[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Bridgeport 6-14-1983 by Ord. No. 473, approved 6-14-1983 (Ch. 73 of the 1975 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as an "Ordinance Regulating Police and Fire Alarm Users."
The purpose of this chapter is to provide minimum standards and regulations applicable to police and fire alarm systems, alarm installers and alarm users within the Borough of Bridgeport as herein defined by this chapter.
When not inconsistent with the context, words used in the present tense include the future tense, words used in the singular number include the plural number, and words used in the plural number include the singular number. The word "shall" is always mandatory and not directory.
For the purpose of this chapter, the following terms, phrases, words and their derivations shall have the meanings given herein:
- ALARM EQUIPMENT SUPPLIER
- Any person, firm or corporation who sells, leases or installs automatic protective devices.
- ALARM INSTALLER
- Any individual who, or any business which, engages in altering, installing, leasing, maintaining, repairing, replacing, selling or servicing of emergency police or fire alarm systems (automatic protective devices).
- ANSWERING SERVICE
- A telephone answering service providing among its services the service of receiving on a continuous basis through trained employees emergency signals from alarm systems and thereafter immediately relaying the message by live voice to the communications center of the Borough Police or Fire Department.
- AUDIBLE ALARM
- Any device, bell, horn or siren which is attached to the interior or exterior of a building and emits a warning signal audible outside the building and which is designed to attract attention when activated by criminal act or other emergency requiring Police or Fire Department response.
- AUTOMATIC PROTECTIVE DEVICE
- An electronically operated instrument composed of sensory apparatus and related hardware which is indirectly connected to the Police or Fire Department and which, upon receipt of a stimulus from a sensory apparatus that has detected a physical force or condition inherently characteristic of an intrusion or other emergency, automatically transmits a prerecorded voice alarm over regular telephone lines.
- CENTRAL STATION PROTECTIVE SYSTEM
- A protective system, or group of such systems, operated privately for customers by a person, firm or corporation which maintains, supervises and accepts recorded messages from automatic protective devices at a central station having trained operators and guards in attendance at all times that have the duty to take appropriate action upon receipt of a signal or message, including the relaying of messages by designated or direct trunk line to the communications center of the Police or Fire Department.
- CHIEF OF FIRE DEPARTMENT
- The Chief of the Bridgeport No. 1 Volunteer Fire Company or the Good Will Volunteer Fire Company or the person in charge.
- CHIEF OF POLICE
- The Chief of the Borough of Bridgeport Police Department or the person in charge.
- DESIGNATED TRUNK LINE
- A telephone line, leading into the communications center of the Police or Fire Department, that is for the primary purpose of handling emergency messages which originate from automatic protective devices and are transmitted directly or indirectly through an intermediary.
- DIRECT TRUNK LINE
- A nonlisted, directly connected telephone line, leading from an intermediary to the communication center of the Police or Fire Department, that is for the primary purpose of handling emergency messages on a person-to-person basis.
- FALSE ALARM
- The activation of an alarm system through mechanical failure, malfunction, improper installation or the negligence of the owner or lessee of an alarm system or of his employees or agents. Such terminology does not include alarms caused by hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes or other violent conditions.
- FIRE DEPARTMENT
- The Bridgeport No. 1 Volunteer Fire Company or the Good Will Volunteer Fire Company or any other fire company responding pursuant to any mutual-aid agreement.
- FIRE MARSHAL
- The duly appointed Fire Marshal for the Borough of Bridgeport or his designated agent.
- A central station protective system or answering service as herein defined.
- To use a telephone line an equipment for transmitting a message either directly or indirectly by an automatic protective device.
- MISUSE or CONTINUAL ACCIDENTAL ACTIVATION
- The setting off of a false alarm, as hereinbefore defined, on three or more occurrences.
- Written permission, duly granted to an applicant by the Chief of Police or Fire Marshal upon payment of the required fee.
- POLICE DEPARTMENT
- The Borough of Bridgeport Police Department.
- PRIMARY TRUNK LINE
- A telephone line, leading into the communications center of the Police or Fire Department, that is for the purpose of handling emergency calls and no other calls on a person-to-person basis and which line is identified by a specific listing among the white pages in the telephone directory issued by the Bell Telephone Company.
- SECONDARY TRUNK LINE
- A telephone line, leading into the communications center of the Police or Fire Department, that is for the purpose of handling administrative and other calls on a person-to-person basis and which line is identified by a specific listing among the white pages in the telephone directory issued by the Bell Telephone Company.
Except as provided in Subsections A and B of this section, after the enactment of this chapter, users must equip audible alarms with a timing mechanism that will disengage the audible alarm after a maximum period of 15 minutes. Audible alarms without such a timing mechanism shall be unlawful in the Borough and must be disconnected by the user within 60 days from the effective date of this chapter. The following shall be excepted from the provisions of this section:
No automatic protective device shall be programmed to call a primary or secondary trunk line after the effective date of this chapter.
Within 90 days after the effective date of this chapter, all automatic protective devices programmed to call a primary or secondary trunk line shall be disconnected. The owner or lessee of such device shall be responsible for having the device disconnected within the ninety-day time period.
The relaying of messages by intermediate services to the Police or Fire Department shall be over primary trunk lines.
Automatic protective devices may also be interconnected to one or more telephone numbers available to the owner or lessee of the device, or his designated representative, at another location.
