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Township of West Whiteland, 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 Whiteland 10-28-1974 by Ord. No. 101; amended in its entirety 6-14-1994 by Ord. No. 221 (Ch. 10, Part 1, of the 1983 Code of Ordinances). Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Fire prevention — See Ch. 129, Art. IV.
Emergency communications systems — See Ch. 148.
This chapter shall be known as "The West Whiteland Township Automatic Protection Device Ordinance."
The following definitions shall apply to the interpretation and enforcement of this chapter:
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 state location, where such employees have the duty to relay immediately by live voice any such emergency message over a 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 or firemen to respond.
AUTOMATIC DIALING DEVICE
A device which is interconnected to a telephone line and is programmed to transmit a signal by a prerecorded voice alarm or message that indicates that an emergency condition exists and the need for an emergency response is required.
AUTOMATIC PROTECTION DEVICE
An electrically or battery operated instrument composed of sensory apparatus and related hardware which automatically transmits any form of alarm or signal, including but not limited to, a prerecorded voice alarm from the premises to the Police Department or Fire Department Radio Network, upon receipt of a stimulus from a sensory apparatus that has detected a physical force or condition inherently characteristic of intrusion or fire.
AUTOMATIC PROTECTION DEVICE SUPPLIER
The business by an individual, partnership, corporation or other entity of selling, leasing, maintaining, servicing, repairing, altering, replacing, moving, monitoring, installing any alarm system or causing any alarm system to be sold, leased, maintained, serviced, repaired, altered, replaced, moved, installed or monitored in or on any building, structure or other facility.
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 to the communication center of the Police or Fire Department.
CCDES
The administrative head of the West Whiteland Township Police Department or the administrative head of the Fire Department, as appropriate.
[Amended 11-25-2008 by Ord. No. 361]
CHIEF
The administrative head of the West Whiteland Township Police Department or the administrative head of the Fire Department, as appropriate.
[Amended 11-25-2008 by Ord. No. 361]
COORDINATOR
An individual/designee named by and accountable directly and solely to the Chief.
[Amended 11-25-2008 by Ord. No. 361]
[Amended 11-25-2008 by Ord. No. 361]
A. 
Any signal activated by an automatic protection device, any audible alarm or any other kind of direct or indirect signal given to the Police or Fire Department to which the Police Department or the Fire Department responds, which is not the result of a burglary, fire, robbery, medical, weather-related, power outage or similar emergency. If doubt exists as to the cause of the false alarm, the Chief or his designee shall have and make the final decision regarding the circumstances of the activation.
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(s) 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, the activation of a medical alarm for other than a medical emergency or the intentional activation of a fire alarm for other than a fire or hazard.
FALSE ALARM FEE
A fee for service in a monetary amount necessary to compensate the Township and/or the Fire Department for the actual personnel and administrative costs, on average, incurred by the Township and/or the Fire Department in responding to false alarms, set by resolution of the Township Board of Supervisors from time to time.
[Added 10-26-2004 by Ord. No. 324; amended 11-25-2008 by Ord. No. 361]
FIRE DEPARTMENT
Any fire department, ambulance or rescue unit providing services within West Whiteland Township.
INTERMEDIARY
A central station protective system or answering service as herein defined.
INSTALLERS/SUPPLIERS PERMIT
Written permission, duly granted to an applicant by the Township upon full compliance with § 91-4 of this chapter and payment of the required annual fees of $75.
KEY
To use a telephone or recording equipment to transmit a message either directly or indirectly by an automatic protection device.
TOWNSHIP
The Township of West Whiteland, Chester County, Pennsylvania.
TRUNK LINE
A telephone line leading into the communications centers of the Police and Fire Departments 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.
VERIFIED/VERIFIED RESPONSE
An attempt by a central station, or its representative, to contact the alarm site and/or alarm user by telephone and/or other electronic means, whether or not actual contact with a person is made, to determine whether an alarm signal is as a result of an actual emergency before requesting law enforcement or emergency personnel dispatch, in an attempt to avoid an unnecessary alarm dispatch request. For the purpose of this chapter, telephone or electronic verification shall require, at a minimum, that a second telephone call or electronic contact be made to a different number if the first attempt fails to reach an alarm user who can properly identify himself and verify whether an alarm signal is a valid emergency alarm prior to notification of an alarm to CCDES.
[Added 10-26-2004 by Ord. No. 324]
A. 
Owners or lessees of audible alarm protection devices may not key such alarms to the West Whiteland Police Radio Network, CCDES, or to the Pennsylvania State Police Radio Network.
B. 
Audible alarms on location and not keyed to CCDES may be installed by Township residents and businesses so long as they are registered and comply with regulations.
C. 
