[HISTORY: Adopted by the Council of the Borough of Fair Lawn 10-16-2012 by Ord. No. 2253-2012.Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES053a Customer Prev Chklst
Fire Department — See Ch. 13.
Police Department — See Ch. 33.
Fire prevention — See Ch. 104.
Editor's Note: This ordinance also repealed former Ch. 53, Alarms, adopted 12-19-2000 by Ord. No. 1832-2000.
The purpose of this chapter is to encourage alarm users to properly use and maintain the operational effectiveness of alarm systems in order to improve the reliability of alarm systems and significantly reduce or eliminate false alarms.
This chapter governs alarm systems intended to summon the Police Department/Fire Department and other municipal agencies response, and requires permits, establishes fees and fines, provides for penalties for violations and establishes a system of administration.
Responsibility for administration of this section is vested with the Chief of Police or designee.
The Chief of Police shall designate an alarm administrator to carry out the duties and functions described in this section.
The alarm administrator shall conduct periodic evaluation and analysis of the effectiveness of this chapter and identify and implement system improvements as warranted
In this chapter, the following terms and phrases shall have the following meanings:
- ALARM ADMINISTRATOR
- A person or persons designated by the Chief of Police to administer the provisions of this chapter.
- ALARM DISPATCH REQUEST
- A notification to the Police Department/Fire Department or other municipal agency that an alarm, either manual or automatic, has been activated at a particular alarm site.
- ALARM INSTALLATION COMPANY
- A person in the business of selling, providing, maintaining, servicing, repairing, altering, replacing, moving or installing an alarm system in an alarm site. This definition shall also include individuals or firms that install and service the alarm systems that will be used in their private or proprietary facilities. This does not include persons doing installation or repair work where such work is performed without compensation of any kind (i.e., do-it-yourselfers).
- ALARM REGISTRATION
- Authorization granted by the alarm administrator to an alarm user to operate an alarm system. For purposes of this chapter, an alarm is considered registered when either the Police Department or Building Department (as part of the CCO requirements) has received a copy of the Fair Lawn Police Department's alarm registration. This form is to be used for the initial registration and any updates as they occur. An alarm will be considered not registered if the registration contact form is not up-to-date and on file with the Borough.
- ALARM SITE
- A location served by one or more alarm systems. In a multiunit building or complex, each unit shall be considered a separate alarm site if served by a separate alarm system. In a single-unit building that houses two or more separate businesses with separate alarm systems, each business will be considered a separate alarm site.
- ALARM SYSTEM
- A device or series of devices which emit or transmit an audible or remote visual or electronic alarm signal, which is intended to summon Police/Fire/or other municipal agency response. The term includes hardwired systems and systems interconnected with a radio frequency method such as cellular or private radio signals, and includes local alarm systems, but does not include an alarm installed in a motor vehicle, on one's person or a system which will not emit a signal either audible or visible from the outside of the building, residence or beyond, but is designed solely to alert the occupants of a building or residence.
- ALARM USER
- Any person who has contracted for monitoring, repair, installation or maintenance service for an alarm system from an alarm installation company or monitoring company, or who owns or operates an alarm system which is not monitored, maintained or repaired under agreement.
- AUTOMATIC VOICE DIALER or DIGITAL ALARM
- Any electronic, mechanical, or other device which, when activated, is capable of being programmed to send a prerecorded voice or alarm message to the Police Department/Fire and other municipal agencies requesting a Police/Fire/EMS dispatch to an alarm site.
- BURGLAR ALARM
- An alarm intended to identify the presence of an intruder in either a business or residence.
- The termination of a Police/Fire/EMS response to an alarm site after dispatch request is made but before an officer/firefighter/EMS has arrived at the alarm site.
- CONVERSION OF ALARM USER
- The transaction or process by which one alarm installation company or monitoring company begins the servicing or monitoring of a previously unmonitored alarm system or an alarm system that was previously serviced or monitored by another alarm company.
