[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of Upper Merion Township 6-28-1976 by Ord. No. 76-358. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Building construction — See Ch. 67.
Fire prevention — See Ch. 87.
Fees — See Ch. A173.
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Upper Merion Emergency Police and Fire Alarm Ordinance."
The following definitions shall apply in the interpretation and enforcement of this chapter:
- ALARM EQUIPMENT SUPPLIER
- Any person, firm or corporation who sells or leases and/or installs automatic protection devices.
- ANSWERING SERVICE
- A service whereby trained employees in attendance at all times receive prerecorded voice messages from automatic protection devices reporting an emergency at a stated location and have the duty to relay immediately by live voice only such emergency message over a designated or direct trunk line to the communications center of the 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 designed to attract attention when activated by a criminal act or other emergency requiring police to respond.
- AUTOMATIC PROTECTION DEVICE
- An electrically operated instrument composed of sensory apparatus and related hardware which automatically transmits a prerecorded voice alarm over regular telephone line by direct or indirect connection to the Police Department or Fire Department upon receipt of a stimulus from a sensory apparatus that has detected a physical force or condition inherently characteristic of a fire or intrusion.
- CENTRAL STATION PROTECTIVE SYSTEM
- A protective system or group of such systems operated privately for customers by a person, firm or corporation which maintains supervisors and accepts recorded messages from automatic protection 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 primary trunk line to the communications center of the Police or Fire Department.
- CHIEF OF POLICE
- The Chief of Police of the Upper Merion Police Department.
- 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 protection devices and are transmitted directly or indirectly through an intermediary.
- FALSE ALARM
- Any signal activated by an automatic protection device, any audible alarm or any other kind of direct or indirect signal given the police or fire communications center to which police or firemen respond, which is not the result of a fire, burglary, robbery or similar emergency.
- FIRE COMMUNICATIONS CENTER
- The Montgomery County communications center servicing the Fire Department.
- FIRE DEPARTMENT
- The Upper Merion Township Fire Department.
- FIRE MARSHAL
- The Fire Marshal of Upper Merion Township.
- A central station protective system or an answering service, as herein defined.
- To use a telephone line and equipment for transmitting a message either directly or indirectly by an automatic protection device.
- The Manager of Upper Merion Township.
- Written permission duly granted to a qualified applicant by the township upon payment of the required fee as provided for in Chapter A173, Fees.[Amended 5-11-1981 by Ord. No. 81-422; 2-22-1988 by Ord. No. 88-529]
- POLICE COMMUNICATIONS CENTER
- The police communications room and other rooms which house auxiliary communication equipment.
- POLICE DEPARTMENT
- The Upper Merion Township 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 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.
- Upper Merion Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.
After the enactment of this chapter, owners or lessees 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 township and must be disconnected by the owner or lessee within 60 days from the effective date of this chapter.
No automatic protection device installed after the effective date of this chapter shall be keyed to a primary trunk line.
After the effective date of this chapter, all automatic protection devices that transmit recorded messages directly to the Police Department or Fire Department shall be keyed to a designated trunk line.
Within 60 days from the effective date of this chapter, existing automatic protection devices in the township shall be disconnected from primary trunk lines.
Automatic protection devices disconnected as provided in Subsection C above may be keyed to a designated trunk line.
After the effective date of this chapter, a valid permit shall be required from the township to install any automatic protection device or audible alarm within the confines of Upper Merion Township.
Any person who has an automatic protection device in the township may arrange to have such device keyed to an intermediary authorized to relay emergency messages to the Police or Fire Department.
The relay of messages by authorized intermediaries shall be over a designated trunk line.
Automatic protection devices keyed to an authorized intermediary may also be keyed to another telephone which the owner or lessee of the automatic protection device has available to himself or his representative at some other location.
Requirements; change of information.
[Amended 11-4-1999 by Ord. No. 99-697]
A person may not attach or use an automatic protection device in the township without doing all of the following:
Obtain prior written approval from the Upper Merion Township Police Department to use the automatic protection device to alert the public safety agency of an alarm condition. The township and/or Police Department shall not be responsible for any costs for the installation and maintenance of any dedicated telephone line or equipment associated with the alarm termination.
Disclose to the Upper Merion Township Police Department a current list of such installations, which shall include:
The telephone number of the owner or lessee.
The address where the device is installed and the telephone number of that address.
The name, address and telephone number of a central station protective system 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.
The name and telephone number of any person, firm or corporation, if any, other than the alarm equipment supplier, who is responsible for maintenance and repair of the automatic protection device.
The Police Department shall be informed of any change in the information required by this subsection as soon as practicable.
