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Township of West Goshen, PA
Chester County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of the Township of West Goshen 5-7-1985 by Ord. No. 4-1985. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Fire alarm systems — See Ch. 41.
The following definitions shall apply in the interpretation and enforcement of this chapter:
ALARM SUPPLIER
The business, by any individual, partnership, corporation or other entity, of selling, leasing, maintaining, servicing, repairing, altering, replacing, moving or installing any alarm system, or causing to be sold, leased, maintained, serviced, repaired, altered, replaced, moved or installed any alarm system, in or on any building, structure or facility.
ALARM SYSTEM
Any assembly of equipment, mechanical, electrical or battery operated, arranged to signal the occurrence of a holdup, burglary or other activity requiring urgent attention and to which police units are expected to respond.
ANSWERING SERVICE
A service whereby trained employees, in attendance at all times, receive prerecorded voice messages from automatic dialing devices reporting an emergency at a stated location and have the duty to relay immediately by live voice any such emergency message over a trunkline to the communications center of the Police Department.
AUDIBLE ALARM
Any device, bell, horn or siren which is attached to the interior or exterior of a building, structure or facility and emits a warning signal audible outside the building, structure or facility and is designed to attract attention when activated by a criminal act or other emergency requiring police to respond.
AUTOMATIC DIALING DEVICE
A device which is interconnected to a telephone line and is programmed to transmit a signal by a voice or coded message that indicates that an emergency condition exists and the need for an emergency response is required.
CENTRAL STATION
A protective system or group of such systems operated privately for customers by a person, firm or corporation which accepts recorded messages from automatic dialing devices at a central station having operators and guards in attendance at all times, who have the duty to take appropriate action upon receipt of a signal or message, including the relaying of messages by trunk line to the communications center of the Police Department.
CHIEF OF POLICE
The administrative head of the West Goshen Township Police Department.
A. 
An emergency alarm activated by inadvertence, negligence or unintentional acts, including the malfunction of the alarm system, to which the West Goshen Township Police Department responds. The definition excludes alarms caused by malfunctions of the indicator at the alarm board if such alarm is directly connected to the alarm board; testing or repairing of telephone or electrical lines or equipment outside the premises; acts of God, such as earthquake, flood, windstorm, thunder or lightning; an attempted illegal entry of which there is visible evidence; a robbery in progress; and in the case of an emergency medical alarm, an actual medical emergency requiring police and/or emergency medical personnel. If doubt exists as to the cause of the false alarm, the Chief of Police or his designee shall make a decision regarding the circumstances of the activations.
B. 
Multiple alarms received by the Police Department before the system can be deactivated within a reasonable period of time shall be considered a single alarm.
C. 
The definition of a false alarm also includes the intentional activation of a holdup alarm for other than a holdup in progress, the intentional activation of a burglary alarm for other than a burglary and/or the intentional activation of a medical alarm for other than a medical emergency.
INTERMEDIARY
A central station protective system or an answering service as herein defined.
KEY
To use a telephone line and equipment for transmitting a message, either directly or indirectly, by an automatic dialing device.
PERMIT
Written permission duly granted to an applicant by the Township upon payment of the required fee.
POLICE COMMUNICATIONS CENTER
The police communications room and other rooms which house communications equipment and the police radio dispatcher.
POLICE DEPARTMENT
The Police Department of the Township of West Goshen.
SECRETARY
The Secretary of the Township of West Goshen.
TOWNSHIP
The Township of West Goshen, Chester County, Pennsylvania.
TRUNK LINE
A telephone line leading into the communications center of the Police Department that is for the purpose of handling calls on a person-to-person basis and which is identified by a specific listing among the white pages in the telephone directory issued by the telephone company.
After the enactment of this chapter, owners or users of audible alarms must equip such 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 Township and must be disconnected by the owner or user within 60 days from the effective date of this chapter.
Alarm systems with audible alarms on location may be installed in Township residences and business establishments so long as they are registered and comply with the provisions of this chapter.