- CUSTOMER FALSE ALARM PREVENTION CHECKLIST
- A check-off list provided by the alarm administrator to the alarm installer to provide to the alarm user to complete prior to the activation of an alarm system.
- The Fair Lawn Ambulance Corps.
- FALSE ALARM
- An alarm dispatch request to the Police/Fire/EMS Department, which results in the responding officer/firefighter finding no evidence of a criminal offense, attempted criminal offense, water, fire, or smoke condition after completing an investigation of the alarm site.
- FIRE or FIRE DEPARTMENT
- The Fair Lawn Fire Department.
- HOLDUP ALARM
- A silent alarm signal generated by the manual activation of a device intended to signal a robbery in progress or immediately after it has occurred.
- LAW ENFORCEMENT AUTHORITY
- The Chief of Police or other authorized representative of a law enforcement agency.
- LOCAL ALARM SYSTEM
- An unmonitored alarm system that annunciates an alarm only at the alarm site.
- The process by which a monitoring company receives signals from an alarm system and relays an alarm dispatch request to the Police/Fire Department.
- MONITORING COMPANY
- A person in the business of providing monitoring services.
- PANIC ALARM
- An alarm system signal generated by the manual activation of a device intended to signal a life-threatening or emergency situation requiring an officer's response.
- An individual, corporation, partnership, association, organization or similar entity.
- POLICE or POLICE DEPARTMENT
- The Fair Lawn Police Department.
- RESPONSIBLE PARTY
- A person capable of appearing at the alarm site upon request who has access to the alarm site, the code to the alarm system and the authority to approve repairs to the alarm system.
- SIA CONTROL PANEL STANDARD CP-01
- The ANSI (American National Standard Institute)-approved Security Industry Association (SIA) CP-01 Control Panel Standard, as may be updated from time to time, that details recommended design features for security system control panels and their associated arming and disarming devices to reduce the incidence of false alarms. Control panels built and tested to this standard by Underwriters Laboratory (UL), or other nationally recognized testing organizations, will be marked to state: "Design evaluated in accordance with SIA CP-01 Control Panel Standard Features for false alarm reduction."
- SUSPENSION OF RESPONSE
- The termination of Police response only to alarms at a specified alarm site as a result of false alarms or other violation of the Alarm Ordinance. This will not apply to fire or ems alarm activations.
- The transaction or process by which an alarm user takes over control of an existing alarm system, which was previously controlled by another alarm user.
- UNREGISTERED ALARM SITE
- A site that has not complied with the registration requirements as defined in the Alarm Ordinance.
No alarm user shall operate, or cause to be operated, an alarm system at its alarm site without a valid alarm registration. A separate alarm registration is required for each alarm site.
The fee for an alarm permit or an alarm permit renewal is set forth below and shall be paid by the alarm user. No refund of a permit fee or permit renewal fee will be made. The initial alarm permit fee must be submitted to the alarm administrator within 20 days after the alarm system installation or alarm system takeover.
Upon receipt of a completed alarm registration application form, the alarm administrator shall register the applicant unless the applicant has:
Had an alarm registration for the alarm site suspended and the violation causing the suspension has not been corrected; or
The alarm installation company and/or the monitoring company listed on the permit application are not listed as having a valid alarm license issued by the State of New Jersey, if so required.
Each alarm registration application must include the following information:
The name, complete address (including apartment/suite number), and telephone numbers of the person who will be the permit holder and be responsible for the proper maintenance and operation of the alarm system and payment of fees assessed under this chapter;
The classification of the alarm site as either residential (includes apartment, condominium, mobile home, etc.) or commercial;
For each alarm system located at the alarm site, the classification of the alarm system (i.e., burglary, holdup, duress, panic alarms, EMS, water, fire, smoke, or other) and for each classification whether such alarm is audible or silent;
Mailing address, if different from the address of the alarm site;
Any dangerous or special conditions present at the alarm site;
Type of business conducted at a commercial alarm site;
Signed certification from the alarm user stating the following:
The date of installation, conversion or takeover of the alarm system, whichever is applicable;
The name, address, and telephone number of the alarm installation company or companies performing the alarm system installation, conversion, or takeover and of the alarm installation company responsible for providing repair service to the alarm system;
The name, address, and telephone number of the monitoring company if different from the alarm installation company;
That a set of written operating instructions for the alarm system, including written guidelines on how to avoid false alarms, have been left with the applicant by the alarm installation company; and
That the alarm installation company has trained the applicant in proper use of the alarm system, including instructions on how to avoid false alarms.