Audible alarm protection devices on location must be equipped with a timing device which will disconnect the alarm after a maximum period of 15 minutes. Audible alarms without such a device 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.
[Amended 10-26-2004 by Ord. No. 324]
A. 
On and after the effective date of this chapter, all automatic dialing devices that transmit recorded messages directly to the Police Department or Fire Department shall be keyed to the CCDES radio, only with the prior approval of CCDES.
B. 
On and after the effective date of this chapter, no one except an alarm equipment supplier holding a valid permit from the Township shall connect any automatic protection device to the CCDES.
C. 
On and after the effective date of this chapter, no one except an alarm supplier holding a valid license from the Township shall sell, install, service, monitor any alarm within the Township. It shall be permissible for owners or lessees of automatic protection devices to key alarms to a telephone or radio which is available to them or to a private agency so long as they register with the Chief of Police and comply with Township regulations set forth in this chapter.
D. 
The Chief of Police or coordinator shall issue an alarm supplier's license to an alarm supplier meeting the requirements of this chapter and upon the filing of the required application and payment of a fee. Each license shall bear the signature of the Chief of Police or coordinator and be renewed annually. A copy of the license shall be displayed at each location and shall be made available for inspection upon request of the Chief of Police, coordinator or other authorized person.
E. 
No alarm supplier's license shall be required:
(1) 
When no alarm permit is required.
(2) 
When the installation of such alarm system shall be made in it entirety by the owner/occupant of the premises, except if same is monitored off premises by an intermediary.
F. 
A license may be revoked or renewal denied if:
(1) 
The licensee fails to meet the requirements necessary to obtain a license.
(2) 
The license fee is not paid.
(3) 
The Chief of Police or his designee has reason to believe the licensee's installations are the cause of false alarms.
(4) 
The licensee fails to provide emergency service as required by this chapter.
G. 
No corporation, sole proprietor, partner, joint venture, trustee, executor, administrator, employee, fiduciary or stockholder with a 5% or greater interest in a corporation (except a corporation whose stock is publicly traded and registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission or with a state security commission) applying for a license shall have been convicted of a felony or pleaded nolo contendere to a felony charge or indictment. Applicants must furnish a criminal history from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania with their application.
H. 
No technician, installer or other employee of any automatic protection device supplier, as defined herein, performing any function within West Whiteland Township for any such supplier shall have been convicted of a felony or pleaded nolo contendere to a felony charge or indictment. Such technician, installers or other employees must furnish a criminal history from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania at the same time as is required in Subsection G of this section.
I. 
The applicant shall furnish an insurance certificate annually confirming that the applicant has in force general liability insurance coverage in the amount of not less than $300,000 each occurrence. Applicants who self-insure such coverage shall furnish evidence of financial ability, by showing that they are bonded by at least $300,000 or by a suitable letter of financial responsibility, provided that the letter is acceptable to the Township.
A. 
The user's fee for an alarm system permit shall be $25 and said permit shall be obtained from the West Whiteland Township Police Department prior to the installation of the alarm system.
B. 
The permit shall bear the signature of the Chief of Police or the coordinator and be valid for the same period that the applicant shall reside/locate the business upon the premises at which the systems is installed, or until revoked by the Chief of Police or the coordinator. The permit shall be physically present upon the premises using the alarm system and shall be available for inspection by the West Whiteland Township Police Department personnel.
C. 
The permit application shall contain the address of the property, the name of the residence/business (if applicable), the name of the owner, tenant, or agent responsible for the property, the alarm supplier or other entity responsible for maintaining the system (if applicable), the type of alarm (burglary, holdup, fire, medical), how the alarm signal will be received by the communications center (tape, central station, etc.), at least three alternate emergency telephone numbers of persons to be contacted to secure the property, and any additional information determined to be necessary. In the case of fire alarm permits for other than a single-family residence, the applicant must submit with the permit application detailed plans for fire alarm and suppression system that is to be permitted/installed. These plans must be reviewed and approved by the Township Fire Marshal prior to the issuance of any permit. Installation may not begin without permit. The issuance of a permit does not constitute final approval by the Township Fire Marshal for the proposed system. Final approval may be given only upon the completion, inspection and conformance to all codes and requirements. It shall be the owner's responsibility to amend all previously submitted information whenever the information changes.
D. 
An alarm user who is over the age of 65 years of age 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 required fee(s).
E. 
Users who fail to obtain a permit within 60 days after the effective date of this chapter shall be liable to pay a $20 late charge penalty for each calendar year that the permit is not obtained.
F. 
All locations in the Township of West Whiteland equipped with alarm systems, except as stated in this chapter, must apply for and be issued a valid permit for same.
A. 
