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Town of New Canaan, CT
Fairfield County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted New Canaan Town Council 11-12-86, effective 1-1-87. Amendments noted where applicable.}
GENERAL REFERENCES
Emergency Medical Services Commission — See Ch. 15.
Fire Department — See Ch. 22.
Police — See Ch. 48.
It is determined that the number of false alarms being made to the Police and Fire Department hinders the efficiency of those Departments, lowers the morale of Department personnel, constitutes a danger to the general public in the streets during responses to false alarms and jeopardizes the response of volunteers; and that the adoption of this ordinance will reduce the number of false alarms and promote the responsible use of alarm devices in New Canaan.
For the purpose of this ordinance, the following definitions shall apply:
A. 
Any device which, when activated, calls for Police or Fire Department response as follows:
(1) 
Transmits a signal to police or fire headquarters;
(2) 
Transmits a signal to a person who relays information to police, fire or EMS headquarters; or
(3) 
Produces an audible or visible signal to which the Police or Fire Departments are expected to respond.
B. 
Excluded from this definition and the scope of this ordinance are devices which are designed to alert or signal only persons within the premises in which the device is installed.
ALARM USER
The owner of any premises in which an alarm device is used, provided that an occupant who expressly accepts responsibility for an alarm device by registration pursuant to § 4A-5 shall be deemed the "alarm user."
AUTOMATIC DIAL ALARM
A telephone device or attachment that mechanically or electronically selects a telephone line to police, fire or EMS headquarters and reproduces a prerecorded voice message to report a criminal set, fire or other emergency calling for Police or Fire Department or EMS response. Excluded from this definition are devices which relay a digital-coded signal to police or fire headquarters.
CENTRAL STATION
An office to which remote alarm devices transmit signals where operators monitor those signals and relay information to the Police and Fire Departments or EMS.
CONTRACTOR
Any person, firm or corporation in the business of supplying and installing alarm devices or servicing the same.
EMS
Emergency medical services.
FALSE ALARM
Any automatic activation of an alarm device to which the Police or Fire Department or EMS respond and which is not caused by a criminal act, fire, smoke or other emergency and which is not the result of a verified malfunction of telephone equipment, power failure, lightning strike or a generally recognized cataclysmic event.
[Amended 2-6-1991, effective 2-22-1991]
A. 
There shall be in the town an administrator for alarm devices, who shall have the powers and duties granted to him under this ordinance.
B. 
The Director of Finance or his/her designee shall be the administrator under the direction and control of the Board of Selectmen, which is authorized to adopt regulations for the administration of this ordinance.
[Amended 7-12-89, effective 7-28-89]
In accordance with Section 7-148 of the Connecticut General Statutes, the First Selectman shall appoint one or more Citation Hearing Officers, other than police officers or employees or persons who issue citations, to conduct hearings authorized by this ordinance.
A. 
Each alarm user shall register his alarm device or devices with the administrator prior to use.
B. 
Alarm device registration shall be accomplished by filling out a form provided by the administrator, to include such information concerning the identity of the prospective alarm user, the name of the central station monitoring the alarm, the identity of the alarm user's contractor, if any, and the nature of the proposed alarm device as the administrator may require. The administrator shall issue the alarm user a written acknowledgment of proper registration.
C. 
It shall be the responsibility of each alarm user to notify the administrator of changes in registration information.
A. 
Each central station which plans to transmit signals to the Police or Fire Departments or EMS must register with the administrator before doing so.
B. 
Central station registration shall be accomplished by filling out a form provided by the administrator, to include such information as the administrator may require concerning the identity of the applicant, the type of its business organization (individual proprietorship, partnership, corporation), the principal place of business of the entity and the location of the office monitoring alarms. The administrator shall issue the central station a written acknowledgment of proper registration.
C. 
It shall be the responsibility of each central station to notify the administrator of changes in the registration information, but such notification need not be given more frequently than once a month.
Each contractor who wishes to provide authorized inspection and repair services in accordance with § 4A-13 shall register with the administrator. Certifications called for in § 4A-13 shall be accepted from registered contractors only.
No automatic dial alarm may be installed after January 1, 1987. No automatic alarm device in use on such date may remain in use after July 1, 1987.
A. 
After the publication of this ordinance, the administrator will not permit the registration of an alarm device which transmits a digital-coded signal to either the Police Department or the Fire Department unless the alarm user has received special authorization in accordance with § 4A-9B.
B. 
A commercial establishment or a not-for-profit institution may have a direct line to the Police Department or Fire Department, provided that:
(1) 
The connection is by a high-grade, dedicated line meeting specifications that may be established by the Departments concerned.
(2) 
The Police Chief or Fire Chief determines that the level of risk and exposure justifies a direct line.
(3) 
The Police Chief or Fire Chief has notified the administrator of his approval of such a direct line.
C. 
After July 1, 1987, signals that result from the activation of an alarm device for which a direct connection has not been authorized in accordance with § 4A-9B must be transmitted to a central station, which, after such verification as is practicable, will transmit the alarm to the Police Department, Fire Department or EMS.
From and after July 1, 1987, unless required by law or regulation, no alarm device which produces an exterior audible signal shall be installed or maintained unless its operation is automatically restricted to a maximum of 15 minutes.
A. 
The Police Department, Fire Department and EMS shall report false alarms to the administrator, based upon the report of the investigating officer.
B. 
