Town of Bethel, CT
Fairfield County
By using eCode360 you agree to be legally bound by the Terms of Use. If you do not agree to the Terms of Use, please do not use eCode360.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Selectmen of the Town of Bethel as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 7-18-1987[1]]
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance was originally designated as Ch. 48 but was included as Ch. 35, Art. I, to maintain the alphabetical sequence of the Code.

§ 35-1 Purpose; intent.

The purpose of this article is to provide for the public safety and welfare by reducing the number of false alarms, providing for the effective deployment of Fire Department personnel, reducing the hazard to the public and members of the Fire Department which occurs during responses to false alarms and promoting responsible use of fire alarm devices.

§ 35-2 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 fire alarm devices or systems.
ALARM SYSTEM
The assembly of equipment, mechanical or electrical, arranged to transmit a signal to the Department of the occurrence of a fire emergency to which fire fighters are expected to respond.
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 Bethel Fire Departments are expected to respond.
AUTOMATIC DIALING DEVICE
Any alarm system which automatically sends, over regular telephone lines, by direct connection or otherwise, a prerecorded voice message or coded signal indicating the existence of a fire emergency.
DEPARTMENT
The Bethel Fire Department or Stony Hill Fire Department.
FALSE ALARM
The activation of any alarm system through mechanical failure, malfunction, improper installation or the negligence of the owner or lessee of an alarm system or of his guests, employees or agents. Such terminology does not include alarms caused by hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes or violent conditions. "False alarms," as defined in this article, do not include those alarms which are transmitted with criminal, malicious or mischievous intent.

§ 35-3 Permit required; fee.

No person shall install or operate an alarm system within the Town of Bethel until an application has been filed with the 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 who shall have access to the alarm system in order to reset the system or disconnect the same when necessary. A fee of $70 shall be paid to the Town of Bethel upon filing of the application. Permits shall expire on January 1 of every odd-numbered year unless renewed. Renewal permits shall be issued after payment of a renewal fee of $10. It shall be the responsibility of each permit holder to notify the Department in writing within 10 days of any change in registration information.

§ 35-4 General requirements.

A. 
No alarm system shall be installed until the plans and specifications relating to said alarm system have been approved by the Fire Marshal. The Fire Marshal shall have the right, at all reasonable times, to inspect any alarm system within his jurisdiction.
B. 
The location of the alarm system components shall, when deemed necessary by the Fire Marshal, 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 the provisions of § 35-3, the permit applicant shall, when deemed necessary by the Fire Marshal, install a lock box in an approved location at the site of the alarm system. Said lock box shall, when deemed necessary by the Fire Marshal, contain keys to the structure served by the alarm system. In addition, the lock box shall contain a list of all hazardous substances present on the site in significant quantities. As used herein, the phrases "hazardous substances" and "significant quantities" shall be defined in accordance with the provisions of the Department of Environmental Protection.

§ 35-5 Response to alarm.

A. 
When an alarm system is activated, the Department shall respond to the alarm and notify the person or persons listed in the registration form as having responsibility for securing said alarm system. Said person shall immediately go to the place where the alarm is sounding to meet the fire 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 Department shall not be required to make any 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 fire 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, the absence of properly functioning alarm system may pose a threat to life and property, the Chief of the Department may require the special duty assignment of one or more fire fighters 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.

§ 35-6 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:
(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 and every subsequent false fire alarm during any calendar year shall result in a fine of $75 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 Comptroller of the Town of Bethel and billed to the responsible party or parties; provided, however, that no such charges, exclusive of any penalty imposed, shall exceed $100.
B. 
After the second false alarm, a registered written warning shall be sent to the alarm system permit holder.
C. 
After the third such false alarm, a written order shall be issued to the alarm system permit holder requiring that the alarm system be inspected and the Fire Marshal notified of corrective action taken.

§ 35-7 Intentional false alarms; penalties.