A. 
No automatic protection device installed after the effective date of this chapter shall be keyed directly to the Chester County Department of Emergency Services radio room or the Pennsylvania State Police radio network.
B. 
After the effective date of this chapter, all automatic dialing devices that transmit recorded messages directly to the Police Department shall be keyed to the Township Police Department radio network.
C. 
Within 60 days from the effective date of this chapter, existing automatic dialing devices in the Township that transmit message to the Chester County Department of Emergency Services radio room or the Pennsylvania State Police radio network shall be keyed to the West Goshen Township radio network.
D. 
After the effective date of this chapter, no one except an alarm supplier holding a valid permit from the Township shall install any alarm system within the confines of the Township.
E. 
Exception. Automatic alarm systems which transmit an alarm directly to the alarm panel at the Chester County Department of Emergency Services may be continued; however, they must be listed with the Township Police Department and fees paid as required in § 25-8 of this chapter.
A. 
Any person who has an automatic dialing device in the Township may arrange to have such device keyed to an intermediary authorized to relay emergency messages to the Police Department.
B. 
The relay of messages by authorized intermediaries shall be over a trunk line as designated by the Chief of Police.
C. 
Automatic protection devices keyed to an authorized intermediary may also be keyed to another telephone which is available to the owner or user of the automatic dialing device or his representative at some other location.
D. 
Penalties provided for false alarms that are relayed or transmitted by an intermediary shall be the responsibility of the owner or user of the alarm system.
A. 
Within 90 days from the effective date of this chapter, every alarm supplier who has keyed an automatic dialing device in the Township to the Police Department shall furnish to the Chief of Police a current list of such installations, which list shall include the following information:
(1) 
The name, residence and telephone number of the owner or user.
(2) 
The address where the device is installed and the telephone number at that address.
(3) 
The name, address and telephone number of a central station or any other person or firm who is authorized to respond to an emergency and gain access to the address where the device is installed.
(4) 
The name and telephone number of any person, firm or corporation, if any, other than the alarm supplier, who is responsible for maintenance and repair of the automatic dialing device.
(5) 
The type of message contained on the prerecorded message, i.e., holdup, burglary or medical emergency.
B. 
By the fifth working day of each month following the submission of the initial list, every alarm supplier shall furnish the Police Department with a supplemental list of any additional installations such supplier has keyed to the trunk line, along with any corrections to or deletions from lists previously furnished. An alarm supplier who enters into the business after the effective date of this chapter shall furnish a list containing the information specified in Subsection A by the fifth working day of the month following a first installation and shall thereafter furnish supplemental lists as required by this section.
C. 
Users of automatic dialing devices whose devices were installed prior to the effective date of this chapter shall, within 60 days after such enactment, supply the Chief of Police with the information specified in Subsection A.
D. 
All information furnished pursuant to this section shall be kept confidential and shall be for the use of the Police Department only.
No alarm system shall be installed without a permit. Application for a permit to install an alarm system shall be made to the Police Department of the Township. The Police Department shall establish the information to be contained in such application and may establish a form upon which applications are to be made. If a form is established by the Police Department, then all applications shall be made on that form. A separate permit shall be required for each separate installation of an alarm system. Upon proper application being made and upon payment of the fee required, the Police Department shall issue a permit for the installation of an alarm system.
A. 
The initial fee for an alarm system permit shall be $25, and said permit shall be obtained from the Police Department prior to the installation of the alarm system. This initial fee will include an alarm user's permit for the balance of the calendar year. When the initial application is filed after July 1 of any calendar year, the fee shall be $12.50 (one-half-year fee) for the balance of the year. No refunds shall be made under any circumstances. At the beginning of each year subsequent to the year of installation, an alarm user's permit shall be renewed at the Police Department. The fee for such renewal shall be $10 per year.
B. 
The permit shall bear the signature of the Chief of Police and be valid for the period specified on same. The permit shall be physically present upon the premises using the alarm system and shall be available for inspection by the Police Department.
C. 