An acknowledgement that the Police/Fire/EMS response may be influenced by factors including, but not limited to, the availability of officers/firefighters, EMTs, priority of calls, weather conditions, traffic conditions, emergency conditions and staffing levels.
Any false statement of a material fact made by an applicant for the purpose of obtaining an alarm registration shall be sufficient cause for refusal to issue a permit.
An alarm registration cannot be transferred to another person or alarm site. An alarm user shall inform the alarm administrator of any change that alters any of the information listed on the alarm permit application within five business days of such change.
All fines owed by an applicant must be paid before an alarm permit may be issued or renewed.
Government entities, including but not necessarily limited to the Borough of Fair Lawn, New Jersey, and the Fair Lawn Board of Education, must obtain permits for all alarm systems under their control, but are exempt from the payment of fines. Government entities are subject to all other applicable ordinance requirements.
An alarm registration shall expire one year from the date of issuance, and must be renewed annually by submitting an updated application to the alarm administrator. It is the responsibility of the alarm user to submit an application prior to the permit expiration date. Failure to renew will be classified as use of a nonregistered alarm system, and penalties shall be assessed without waiver.
An alarm user shall:
Maintain the alarm site and the alarm system in a manner that will minimize or eliminate false alarms;
Provide the monitoring company with updated names and telephone numbers of at least two individuals who are able and have agreed to:
Not activate an alarm system for any reason other than an occurrence of an event, that the alarm system was intended to report.
After the effective date of this chapter, it is a violation for any person to operate an alarm system in the Borough of Fair Lawn, New Jersey that has a siren, bell or other signal that is audible from any property adjacent to the alarm site that sounds for longer than 10 consecutive minutes after the alarm is activated, or that repeats the ten-minute audible cycle more than two consecutive times during a single armed period. The Borough, through the use of any means necessary if the alarm does not shut off as described above may disconnect audible alarm systems. The Borough or its employees or agents shall not be responsible or liable for damage resulting from such disconnection.
An alarm user shall maintain at each alarm site a set of written operating instructions for each alarm system.
All alarm users shall agree with their alarm installation company and/or monitoring company to go through an acclimation period for the first seven days after installation of an alarm system during which time the alarm installation company and/or monitoring company will have no obligation to and will not respond to any alarm signal from the alarm site, excluding panic, duress, smoke, fire, medical and holdup signals, and will not make an alarm dispatch request to law enforcement/Fire Department, even if the alarm signal is the result of an actual alarm event. This period may be waived by the alarm user.
Alarm installation companies shall:
Upon the installation or activation of an alarm system, the alarm installation company shall distribute to the alarm user information summarizing:
After the effective date of this chapter, alarm installation companies shall not install, modify or repair single-action devices for the activation of holdup, robbery or panic alarms. New devices shall require two actions or an activation delay to provide more positive assurance that the user intends to activate the device.
Sixty days after the effective date of this chapter, an alarm installation company shall, on new installations, use only alarm control panel(s) which meet ANSI/SIA CP-01- Control Panel Standard - Features for false alarm Reduction.
After the effective date of this chapter an alarm company shall not use an automatic voice dialer for any alarm system which, when activated, uses a telephone device or attachment to automatically dial a telephone line leading into the Police Department and then transmit any prerecorded message or signal.
After completion of the installation of an alarm system, an employee of the alarm installation company shall review with the alarm user the customer false alarm prevention checklist or an equivalent checklist approved by the alarm administrator.
Editor's Note: The customer false alarm prevention checklist is located at the end of this chapter.