Within 90 days after the effective date of this chapter, every alarm business which has interconnected any automatic protective device in the Borough to a telephone line serviced directly by telephone company operators or an answering service shall maintain a current list of such installations for inspection by the Police Chief, Fire Chief or Fire Marshal during the course of his or their official duties and shall include in such list the following:
The name, home address and telephone number of the device's owner or lessee.
The address of the location where the device is installed and the telephone number at that location.
The name and telephone number of at least one other person who can be reached at any time, day or night, and who is authorized to respond to an emergency signal transmitted by the automatic protective device and who can open the premises wherein the device is installed.
The information contained in the list required by this section shall be restricted to inspection only by the Police Chief, Chief of the Fire Department or Fire Marshal in the course of his or their official duties. If the Police Chief, Chief of the Fire Department or Fire Marshal or any employee of the Police Department or Fire Department is found to have knowingly or willfully revealed the information contained in such list to any other person for any purpose not related to official law enforcement matters or Fire Department matters, and without the express written consent of the alarm business maintaining such list or lists, he shall be guilty of obstructing the administration of law or other governmental function, a misdemeanor of the second degree.
Automatic protective devices installed in the Borough shall meet the following requirements:
The type and content of recorded messages must be intelligible and in a format approved prior to installation by the Chief of Police.
No more than one call shall be made as a result of a single activation of the automatic protective device.
The time for transmitting each recorded message shall not exceed 15 seconds.
Recorded messages may be repeated during one call, but the interval between each recorded message shall be no less than eight seconds nor more than 12 seconds.
The sensory mechanism used in connection with an automatic protective device must be adjusted to suppress false indications of intrusion so that the device will not be activated by impulses due to fleeting pressure changes in water pipes, short flashes of light, rattling or vibrating of doors and windows, vibrations to the premises caused by the passing of vehicles or any other force not related to genuine alarms.
All components comprising such a device must be maintained by the user in good repair to assure maximum reliability of operation.
Each alarm equipment supplier who sells or leases an automatic protective device in the Borough after the effective date of this chapter shall furnish operating instructions, a circuit diagram and a maintenance manual to the user, unless the supplier maintains the system under a maintenance contract.
When messages evidencing the failure to comply with the operational requirements set forth in § 142-8 are received by the Police Department or Fire Department and the Chief of Police or Fire Marshal concludes that the automatic protective device sending such messages should be disconnected in order to relieve the Department of the burden of responding to false alarms, he is authorized to demand that the user of the device, or his representative, disconnect the device until it is made to comply with the operational requirements. If disconnection of the defective device is not accomplished promptly and the Police Chief, the Chief of the Fire Department or the Fire Marshal determines that the malfunctioning device is repeatedly sending false alarms without any intermittent valid alarms, he may then take any steps necessary to disconnect the defective automatic protective device. Any expenses so incurred by the Borough shall be promptly reimbursed by the owner or lessee of the defective device.
No person shall conduct any test or demonstration of an automatic protective device without first obtaining permission from the Police and Fire Departments. Where the equipment is keyed through an intermediary, no such permission is necessary unless the alarm or signal is to be relayed to the Police Department or the Fire Department.
Any person engaging in an alarm business within the Borough shall, within 30 day after the effective date of this chapter, apply to the Chief of Police or Fire Marshal for a license to operate such business within the Borough. Applications shall be made on such forms as shall be furnished by the Chief of Police or Fire Marshal, and the applicant shall pay such licensing fees as shall be set from time to time by resolution.
Applicants already doing business within the Borough on the effective date of this chapter may continue to do business while their license applications are being processed.
Every user shall be required to obtain a permit and shall pay such connection and annual fees as the Borough shall set by resolution from time to time. The Borough may set permit fees and adopt regulations to implement this chapter from time to time.
For the purpose of enforcing this chapter and as a condition to installing and maintaining an automatic protective device, the owner or lessee thereof shall permit the Building Inspector, the Chief of Police, the Chief of the Fire Department or the Fire Marshal to enter upon the owner's or lessee's premises within the Borough of Bridgeport and, at such reasonable times and upon reasonable notice, to inspect the installation and operation of the automatic protective device.
For the purpose of defraying the cost to the Borough of responding to a false alarm, the owner or lessee of an automatic protective device, persons using the services of intermediaries, users of audible alarms and users of any other kind of direct or indirect connection with the Police or Fire Departments, except persons using the two-way live-voice communication by telephone, shall, as a condition to installation and continued operation of such equipment or service, execute a consent in such form as may be prescribed by the Borough that such owner, lessee or user shall pay to the Borough the sum of $50 for each false alarm originating from the owner's premises. This sum shall be a civil claim by the Borough and does not affect the penalty provisions prescribed by § 142-16 hereof.
Failure of any person to comply with the licensing requirements or with the requirement of a written notice of a violation of any provision hereof, within three days of the receipt of such notice, exclusive of Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, shall constitute an offense punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000, for each and every offense, plus costs of prosecution which are by law collectible. Such notice shall continue in force and effect until full compliance with the requirements stated therein, and each and every failure to comply with such notice within 24 hours after the three days allowed for compliance shall constitute a separate offense.
[Amended 3-14-1989 by Ord. No. 507, approved 3-14-1989]
Any person found guilty of misuse, continual accidental activation or false activation of an automatic protective device shall be liable for a fine of not less than $75 nor more than $300, plus the costs of prosecution for each and every activation, to be collectible before any Magisterial District Judge as like fines or penalties are now by law collectible.
[Amended 12-14-1993 by Ord. No. 521, approved 12-14-1993]