[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of the Township of Willistown 6-23-1987 by Ord. No. 2-1987. This ordinance also repealed former Ch. 61, Alarm Devices, adopted 5-8-1979 by Ord. No. 2-1979, as amended. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be known as the "Willistown Township Automatic Protection Device Ordinance."
The following definitions shall apply to the interpretation and enforcement of this chapter:
- 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 criminal act or other emergency requiring Police or Fire Department response.
- 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 Chester County Department of Emergency Services (DES) upon receipt of a stimulus from a sensory apparatus that has detected a physical force or condition inherently characteristic of intrusion, fire, hazard or medical emergency requiring urgent attention and to which police or fire units should respond.
- AUTOMATIC PROTECTION DEVICE SUPPLIER
- Any individual, partnership, corporation or other entity engaged in the business of selling, leasing, maintaining, servicing, repairing, altering, replacing, moving or installing any automatic protection device to be sold, leased, maintained, serviced, repaired, altered, replaced, moved or installed in or on any building, structure or facility.
- CHIEF OF POLICE
- The head or acting head of the Police Department of Willistown Township.
- A. An alarm activated in the absence of an emergency, whether willfully or by inadvertent negligence or unintentional act, including the malfunction of the automatic protection device to which the Willistown Township Police Department or Fire Department responds. The definition excludes alarms caused by malfunctions of the Chester County DES receiving equipment 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 crime in progress or, in the case of an emergency medical alarm, an actual medical emergency requiring police, fire and/or 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 activation.
- B. Multiple alarms received by the Police Department or a Fire 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, the intentional 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.
- FIRE DEPARTMENT
- The Goshen Fire Company, the Malvern Fire Company, the Newtown Square Fire Company or the Paoli Fire Company.
- To use a telephone or recording equipment to transmit a message either directly or indirectly by an automatic protection device.
- The Township of Willistown, Chester County, Pennsylvania.
Automatic protection devices with audible alarms on or within buildings may be installed in township residences and business establishments so long as they are registered and comply with the provisions of this chapter.
Automatic protection devices must be equipped with a timing device which will disconnect the continuous sounding after a maximum period of 15 minutes. Audible alarms without such devices are prohibited in the township and must be disconnected by the owner or lessee within 60 days from the effective date of this chapter.
Automatic protection devices that transmit messages directly to police must be keyed to the Chester County DES.
Automatic protection devices may be keyed to a telephone which is available to the owner or lessee of the device or to a private agency so long as the devices are registered with the Chief of Police and comply with the provisions of this chapter.
On and after the effective date of this chapter, no one except an automatic protection device supplier holding a valid license from the township shall sell, install or service any alarm system within the township.
The Chief of Police shall issue an automatic protection device supplier's license to an automatic protection device supplier meeting the requirements of this section upon the filing of the required application and payment of a fee of $50. Each license shall bear the signature of the Chief of Police and be valid for a period of one calendar year. A copy of the license shall be physically displayed upon each of the premises using the automatic protection device and shall be available for inspection solely by the Chief of Police or his designee.
Each automatic protection device supplier that installs one or more automatic protection devices 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. Any person using an automatic protection device shall make arrangements for service to be available for such device on a twenty-four-hour-per-day, seven-day-per-week basis.
No license shall be issued to any person, sole proprietor, partner, joint venturer, trustee, executor, administrator, employee, fiduciary or corporation, which has any stockholder with a 5% or greater interest in the corporation (except a corporation whose stock is publicly traded and registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission or with a State Securities Commission) who or which has been convicted of a felony or pleaded nolo contendere to a felony charge or indictment within the immediately preceding 10 years.
The applicant shall furnish an insurance certificate annually confirming that the applicant has in force general liability insurance coverage in an amount of not less than $300,000 for each occurrence. An applicant who self-insures such coverage shall furnish evidence of financial responsibility.
The licensee shall pay an annual license fee of $50.
A license may be revoked or renewal denied if:
The licensee fails to meet the requirements necessary to obtain a license;
The license fee is not paid;
The Chief of Police has reason to believe the licensee's installations are the cause of false alarms; or
The licensee fails to provide emergency services that are required by this chapter.
List of installations.
Within 90 days from the effective date of this chapter, each automatic protection device supplier who has installed an automatic protection device in the township shall furnish to the Chief of Police a current list of such installations which shall include the following information:
The name, address and telephone number of the owner or lessee.
The name and 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 automatic protection device supplier, who is responsible for maintenance and repair of the automatic protection device.
By the fifth working day of each month following the submission of the initial list, each automatic protection device supplier shall furnish the Chief of Police with a supplemental list of any additions, corrections or deletions from lists previously furnished. An automatic protection device supplier who enters into the business after the effective date of this chapter shall furnish a list containing the information specified in Subsection B(1) above 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 these sections shall be kept confidential and shall be for the use of the township.
No automatic protection device shall be installed without a permit. Application for a permit to install an automatic protection device shall be made to Willistown Township. If the applicant is not the property owner, the owner shall also sign the application. The owner, by his signature, shall be deemed to have agreed to be bound by the requirements of this chapter.
The permit shall bear the signature of the Chief of Police and be valid for the period that the owner owns the premises upon which the automatic protection device is installed. The permit shall be physically present upon the premises using the device and shall be available for inspection by the Chief of Police or his designee.