It shall be the responsibility of the central station to notify the alarm user or his designated keyholder whenever the central station reports an alarm activation to the Police Department, Fire Department or EMS.
[Amended 7-12-1989, effective 7-28-1989; 2-6-1991, effective 2-22-1991]
A. 
Whenever the administrator determines that a false alarm has occurred, the administrator shall mail a written warning as required by Connecticut General Statutes § 7-148(10) to the alarm user stating that the administrator has made such determination and that a charge will be imposed for the second and each subsequent false alarm within the same fiscal year of the town in the amount of $100 for a Police Department or EMS response and $200 in the case of a Fire Department response.
[Amended 7-8-1998, effective 7-24-1998]
B. 
Upon determining that two or more false alarms have occurred within the same fiscal year of the town with respect to the same alarm user, the administrator shall send a citation in accordance with Connecticut General Statutes § 7-152c to such alarm user, including a notice of the following:
(1) 
The allegation against such alarm user and any charges imposed.
(2) 
His right to contest his liability before a Citation Hearing Officer if he submits a written request for hearing within 10 days of receipt of notice from the municipality.
(3) 
An assessment and judgment entering without further notice, if the alarm user does not make written request for a hearing.
C. 
Any person who requests a hearing shall be given written notice of the date, time and place for the hearing. Such hearing shall be held in accordance with the provisions of Section 7-152c of the Connecticut General Statutes. The Citation Hearing Officer, if he determines that the person requesting the hearing is liable for the violation of this ordinance, shall enter and assess the fines, penalties and costs.
[Amended 7-12-1989, effective 7-28-1989; 2-6-1991, effective 2-22-1991]
A. 
If activations of any alarm device have resulted in five false alarms within a single fiscal year of the town, the administrator shall, when notifying the alarm user of this fifth false alarm and the charge therefor, request that the alarm user arrange to have the alarm device inspected by a contractor, that the alarm device be adjusted or repaired, if necessary, and that the alarm user submit a certification, in writing, from the contractor that he has inspected the alarm device and that it is in proper working order. Such notification by the administrator shall be sent by certified or registered mail, return receipt requested.
B. 
Such certification must be submitted within 15 days from the date of the return receipt for the administrator's letter. However, if the alarm user requests an extension of time to file the report because of absence from the town or other satisfactory reason, the administrator shall extend for a reasonable time the date for filing.
C. 
If the certification is not received within the fifteen-day period or permitted extension thereof, the administrator shall notify the alarm user that:
(1) 
The registration of the alarm device is suspended.
(2) 
Thereafter, the alarm device shall be deemed unregistered and, unless disconnected, subject to the penalties therefor.
(3) 
The alarm user has the right to contest the suspension before a Citation Hearing Officer if he submits a written request within 10 days of receipt of notice from the municipality. The suspension shall be lifted and the alarm user so notified when a satisfactory certification has been received by the administrator.
D. 
Any person who requests a hearing shall be given written notice of the date, time and place for the hearing. Such hearing shall be held in accordance with the provisions of Section 7-152c of the Connecticut General Statutes.
[Amended 7-12-89, effective 7-28-89]
Each notice of a false alarm charge, the reaffirmation of such a charge by the administrator or the suspension of a registration shall refer to and provide instructions concerning the alarm user's right to further recourse.
[Amended 7-12-1989, effective 7-28-1989;[1] 2-6-1991, effective 2-22-1991]
All information in the possession of the administrator, the Citation Hearing Officers, Police Department, Fire Department or EMS concerning particular alarm users and particular alarm devices shall not be divulged without the written consent of the alarm user or users concerned, except information as to the occurrence of false alarms. This provision shall not be construed to limit access to information as provided by law.
[1]
Editor's\Note:\This ordinance also redesignated §§ 4A-17 through 4A-23 as §§ 4A-16 through 4A-22, respectively.
The administrator, Police Department, Fire Department and EMS shall, with respect to each and every false alarm, compile information concerning alarm devices, contractors and sources of false alarms in a form such that the information may be evaluated in terms of relative reliability of different sorts of alarm devices and particular contractors and the frequency of false alarms attributable to different categories of sources.
Notwithstanding the provisions of this ordinance, the town and its departments, officers, agents and employees shall be under no obligation whatsoever concerning the adequacy, operation or maintenance of any alarm device or of the alarm-monitoring facilities at police and fire headquarters. No liability whatsoever is assumed for the failure of such alarm devices or monitoring facilities or for the failure to respond to alarms or for any other omission in connection with such alarm devices.
Any person who performs or causes to be performed any of the following acts shall be subject to a penalty not to exceed $100 for each such act:
A. 
Failure to register an alarm device or give notice of changes in registration information as required by this ordinance.
B. 
Use of an automatic dial alarm or an exterior audible alarm device in violation of the provisions of this ordinance.
Charges for false alarms, appeal fees and penalties for violations shall be collected by the administrator and placed in the general fund.
[Amended 2-6-1991, effective 2-22-1991]
The provisions of this chapter are designated for enforcement in accordance with Section 7-148 and Section 7-152c of the Connecticut General Statutes, and the town may institute civil proceedings to enforce the provisions herein contained.
The provisions of this ordinance shall not apply to alarm devices on premises owned or controlled by the town, including the Board of Education, the State of Connecticut or the Government of the United States nor to alarm devices installed in a licensed motor vehicle, trailer or boat.
The invalidity of any part or parts of this ordinance shall not affect the validity of the remaining parts.
This ordinance shall take effect January 1, 1987.