The alarm company shall ensure that all alarm users of alarm systems equipped with a duress, robbery, holdup, medical or panic alarm have been provided adequate training as to the proper use of the alarm.
Each Installation company must maintain, for a period of at least one year after the date of the alarm system's activation the completed customer false alarm prevention checklist. The alarm administrator may request copies of such records for any individual alarm user. The alarm installation company shall furnish the requested records within 30 days after receiving the request.
A monitoring company shall:
Not make an alarm dispatch request to a burglar alarm signal during the first seven-day acclimation period after a burglar alarm system installation or activation. Exceptions to the acclimation period of nonresponse can be made by the Police Department in special circumstances, including but not limited to, domestic violence and stalking; unless waived by the alarm user.
Report alarm signals by using telephone numbers designated by the alarm administrator.
Employ enhanced call verification on all burglar alarms. The Police Department may refuse to accept burglar alarm calls from monitoring companies that fail to perform enhanced call verification.
Communicate alarm dispatch requests to the Police Department in a manner and form determined by the alarm administrator.
Communicate cancellations to the Police Department in a manner and form determined by the alarm administrator.
Communicate any available information (north, south, front, back, door, window, etc.) about the location of an alarm signal(s) as part of an alarm dispatch request.
Communicate the type of alarm activation (silent or audible, interior or perimeter), if available, on any alarm dispatch request.
Notify the Borough of Fair Lawn, New Jersey Emergency Communications (Dispatch) of any alarm site that it knows, or reasonably should know, is fitted with a protective-reactive device. During any alarm at such a site, a responsible party must be contacted and confirm that he or she will respond to the alarm site to disarm the device. In all cases where a protective-reactive device is present at an alarm site, the Police dispatch request shall include a warning for officers not to enter the alarm site until the responsible party is present and has disarmed the device.
After an alarm dispatch request, promptly advise the Police/Fire Department if the monitoring company knows that the alarm user or a responsible party is on the way to the alarm site.
Contact the alarm user or responsible party within 24 hours via mail, fax, telephone or other electronic means to advise them that an alarm dispatch request of the Police Department was made.
Each monitoring company shall, upon request, immediately provide the Police Department with the names and phone numbers of the alarm user's emergency contacts at the time of each alarm dispatch request.
Existing accounts. Any alarm system which was installed before the effective date of this chapter must be registered by the alarm user within 45 days after being notified.
Conversion or termination of alarm users. The alarm user will notify the alarm administrator in writing of any changes by providing an updated registration form.
New alarm systems. Any alarm installation company that installs or activates an alarm system on premises within the Borough after the effective date of this chapter must notify the alarm administrator within 10 days after the date of installation and provide the name, address, billing address, and telephone number of the alarm user.
Every alarm installation company and every alarm monitoring company serving customers in the Borough of Fair Lawn, New Jersey shall maintain a valid alarm license issued by the State of New Jersey if so required.
The alarm installation company shall provide the name, address and phone number of any monitoring company that it is using to monitor its alarm sites within the Borough of Fair Lawn, and monitoring companies shall do the same for alarm installation companies for which they monitor alarm sites within the Borough.
The alarm administrator shall establish a procedure for the notification to the alarm user of a false alarm. The notice shall include the following information:
A copy of this chapter will be provided upon request and will be posted online in accordance with established Borough policy.
An alarm user shall be subject to service fees, depending on the number of false burglar/fire alarms within the one-year permit period based upon the following schedule:
First false alarm: written warning.
Second false alarm: written warning.
Third, fourth and fifth false alarm(s): $65.
Sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth false alarm(s): $100.
Eleventh, twelfth, thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth false alarm(s): $150.
Sixteenth + false alarms: $200.
In addition, any person operating an unregistered alarm system will be subject to a service fee of $50 for each false alarm in addition to any other fees or fines.
If cancellation of an alarm dispatch request occurs prior to a police officer arriving at the scene, no false alarm will be assessed.