The permit shall contain the address of the property, the name of the business (if applicable), the name of the owner, tenant or agent responsible for the property, the automatic protection device supplier or other entity responsible for maintaining the system (if applicable), the type of alarm (burglary, holdup or medical), how the alarm signal will be received by the communications center (tape, central station, etc.), at least two alternate emergency numbers of persons to be contacted to secure the property and any additional information as may be determined to be necessary. It shall be the owner's responsibility to amend the foregoing information whenever the information changes.
Exception. An automatic protection device 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 stated fee.
Users who fail to obtain a permit within 60 days after the alarm system is activated or within 60 days after the effective date of this chapter, if later, shall be liable to pay a late charge penalty of $20 for each calendar year for which the permit should have been obtained prior to the calendar year next following the calendar year in which the application for such permit is actually made.
Upon change of property ownership or tenancy, if the service for the automatic protection device is continued by the new user with the automatic protection device supplier, it will be the responsibility of the automatic protection device supplier to advise the new user that a permit renewal application is required, for which there is a fee of $10.
All locations in the Township of Willistown equipped with automatic protection devices, except as stated in this chapter, must secure and possess a valid permit for the same.
The fee for an automatic protection device permit shall be $25. The fee shall be nonrefundable.
Automatic protection devices installed in the township that are keyed to the Chester County DES shall meet the following requirements:
The type and content of recorded messages must be intelligible and in a format approved prior to the installation by the Chief of Police.
No more than one call shall be made to the Chester County DES as a result of a single activation of the automatic protection device.
The time for transmitting each recorded message shall not exceed 15 seconds, and it may not be repeated more than once.
Recorded messages repeated during the one call shall have an interval between them of no more than five seconds.
The sensory mechanism used in connection with an automatic protection 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, the rattling or vibrations 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 automatic protection device supplier who sells or leases an automatic protection device in the township after the effective date of this chapter shall furnish operating instructions and a maintenance manual to the buyer or lessee.
The public safety requires that the incidence of false alarms and malfunctioning automatic protection devices be kept to a minimum so as to reduce unnecessary calls to the Police Department and Fire Department and to increase the effectiveness of properly functioning automatic protection devices. In order to enforce this chapter and to reduce the incidence of false alarms and malfunctioning automatic protection devices, it is necessary that appropriate township officials have the right to inspect the installation and operation of an automatic protection device, and subsequent installation of such a device pursuant to a permit issued or the continuance of the installation of any automatic protection device 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 of any such automatic protection device by the Chief of Police, Township Building Official or any other designated agent of the township. All such entries upon the premises upon which an automatic protection device is installed and all such inspections of the installation and operation of automatic protection devices shall be at reasonable times and upon reasonable notice, except in emergency situations.
Automatic protection devices, suppliers and installers must conform to the requirements contained in the National Electrical Code as they pertain to installations, inspections and testing of such devices.
Each automatic protection device supplier who sells or leases 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 devices and to correct malfunctions as they occur. Such service shall be made available to any person using an automatic protection device at such user's expense. Any person using an automatic protection device shall make arrangements for service to be available to such device on a twenty-four-hour-per-day, seven-day-per-week basis.
At the time of installation, an automatic protection device 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 protection device supplier or agent responsible for service. The buyer or lessee and the automatic protection device 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 as set forth in this chapter are received by the township or the Chester County DES and the township concludes that the automatic protection device sending such messages should be disconnected in order to relieve the Police Department or Fire 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.
No person shall conduct any test or demonstration of an automatic protection device without first notifying the shift supervisor of the Chester County DES, unless the device 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, Fire Department or Chester County DES.
Automatic protection 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.
Consent to pay costs; schedule of costs. For the purposes of defraying the costs of responding to false alarms and administrating the Alarm Ordinance regulations, the owner, lessee or user of any automatic protection device, persons using the services of an intermediary, users of audible automatic protection devices and users of any other kind of automatic protection devices or any other kind of direct or indirect connection with the police or fire 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, be deemed to consent to pay the township for all false alarms upon the following schedule for each false alarm originating from the owner's, lessee's or user's premises:
Any owner, lessee or user of an automatic protection device may revoke or refuse to consent as set forth in Subsection A above only by disconnecting the automatic protection device. With respect to such devices 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.
Any police officer responding to an alarm which is determined to be false shall promptly notify the person in whose name the automatic protection device is registered of the false alarm. Prompt notice of a false alarm penalty shall be issued by the Police Department.
By submitting an application for a permit for the installation of fire alarm and/or emergency medical alarm system and the subsequent installation of such a system or by the continuation of the use of an automatic protection device 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 based upon such entry into subject premises against any police officer or fireman who makes such entry in response to such an alarm from the premises on which such an automatic protection device 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 automatic protection device is installed, such permit application shall constitute an indemnification agreement by the applicant to hold harmless any such police officer or fireman, 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 automatic protection device is installed.
Violation of any provision of this chapter shall constitute an offense punishable by a fine of not more than $300, plus the costs of prosecution, or, in default of payment thereof, by imprisonment for a term of not more than 30 days, in the discretion of the District Justice before whom the conviction is obtained. Such fine and costs shall be collectible before any District Justice as like fines and penalties are now by law collectible. Each twenty-four-hour period during which failure to comply continues shall constitute a separate offense.
Any person found guilty of misuse, false activation or continual accidental activation of an automatic protection device shall be liable for a fine of not more than $300, plus the costs of prosecution, for each and every such activation or, in default of payment thereof, by imprisonment for a term of not more than 30 days, in the discretion of the District Justice before whom the conviction is obtained. Such fine and costs shall be collectible before any District Justice as like fines and penalties are now by law collectible.