The permit shall contain:
(1) 
The address of the property.
(2) 
The name of the business, if applicable.
(3) 
The name of the owner, tenant or agent responsible for the property.
(4) 
The alarm company responsible for maintaining the system, if applicable.
(5) 
The type of alarm (burglar, holdup or medical).
(6) 
How the alarm signal will be received by the communications center (tape, central station, etc.).
(7) 
At least two alternate emergency numbers of persons to be contacted to secure the property.
(8) 
Any additional information as may be determined to be necessary.
D. 
Exception. An alarm user who is over the age of 65 and is the primary occupant of a residence, and if no business is conducted at the residence, may obtain a user's permit from the Township without paying the above-stated permit fee.
E. 
Users who fail to obtain a permit within 60 days after the effective date of this chapter or who are delinquent 60 days or more in renewing a permit shall be liable to pay a late charge penalty of $20.
F. 
Alarm users who have had an alarm system installed or who have themselves installed an alarm system prior to the enactment of this chapter shall be required to register their alarm system with the Police Department within 60 days the enactment of this chapter. Registration of preexisting alarms shall be made on the same form used as an application to install a new alarm system. The initial fee for registration of a preexisting alarm system shall be $10. Upon proper application being made and upon payment of the fee required, the Police Department shall issue a user's permit valid for the balance of the calendar year in which such application is received.
A. 
An alarm user who installs a battery powered (nine volts, 11.2 volts or similar voltage) audible alarm system or an electrically energized audible alarm system whose sole purpose is to notify the occupants of that location of an emergency situation is exempt from obtaining a alarm user's permit if all of the following conditions exist:
(1) 
The alarm is not connected to any mechanical or electrical device that automatically notifies a person or agency outside that location that the alarm system is activated.
(2) 
The audible alarm does not sound outside the location (no external speakers).
(3) 
The internal signal emitted by the audible alarm does not exceed 90 decibels.
(4) 
The internal alarm does not cause undue annoyance or alarm to occupants of adjoining premises.
B. 
Alarm users who are not required to pay a fee (§ 25-8D) or who are exempt from obtaining an alarm user's permit as above shall, nevertheless, be subject to the penalty provisions prescribed in §§ 25-19 and 25-20 of this chapter.
All locations in the Township of West Goshen equipped with alarm systems, except as stated in § 25-9 of this chapter, must secure and possess a valid permit for same and must register and maintain such registration with the Police Department as prescribed in this chapter.
Automatic dialing devices installed in the Township that are keyed to a trunk line shall meet the following requirements:
A. 
The type and content of recorded messages must be intelligible and in a format approved by the Chief of Police as appropriate for the type of emergency, said approval to be obtained prior to installation.
B. 
No more than one call shall be made over a trunk line to the Police Department as a result of a single activation of the automatic dialing device.
C. 
The time for transmitting each recorded message shall not exceed 15 seconds.
D. 
Recorded messages may be repeated during one call, but the interval between each recorded message shall be no less than four seconds.
E. 
The sensory mechanism used in connection with an automatic dialing device must be adjusted to suppress false indications of intrusion so that the device will not be actuated by impulses due to fleeting pressure changes in water pipes, short flashes of light, the 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.
F. 
All components comprising such a device must be maintained in good repair by the owner or user to assure maximum reliability of operation.
Each alarm supplier who, after the effective date of this chapter, sells or leases in the Township an automatic dialing device which is keyed to a trunk line shall furnish operating instructions, a circuit diagram and a maintenance manual to the buyer or lessee.
A. 
Each alarm supplier who sells or leases an automatic dialing device in the Township shall make service available directly or through an agent on a twenty-four-hour-per-day basis, seven days a week, to repair such devices and to correct malfunctions as they occur. Such service shall be made available to any person using an automatic dialing device at such user's expense. Any person using an automatic dialing device shall make arrangements for service to be available for such device on a twenty-four-hour-per-day, seven-day-per-week basis.
B. 