A. 
No person shall knowingly or intentionally activate any alarm system when no fire 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 Fire Marshal of such test, repair, adjustment, alteration or maintenance and receiving approval for the same. The Fire Marshal shall be notified immediately upon completion of such test, repair, adjustment, alteration or maintenance. The Fire Marshal may restrict or refuse to permit the testing, repair, adjustment, alteration or maintenance of an alarm system if testing, repair, adjustment, alteration or maintenance could result in a false alarm when such restriction or refusal is necessary due to manpower limitations.
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 Connecticut General Statutes 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 and the Comptroller of the Town of Bethel and billed to the responsible party or parties; provided, however, that no such charge, exclusive of any penalty imposed, shall exceed $100 per response.

§ 35-8 Hearings.

Any person receiving an order or notice of violation pursuant to the provisions of this article may contest said order or notice at a hearing before the Fire Marshal. 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 Fire Marshal 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 present evidence and cross-examine witnesses. A designated Town official, other than the Fire Marshal, may present evidence on behalf of the Town. The Fire Marshal shall conduct the hearing with such methods of proof as 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 Fire Marshal shall announce his or her decision at the end of the hearing.

§ 35-9 Failure to pay fines; action by Fire Marshal.

If any person fails to pay, within 30 days, any fine or charge imposed under § 35-6 or 35-7 or if any person shall fail, within 60 days of the effective date hereof, to obtain a permit for any alarm system in service on said effective date or if any person shall fail to renew any permit previously obtained, it shall be the right of the Fire Marshal to remove the alarm from the dispatch panel or other communication console 15 days after notification by registered letter to the permit holder. Interest shall accrue at the rate of 1.5% per month on all fines and charges outstanding for periods in excess of 30 days.

§ 35-10 Use of exterior audible alarm.

Unless required by law, no alarm system which produces an exterior audible signal shall be installed unless its operation is automatically restricted to a maximum of 30 minutes. Any exterior audible alarm system in use as of the effective date of the Article must comply with this section within 120 days of such date.

§ 35-11 Automatic dialing devices.

The Department shall establish and monitor a special telephone line for receipt of signals from automatic dialing devices. In addition to the requirements imposed upon alarm system permit holders pursuant to the provisions of this article, such automatic dialing device shall, within 90 days of the effective date hereof, meet the following minimum standards:
A. 
Messages transmitted:
(1) 
The contents of a recorded message to be transmitted by such device shall be intelligible and in a format approved by the Fire Marshal.
(2) 
Upon a single stimulus of the alarm system, an automatic dialing device may place a maximum of two separate calls to the Department. No such calls shall be longer than 15 seconds in duration. There shall be at least three minutes but not more than five minutes between completion of the first call and the initiation of the second, and the second call shall be clearly identified as a second call.
B. 
Transmission to alternate locations: All such automatic dialing devices shall also transmit an emergency to at least one other location where an authorized person is available to respond to the emergency message and to secure the premises in which the alarm system is installed.

§ 35-12 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 or alarm monitoring facilities. No liability whatsoever is assumed for the failure of such alarm devices or monitoring facilities or for the failure to respond to alarms or any other act or omission in connection with such alarm devices.
[Adopted 7-18-1987[1]]
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance was originally designated as Ch. 49 but was included as Ch. 35, Art. II, to maintain the alphabetical sequence of the Code.

§ 35-13 Purpose; 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, establishing fees and providing for punishment of violations of provisions of this article.

§ 35-14 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, which emits a sound or transmits a signal or message to the Bethel Police Department to which police officers are expected to respond.
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 Bethel 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 Bethel Police Department.
FALSE ALARM
An alarm signal necessitating response by the Bethel Police Department where an emergency situation does not exist. Such term shall not include alarms caused by hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes or other violent conditions. "False alarms," as defined in this article, do not include those alarms which are transmitted with criminal, malicious or mischievous intent.

§ 35-15 Permit required; fee.

