liability whatsoever is assumed for the failure of such alarm devices or monitoring facilities or for the failure to respond to alarms.