By the fifth working day of each month following the submission of the initial list, every alarm equipment supplier shall furnish the Police Department and the Fire Department with a supplemental list of any additional installations he has keyed to the designated trunk lines, along with any corrections to or deletions from lists previously furnished. An alarm equipment 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.
All information furnished pursuant to this section shall be kept confidential and shall be for the use of the designated personnel of the Police Department and the Fire Department only.
Automatic protection devices installed in the township that are keyed to designated trunk lines shall meet the following requirements:
The type and content of recorded messages must be intelligible and in the format approved prior to installation by the Chief of Police or the Fire Marshal as appropriate for the type of emergency.
No more than one call shall be made over a designated trunk line to the Police Department or Fire Department as a result of a single activation of the automatic protection 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 four seconds.
The sensory mechanism used in connection with an automatic protection device must be adjusted to suppress false indications of fire or intrusion so that the device will not be activated 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.
All components comprising such a device must be maintained by the owner or lessee in good repair to assure maximum reliability of operation.
Each alarm equipment supplier who sells or leases an automatic protection device in the township after the effective date of this chapter which is keyed to a designated trunk line shall furnish operating instructions, a circuit diagram and maintenance manual to the buyer and lessee.
Each alarm equipment supplier referred to in Subsection A shall furnish operating instructions, circuit diagram and maintenance manual for each type of automatic protection device he deals in and installs in the township to the Chief of Police and to the Fire Marshal. If the instructions are not clear, the alarm equipment supplier may be required to revise the instructions to the Chief of Police and the Fire Marshal and all buyers and lessees of the particular automatic protection device.
Each alarm equipment supplier who sells or leases an automatic protection device in the township which is keyed to a designated trunk line shall make service available directly or through an agent on a twenty-four-hour-per-day basis, seven days a week, to repair such device or to correct any malfunction that may occur. Such service shall be made available for any person using an automatic protection device supplied.
At the time of installation, an alarm equipment 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 alarm equipment supplier or agent responsible for service. The buyer or lessee and the alarm equipment supplier or agent supplying a service shall be responsible for having the device disconnected or repaired as quickly as possible after notice that the automatic protection device is not functioning properly.
When messages evidencing failure to comply with the operational requirements set forth in § 63-7 are received by the Police Department or the Fire Department and the Board of Supervisors concludes that the automatic protection device sending such messages should be disconnected in order to relieve the particular Department of the burden of responding to false alarms, the Board is authorized to demand that the owner or lessee 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 Board of Supervisors determines that the malfunctioning device is repeatedly sending false alarms without any intermittent valid alarms, the Board may then take any steps necessary to disconnect the defective automatic protection device.
[Amended 2-22-1988 by Ord. No. 88-529]
Alarm equipment suppliers must conform to the requirements contained in Chapter 67, Building Construction, as amended.
For the purpose of enforcing this chapter and as a condition of installing and maintaining an automatic protection device, the owner or lessee thereof shall execute a consent, in such form as may be prescribed by the Manager, which will authorize the Building Official, the Chief of Police and the Fire Marshal to enter upon a lessee's or owner's premises within Upper Merion Township, at such reasonable times and upon reasonable notice, to inspect the installation and operation of an automatic protection device.
No person shall conduct any test or demonstration of an automatic protection 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.
Alarm equipment suppliers, installers of audible alarms and intermediaries shall furnish, at or prior to the time of contracting and at their expense, a copy of this chapter to owners, lessees or users of the equipment or services to be supplied.
Editor's Note: Former § 63-15, Consent to pay civil penalty to be executed; failure to comply, was repealed 11-4-1999 by Ord. No. 99-697.
[Amended 12-31-1991 by Ord. No. 91-593]
Failure of any person to comply with the requirements of written notice of a violation of any provision hereof within three days of receipt of such notice, exclusive of Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, shall constitute an offense punishable by a fine or penalty as set forth in Art. III, General Penalty Provisions, of Ch. 1, General Provisions. Costs of prosecution shall be collectible before any District Justice as like fines and penalties are now 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.
False alarm violations. In accordance with state law, a person who owns, uses or possesses an alarm device or automatic protection device may not, after causing or permitting three false alarms to occur in a consecutive twelve-month period, cause or permit a subsequent false alarm to occur in the same consecutive twelve-month period. A person that violates this subsection commits a summary offense and shall, upon conviction, be sentenced to pay a fine of not more than $300, plus costs of prosecution, to be collectible before any District Justice as like fines or penalties are now by law collectible. This provision shall supercede any general penalty provision of the Upper Merion Township Code.
[Amended 11-4-1999 by Ord. No. 99-697]