A battery-powered (9-volt, 11.2-volt, or similar voltage) audible alarm system whose sole purpose is to notify the occupants at the location of an emergency situation shall be exempt from the permit requirements of this chapter 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 of that location that the alarm is activated.
(2) 
The audible alarm does not sound outside of the location (no external speakers or annunciators).
(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 or residents of nearby premises.
B. 
Alarm users who are not required to pay a fee or who are exempt from obtaining an alarm user's permit as stated above shall, nevertheless, be subject to the penalty provisions as prescribed in this chapter.
A. 
Within 90 days of the effective date of this chapter, every automatic protection device supplier who has keyed an automatic protection device in the Township to the CCDES shall furnish to the Chief of Police a current list of such installations which shall include the following information:
(1) 
The name, address, telephone number of the owner or lessee.
(2) 
The name and address where the device is installed, and the telephone number of that address.
(3) 
The name, address and telephone number of a central station protective system or any other person or any other firm who is authorized to respond to an emergency and to 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 equipment supplier who is responsible for maintenance and repair of the automatic protection device.
(5) 
The type of system (i.e., holdup, burglary, fire or medical emergency).
B. 
By the fifth working day of each month following the submission of the initial list, every automatic protection device supplier shall furnish the Chief of Police with a supplemental list of any additional Township installations he has keyed to the CCDES, along with any corrections or deletions from lists previously furnished. An automatic protection device supplier who enters into the business 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 list(s) as required by this section.
C. 
Users of alarm system devices, whose devices were installed prior to the effective date of this chapter, shall, within 60 days after such enactment, supply the Police Department with the information specified in Subsection A.
D. 
Users of alarm system devices, whose devices were installed prior to the effective date of this chapter, shall not have to pay the required $25 user fee, if satisfactory proof of having paid the previously required fee is presented.
E. 
All information furnished pursuant to this chapter shall be kept confidential and shall be for the use of the Township.
A. 
Automatic protection device suppliers/installers, or a user who privately installs an alarm system which is located on premises within the Township, shall:
(1) 
See that all wiring conforms to the requirements required by all applicable national, BOCA, electrical and Township codes.
(2) 
Be permitted to install only equipment that is listed by Underwriters Laboratories, Inc., as being electrically safe and meeting the Township requirements for the alarm system.
(3) 
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.
(4) 
Be required to install equipment in such a way as to neutralize electrical surges.
(5) 
Be required to deactivate any alarm system within a reasonable period of time.
(6) 
Be required to insure that all recorded messages transmitted to the CCDES are of type, content and length meeting Township and CCDES criteria.
(7) 
Be required to adjust automatic protection device systems 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 of doors or windows, vibrations to the premises caused by the passing of vehicles or any other force not related to genuine alarms.
B. 
Automatic protection device users of alarm systems which are located on premises within the Township shall:
(1) 
Be required to fully test the alarm system based on the testing schedule as outlined by the system's manufacturer, and abide by the Township's rules for testing, under § 91-12, Testing.
(2) 
Be required to maintain all components in good order and repair to assure maximum reliability of operation.
Each alarm supplier/installer who, after the effective date of this chapter, sells or leases in the Township an alarm system shall furnish clearly written and easily understood operating instructions and a manual of operations to the buyer or lessee.
A. 
Each automatic protection device supplier/installer who sells, leases or installs an automatic protection 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 device or to correct any malfunction that may occur. Any person using an alarm system shall make arrangements for service to be available for such device on a twenty-four-hour-per-day, seven-day-per-week basis.
B. 
The buyer, lessee, user and the automatic protection device supplier/installer, or agent supplying repair service, shall be responsible for having the device disconnected or repaired as quickly as possible after the notice that the automatic protection device is not functioning properly.
For the purpose of enforcing this chapter, and as a condition to installing and maintaining an automatic protection device, or the continuance of the use of any alarm system already installed at the effective date of this chapter, the owner, lessee or user thereof, by virtue of application for permit for the installation of an alarm system and subsequent installation of such shall have executed a consent which authorizes the Chief of Police, coordinator or Township Fire Marshal to enter upon a lessee's, user's, or owner's premises within the Township, at such reasonable times and upon reasonable notice, except in emergency situations, to inspect the installation and operation of an automatic protection device.
No person shall conduct any tests or demonstration of any automatic protection device without first notifying the West Whiteland Township Police Department and the CCDES.
Automatic protection device suppliers and installers shall, at their own expense, furnish at or prior to the time of installation, a copy of this chapter, to owners, lessees, users of the equipment or services to be supplied.
[Amended 11-9-1999 by Ord. No. 284; 10-26-2004 by Ord. No. 324; 11-25-2008 by Ord. No. 361]
A. 