At the time of installation, an alarm supplier shall furnish to any buyer or lessee using a repair service written information as to how service may be obtained at any time, including the telephone number of the automatic dialing device supplier or agent responsible for such service. The buyer or lessee and the alarm supplier or agent supplying a service shall be responsible for having the device disconnected or repaired within 48 hours after notice that the automatic dialing device or alarm system is not functioning properly.
When messages evidencing failure to comply with the operational requirements as set forth in this chapter are received by the Township and the Township concludes that the automatic dialing device sending such messages should be disconnected in order to relieve, the Township Police Department of the burden of responding to false alarms, the Township may require that the owner or lessee of the device, or his representative, disconnect the device until it is made to comply with said operational requirements. If disconnection of the defective device is not accomplished promptly and the Township determines that the malfunctioning device is repeatedly sending false alarms without any intermittent valid alarms, the Township may then take any action necessary to terminate the receiving of alarms.
A. 
The public safety requires that the incidence of false alarms and malfunctioning automatic dialing devices be kept to a minimum so as to reduce unnecessary calls to the Police Department and to increase the effectiveness of properly functioning automatic dialing devices. In order to enforce this chapter and to reduce the incidence of false alarms and malfunctioning automatic dialing devices, it is necessary that appropriate Township officials have the right to inspect the installation and operation of any alarm system installed in the Township.
B. 
Application for a permit for the installation of an alarm system and subsequent installation of such a system pursuant to a permit issued or the continuance of the installation of any alarm system already installed at the effective date of this chapter shall constitute consent by the owner or lessee thereof and authorization for the inspection of any such installation and/or operation by the Chief of Police, Township Zoning Office, Township Building Inspector or any other designated agent of the Township.
C. 
All such entries upon the premises in which an alarm system is installed and all such inspections of the installation and operation of alarm systems shall be at reasonable times and upon reasonable notice, except in emergency situations.
Every alarm supplier selling, leasing or furnishing to any user, or a user who privately installs, an alarm system, except those covered in § 24-9, which is located on premises within the Township shall:
A. 
Be required to notify the communications center of alarm activations on the proper trunk line only.
B. 
Be permitted to install only equipment that is listed by Underwriter's Laboratories, Inc., as being electrically safe and which will meet the Township requirements for the alarm system. Wiring for the alarm system must conform with all applicable Township codes.
C. 
Be required to cause each alarm system installed to be provided with standby battery power which shall automatically and immediately take over in the event of a power failure.
D. 
Be required to install equipment in such a way as to neutralize electrical surges on the alarm system.
E. 
Be required to provide an automatic audible alarm cutoff within 15 minutes of initial activation of any audible alarms installed to any and all alarm systems and, further, be required to disable the audible signal if the alarm is in a runaway condition, that is, if the audible alarm activates and resets at continuing and unspecified periods.
F. 
Be required to deactivate any alarm system within a reasonable period of time when multiple false alarms are received.
No person shall conduct any test or demonstration of any automatic dialing device or other alarm system without first notifying the shift supervisor of the Township police radio network, unless the system is keyed through an intermediary, in which case no such notification is necessary unless the alarm or signal is to be relayed to the Police Department.
Automatic protective device suppliers and installers shall furnish at their own expense, at or prior to the time of contracting, a copy of this chapter to owners, lessees or users of the equipment or services to be supplied.
A. 
Consent to pay costs; schedule of costs.
[Amended 10-11-1988 by Ord. No. 8-1988; 4-14-2004 by Ord. No. 5-2004]
(1) 
For the purposes of defraying the costs to the Township of responding to false alarms, the owner, lessee or user of any alarm system or automatic dialing device, persons using the services of an intermediary, users of audible alarms and users of any other kind of alarm systems or any other kind of direct or indirect connection with the police communications center, 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 Township that such owner, lessee or user shall pay the Township for all false alarms (as defined in § 25-1 of this chapter) following the first one, according to the following schedule for each false alarm originating from the owners, lessee's or users premises:
(a) 
First false alarm, per calendar year: a warning; provided, however, that if the Township responds to a false alarm at any location which is not registered and for which a valid permit for the alarm system has not been secured in violation of §§ 25-7 and 25-10, as a condition of registration of the alarm system, the owner, lessee or user shall pay the Township a fee of $50.