No person shall install or operate an alarm system within the Town of Bethel until an application has been filed with the 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 who shall have access to the alarm system in order to reset the system or disconnect the same when necessary. A fee of $70 shall be paid to the Town of Bethel upon filing of the application. Permits shall expire on January 1 of every odd-numbered year unless renewed. Renewal permits shall be issued after payment of a renewal fee of $10. It shall be the responsibility of each permit holder to notify the Department in writing within 10 days of any change in registration information.

§ 35-16 General requirements.

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. The Chief of the Department 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, 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 the provisions of § 35-15, the permit applicant shall, when deemed necessary by the Chief of the Department, 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, contain keys to the structure served by the alarm system.

§ 35-17 Response to alarm.

A. 
When an alarm system is activated, the Police Department shall respond to the alarm and notify the person or persons listed in the registration form 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 Department shall not be required to make any 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, the absence of properly functioning alarm system may pose a threat to life and property, the Chief of the Department 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.

§ 35-18 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 $50, and every subsequent false alarm in excess of the above shall result in a fine of $75 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 Comptroller of the Town of Bethel and billed to the responsible party or parties; provided, however, that no such charges, exclusive of any penalty imposed, shall exceed $100.
B. 
After the second false alarm, a registered written warning shall be sent to the alarm system permit holder.
C. 
After the third 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.

§ 35-19 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 Connecticut General Statutes 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 and the Comptroller of the Town of Bethel and billed to the responsible party or parties; provided, however, that no such charge, exclusive of any penalty imposed, shall exceed $100 per response.

§ 35-20 Hearings.

Any person receiving an order or notice of violation pursuant to the provisions of this article may contest said order or notice at a hearing before the Chief of the Department. 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 Chief of the Department 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 present evidence and cross-examine witnesses. A designated Town official, other than the Chief of the Department, may present evidence on behalf of the Town. The Chief of the Department 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 Chief of the Department shall announce his or her decision within five days of the completion of the hearing.

§ 35-21 Failure to pay fines, action by Fire Marshal.

If any person fails to pay, within 30 days, any fine or charge imposed under § 35-18 or 35-19 or if any person shall fail, within 60 days of the effective date hereof, to obtain a permit for any alarm system in service on said effective date or if any person shall fail to renew any permit previously obtained, it shall be the right of the Chief of the Department to remove the alarm from the dispatch panel or other communication console 15 days after notification by registered letter to the permit holder. Interest shall accrue at the rate of 1.5% per month on all fines and charges outstanding for periods in excess of 30 days.

§ 35-22 Use of exterior audible alarm.

Unless required by law, no alarm system which produces an exterior audible signal shall be installed unless its operation is automatically restricted to a maximum of 15 minutes' automatic reset for a residential facility and 30 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 120 days of such date.

§ 35-23 Automatic dialing devices.

The Department shall establish and monitor a special telephone line for receipt of signals from automatic dialing devices. In addition to the requirements imposed upon alarm system permit holders pursuant to the provisions of this article, such automatic dialing device shall, within 90 days of the effective date hereof, meet the following minimum standards:
A. 
Messages terminated:
(1) 
The contents of a recorded message to be transmitted by such device shall be intelligible and in a format approved by the Chief of the Department.
(2) 
Upon a single stimulus of the alarm system, an automatic dialing device may place two separate calls. No such call shall be longer than 15 seconds in duration. There shall be at least three minutes but not more than five minutes between completion of the first call and the initiation of the second, and the second call must be clearly identified as a second call.
B. 
Transmission to alternate locations: All such automatic dialing devices shall also transmit an emergency to at least one other location where an authorized person is available to respond to the emergency message and to secure the premises in which the alarm system is installed.

§ 35-24 Exemptions.

The provisions of this article are not applicable to audible alarms affixed to automobiles.

§ 35-25 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 or alarm monitoring facilities. No liability whatsoever is assumed for the failure of such alarm devices or monitoring facilities or for the failure to respond to alarms.