For the purposes of fully compensating the Township and/or the Fire Department for the cost of responding to false alarms, the owner, lessee or user of any alarm system, persons using the service of an intermediary, users of audible alarms, and users of any other kind of direct or indirect connection with the CCDES shall, as a condition to installation and continued operation of such equipment or service, pay the Township and/or the Fire Department a false alarm fee for each false alarm. The Chief shall determine whether an alarm is a false alarm and invoice the permit holder of the alarm system for the false alarm fee. The false alarm fee shall be payable within 30 days of the date of the invoice.
B. 
False alarm fees provided for false alarms that are relayed or transmitted by an intermediary shall be the responsibility of such owner, lessee or user of the alarm system.
C. 
Any police officer, fireman, or emergency personnel responding to an alarm which is determined to be false shall promptly notify the Chief or his designee of such alarm in writing, and shall (if practical) leave notification of such false alarm at the scene of the alarm.
D. 
By submitting an application for permit for the installation of a burglary, fire, medical or other emergency alarm system and subsequent installation of such a system or by the continuation of the use of an 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, fireman or emergency personnel who make a forced entry in response to such an alarm into the premises on which such an alarm is installed, as a result of entry into the subject premises. In the event 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, fireman or emergency personnel, the Township, the Police Department and the Fire Department, as appropriate, from any and all damages whatsoever claimed by the lessor or owner of the premises on which the alarm is installed.
E. 
Any property which has four or more false alarms within a calendar year, other than a holdup, panic or duress alarm, shall be subject to verified response.
(1) 
The Chief or his designee shall notify the alarm user, property owner and the alarm supplier providing the service to the user/property by first-class, postage-prepaid, certified mail, that the property has been placed on verified response.
(2) 
An alarm user and/or property owner shall immediately implement verified response for the alarm system and property upon being notified of the verified response order as set forth in Subsection E(1) above. If the alarm user and/or property owner do not comply immediately with the verified response order, the property shall be disconnected from the system by the user and/or owner. If disconnection of the defective device is not accomplished promptly, the Township may take any steps necessary to disconnect the defective automatic protection device.
(3) 
A permit holder/property owner who has been placed on verified response may make written application to the Chief to remove the property from verified response anytime 60 days after being placed on verified response. The application shall include a fee in an amount as determined by the Board of Supervisors by resolution from time to time. The application shall include a certification from a licensed alarm supplier describing the reason for the malfunction causing false alarms, that the defect in the alarm system has been repaired and that the alarm system is free of defects which will cause false alarms. If the Chief is satisfied with the representations in the certification, he may remove the alarm system and property from verified response for a six-month probationary period. If no false alarms occur within the probationary period, the alarm system and property shall be removed from verified response. If a false alarm occurs within the probationary period, the property shall be placed on permanent verified response.
(4) 
If no application as set forth in Subsection E(3) above is submitted, or the Chief determines that the action taken or to be taken will not substantially reduce the likelihood of false alarms, the Chief shall give notice by first-class, postage prepaid, certified mail, to the user that the alarm system and property shall be placed on permanent verified response.
F. 
Appeals to have a false alarm activation removed from a permit holder's record may be made to the Chief or his designee. The appeal must be submitted in writing substantiating the cause of the false alarm and what has been done to prevent future false alarms. The Chief, or his designee, at his discretion, may remove a false alarm activation from a permit holder's record, if it is believed that this course of action is justifiable.
[Amended 6-10-1997 by Ord. No. 257; 10-26-2004 by Ord. No. 324; 11-25-2008 by Ord. No. 361]
A. 
Within 30 days after invoice by the Chief or coordinator, the owner, lessee or user of the property shall pay the fees as stated in § 91-14. Failure to make the required payment within the allocated time period shall require the owner, lessee, or user to institute and be placed on verified response for the property for a period of six months from the date of notification as provided in § 91-14E(1). Failure to make the required payment within the allocated time period will cause the institution of assumpsit proceedings before the District Magistrate, or a court of competent jurisdiction, for the collection of the amount owed and costs. Such fees and costs shall be collectible as like debts are now by law collectible.
B. 
Any person who violates or commits the violation of any provision of this chapter or who willfully falsely activates an alarm system shall be subject to a fine in the amount of at least $150, but not to exceed $1,000, plus all court costs, including reasonable attorney fees incurred by the Township. Upon a finding of liability for committing said violation, permitting said violation or willfully falsely activating an alarm system, in a civil enforcement proceeding commenced by the Township, the defendant shall pay the fine, plus all court costs, including attorney fees. No judgment shall be imposed until the date of determination of a violation by a District Magistrate. If the defendant neither pays nor timely appeals the judgment, the Township may enforce the judgment pursuant to the applicable Rules of Civil Procedure.