[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Emerson 12-18-1984 by Ord. No. 861. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The Mayor and Council of the Borough of Emerson find that the existence within the Borough of external audible alarm systems which do not contain automatic cutoff systems permits the continuing emission of loud alarm signals without termination; and that, in the event of unavailability of those able to control and terminate the alarm, persons in the vicinity are exposed to these loud noises for lengthy, indefinite periods without means of obtaining relief; that this condition is inimical to the public health and welfare and to the well being of persons within the Borough; and that lengthy emission of alarm signals is not necessary to the legitimate purposes of the property owner or occupant. The Mayor and Council further find that many residents and commercial entities have installed burglar, fire and other warning devices within their residences or buildings with the alarm wired to the Police Department, and that numerous false alarms from said devices requiring Police and/or Fire Department response cause unnecessary expense to the Police and/or Fire Department and the unproductive diversion of Police and/or Fire Department personnel and equipment from their public safety function within the Borough.
The purpose of this chapter is to establish regulations concerning the operation and maintenance of certain alarm systems within the Borough of Emerson and to provide penalties for violations of any of the provisions set forth herein.
For the purposes of this chapter, the following definitions shall apply:
- ALARM DEVICE
- Any type of alarm-actuating equipment which provides warning of intrusion, fire, smoke, burglary, flood or like perils, including dial alarms (devices using normal telephone lines transmitting notification by telephone directly to the police headquarters) and direct alarms (devices using telephone lines terminating in an alarm panel located in police headquarters).
- ALARM PANEL
- That component installed in police headquarters containing alarm indications and designations.
- ALARM SYSTEM
- The installation in one or more buildings of one or more alarms for the express purpose of giving visual or audible warning, or both, of an emergency such as a burglary, intrusion, fire, smoke, flood or like perils.
- AUDIBLE ALARM
- A device that emits an audible signal from the premises that it is designed to protect.
- FALSE ALARM
- An alarm signal necessitating response by the Emerson Police or Fire Department where an emergency situation does not exist.
- Any natural person, partnership, corporation, association or other legal entity.
All audible alarms shall be equipped with a timing device that will automatically silence the external audible alarm within 15 minutes after it is actuated.
It shall be the responsibility of all persons maintaining an alarm system within the Borough to leave with the Police Department the name of a person or persons who can be reached in case of an emergency or malfunctions of the alarm device in order that the device can be temporarily disconnected. In lieu thereof, this requirement may be fulfilled by leaving a tagged key to the premises with the Chief of Police of the Borough, provided that in so doing the owner thereby releases the Borough of Emerson and the Police Department and/or Fire Department from any claims or damage or loss in connection with said action.
Persons having an alarm device which is being tested or repaired shall notify the Police Department before tests or repairs commence and after completion of same so as to avoid the possibility of activating a false alarm.
It shall be the responsibility of all persons maintaining an alarm system within the Borough to prevent the transmission of false alarms through a program of training and periodic inspection and maintenance of the system.
In the case of a false alarm, any person having knowledge thereof shall immediately notify the Police Department. In the case of false alarms, the Chief of Police shall cause an investigation to be made and keep a record of the alarms on file.
In any twelve-month period the following penalties shall apply:
For the first and second alarms, a warning shall be issued by the Chief of Police.
For the third false alarm, a fine of $25 shall be paid to the Borough.
For the fourth false alarm in the twelve-month period, a fine of $75 shall be paid to the Borough.
In the event of a fifth or subsequent false alarm, a fine of not more than $500 shall be paid to the Borough. In addition to the fine established herein, an investigation shall be conducted by the Police and/or Fire Department. Where the investigation of the Police and/or Fire Department discloses continued abuse of or negligent operation or maintenance of alarm device and a disregard of the taking of remedial steps to avoid false alarms, the Police Chief and/or Fire Chief may require disconnection of the device from the alarm panel for a limited or permanent time, provided that no disconnection shall be made without giving the owner or user of the alarm device an opportunity to show cause before the Mayor and Borough Council why such action should not be taken.
Any person violating any of the provisions of this chapter, except that section governing repeated false alarms and penalties therefor, shall, for each offense, be subject to a fine of not more than $500 in the discretion of the Judge of the Emerson Municipal Court. Each incident shall be considered a separate violation.
The provisions of this chapter shall apply to alarm systems placed in service prior to or subsequent to the effective date of this chapter; provided, however, that persons responsible for existing alarm devices shall have 30 days from the effective date of this chapter to provide to the Police Department the information required by this chapter and shall have 90 days from the effective date of this chapter to equip any nonconforming audible device with the automatic silencing mechanism required by this chapter.