The alarm administrator shall notify the Police Department of each alarm user whose alarm registration qualifies for suspension under this section. The alarm administrator may suspend an alarm registration if it is determined that:
There is a violation of this section by the alarm user; or
There is a false statement of a material fact in the application for a permit; or
The alarm user has failed or refused to pay a false alarm fee, or any other assessed fee under this section, more than 30 days after the fee is due. This applies to all classifications of alarms, including burglary, burglary in progress, panic, duress, holdup and robbery.
The alarm user has had eight or more false burglar alarms within one year after the date of issuance of his annual registration, except that the alarm administrator may waive a suspension of a permit upon receipt of documented work orders showing reasonable attempts to repair the alarm system.
The Police Department may not respond to any alarm, where the alarm site is under suspension.
It is a violation of this section for an alarm user to operate an alarm system during the period in which the alarm permit is suspended.
Unless there is a separate indication that there is a crime in progress, Emergency Communications may not dispatch an officer to an alarm site for which an alarm registration is suspended.
On the first suspension of a permit, a person whose alarm permit has been suspended may obtain reinstatement of the permit by the alarm administrator if the person completes all of the following:
The Police Department shall reinstate its response to an alarm site as soon as it is practicable, after receiving notice of reinstatement from the alarm administrator.
If the alarm administrator denies the issuance, renewal or reinstatement of an alarm registration, the alarm administrator shall send written notice of the action and a statement of the right to an appeal to the appropriate affected alarm user.
The alarm user may appeal an assessment of a service, the suspension of an alarm permit, the denial of an alarm registration, the suspension of response or suspension of police response by setting forth in writing the reasons for the appeal within 15 business days after notice of the action of the alarm administrator.
The alarm user may appeal the decision of the alarm administrator to the law enforcement authority as follows:
The applicant or alarm user may file a written request for a review by setting forth the reasons for the appeal within 20 business days after the date of notification of the decision from the alarm administrator.
The Chief of Police or his designee shall conduct a review of the appeal within 30 days of the receipt of the request and consider the evidence presented by the Individual filing the appeal or any interested parties. The Chief of Police or his designee shall make his decision on the basis of the preponderance of evidence presented in writing by the alarm user. The Chief or his designee must render a decision within 15 days after the date of the hearing. The Chief of Police or his designee shall affirm or reverse the decision of the alarm administrator.
Filing of a request for appeal shall stay the action by the alarm administrator suspending the payment of a fee/fine, the suspension of an alarm registration, the denial of an alarm registration or suspension of response until the law enforcement authority has completed its review. If a request for appeal is not made within the ten-business-day period, the action of the alarm administrator is final.
The alarm administrator or law enforcement authority may adjust the count of false alarms based on:
Evidence that a false alarm was caused by action of a communications services provider (i.e., telephone, cellular, cable company);
Evidence that a false alarm was caused by a power outage or severe weather.
Evidence that the alarm dispatch request was not a false alarm;
Evidence of documented work orders showing reasonable attempts to repair the alarm system prior to additional false alarms.
Any other circumstances that demonstrate by a preponderance of the evidence that it was not a false alarm.
In determining the number of false alarms, multiple alarms occurring in any twenty-four-hour period may be counted as one false alarm to allow the alarm user time to take corrective action unless the false alarms are directly caused by the alarm user.
In the interest of public safety, all information contained in and gathered through the alarm permit applications, records relating to alarm dispatch requests, and applications for appeals shall be held in confidence by all employees or representatives of the Borough and by any third-party administrator or employees of a third-party administrator with access to such information.
Alarm registration is not intended to, nor will it, create a contract, duty or obligation, either expressed or implied, of response. Any and all liability and consequential damage resulting from the failure to respond to a notification is hereby disclaimed and governmental immunity as provided by law is retained. By applying for an alarm registration, the alarm user acknowledges that the Fair Lawn Police/Fire/EMS Department response may be influenced by factors such as the availability of Police/Fire/EMS units, priority of calls, weather conditions, traffic conditions, emergency conditions, staffing levels, prior response history and administrative actions.