(b) 
Second false alarm through the third false alarm in any calendar year: $50 for each such alarm.
(c) 
Fourth false alarm through the seventh false alarm in any calendar year: $100 for each such alarm.
(d) 
Eighth false alarm and for each false alarm thereafter in any calendar year: $200 for each such alarm.
(2) 
Each such payment provided for in Subsection A(1) of this § 25-19 shall be a civil claim by the Township and is in addition to and shall not affect the penalty provisions prescribed by § 25-20 hereof.
B. 
Failure to comply. Any such owner, lessee or user who fails to execute the consent described in Subsection A within 90 days from the effective date of this chapter shall, within the ninety-day period, disconnect the alarm system, automatic dialing device or any other kind of direct or indirect connection with the police communications center and shall discontinue using the services of any intermediaries.
C. 
Any owner, lessee or user of an alarm system may revoke or refuse to consent as set forth in Subsection A above only by disconnecting the alarm system. With respect to such systems installed at the effective date of this chapter, the owner, lessee or user can refuse or revoke the aforesaid consent by disconnecting such automatic protection device within 90 days from the effective date of this chapter.
D. 
Any police officer responding to an alarm which is determined to be false shall promptly notify the Chief of Police of such alarm, and he shall, within 30 days, have notification of such false alarm sent via United States mail to the person in whose name the alarm is registered.
[Amended 10-11-1988 by Ord. No. 8-1988]
E. 
By submitting an application for permit for the installation of an emergency medical alarm system and the subsequent installation of such a system or by the continuation of the use of a medical emergency alarm system already installed at the effective date of this chapter, the owner, lessee or user thereof shall agree that such permit application constitutes a waiver by such person of the right to bring or file any action, claim or complaint whatsoever against any police officer or medical emergency personnel who make or makes a forced entry in response to such an alarm into the premises on which such an alarm is installed. In the event that the owner of such premises is a person other than the permit applicant, as in the instance of a lessee or other user not the owner of the premises on which the alarm is installed, such permit application shall constitute an indemnification agreement by the applicant to hold harmless any such police officer or medical emergency personnel from any and all damages whatsoever claimed by the lessor or owner of the premises on which the alarm is installed.
[Amended 10-11-1988 by Ord. No. 8-1988; 7-24-1996 by Ord. No. 7-1996]
A. 
Any person who violates or permits the violation of any provision of this chapter shall, upon being found liable therefor in a civil enforcement proceeding commenced by the Township before a District Justice, pay a fine for each such violation in an amount not less than $100 and not more than $600 plus all court costs, including reasonable attorneys fees, incurred by the Township. No judgment shall be imposed until the date of the determination of a violation by the District Justice. If the defendant neither pays nor timely appeals the judgment, the Township may enforce the judgment pursuant to the applicable rules of civil procedure.
B. 
Any person found liable of misuse, false activation or continual activation of an alarm system shall, upon being found liable therefor in a civil enforcement proceeding commenced by the Township before a District Justice, pay a fine for each such violation in an amount not less than $100 and not more than $600, plus all court costs, including reasonable attorneys fees, incurred by the Township. No judgment shall be imposed until the date of the determination of a violation by the District Justice. If the defendant neither pays nor timely appeals the judgment, the Township may enforce the judgment pursuant to the applicable rules of civil procedure.
Should any section or provision of this chapter be declared by a court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, such decision shall not affect the validity of this chapter as a whole or of any other part.
This chapter shall become effective five days after adoption as prescribed by law.
Ordinance No. 4-1975, adopted by the Board of Supervisors of West Goshen Township on June 10, 1975, and now Chapter 25 of the Code of the Township of West Goshen, is repealed in its entirety on the effective date of this chapter.