[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town of Ridgefield as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 4-22-1982 (Ch. 2 1/2 of the 1974 Code)]
The purpose of this article is to control and eliminate, insofar as possible, the safety hazard to the members of the Ridgefield Police Department and to the general public as well as the unnecessary expense to the Town caused by false alarms resulting from the improper installation, maintenance and/or use of burglar alarm devices and to promote the responsible use of burglar alarm devices in Ridgefield.
For the purpose of this article the following definitions shall apply:
- ALARM DEVICE
- Any device, assembly or equipment which, when activated by an illegal entry or other criminal act or other activity requiring urgent attention, is intended or arranged to transmit a signal to police headquarters, or transmit a signal to a person or equipment which relays information to police headquarters, or produces an audible and/or visible signal to which the Police Department is expected to respond.
- ALARM USER
- The owner of any premises situated within the Town of Ridgefield whereat an alarm device is used or installed; provided, however, that a non-owner-occupant who expressly accepts responsibility for an alarm device by registration pursuant to § 112-3 shall be deemed an alarm user.
- FALSE ALARM
- Any activation of an alarm device to which the Police Department responds and which activation is not caused by an illegal entry or other criminal act or other emergency. The words "false alarm" shall not include an activation of an alarm device caused by the malfunction of telephone company equipment or lines or power failure as verified by police headquarters.
Each alarm user shall register his alarm device or devices with the Chief of Police or his designee prior to use, provided that alarm devices in use as of the effective date of this article may be registered no later than 30 days from such date.
Alarm device registration shall be accomplished by the owner filling out a form provided at police headquarters to include such information concerning the identity, business and home address and telephone numbers of the prospective alarm user, the identity of the manufacturer and supplier of the proposed alarm device, and the nature of the proposed alarm device as the Chief of Police may require.
It shall be the responsibility of each alarm user to notify the Chief of Police in writing of changes in registration information.
When the Police Department shall respond to an alarm device which has been activated it shall notify the alarm user who shall be responsible to immediately cause the premises to be secured and the alarm device reset, unless the Police Department has not concluded its investigation of the premises, in which case the alarm user shall cause the premises to be secured and the alarm device reset when so directed by the Police Department.
In the event that the Police Department is unable to ascertain the identity of an alarm user, or is unable to contact the alarm user, or if the alarm user shall fail to arrive at the premises to secure the same and reset the alarm device, the police units at the premises shall, upon concluding their visit to the premises, secure the building in which the alarm device is located in such a manner as conditions shall reasonably permit. The Ridgefield Police Department shall not be required to make further responses to the subject premises until such time as the alarm device has been properly reset and the Police Department is so notified.
In the event that the Police Department shall respond to more than one false alarm being generated from or with regard to the same premises by dispatching a police officer or officers thereto in any single calendar month, the alarm user shall be fined the amount of $25 for the second and third such false alarm and the amount of $50 for the fourth and subsequent such false alarms in any single calendar month.
In the event that the Chief of Police or his designee should determine that the Police Department has previously responded to a false alarm at the same premises within the same calendar month, a police officer shall, upon or subsequent to the Police Department's having responded to a second or subsequent false alarm in the same calendar month, serve upon the alarm user, or leave at the premises of the alarm user, a notice directing the alarm user to appear at the Police Department on or before a certain date specified in such notice, being at least 15 days subsequent to the service of such notice, to pay the amount specified therein in accordance with Subsection A hereof.
In the event that the alarm user wishes to contest the levying of said fine or the amount thereof, he shall file a notice of appeal with the Chief of Police within the aforesaid fifteen-day period referred to in Subsection B. Such notice shall include information to show that the activation of the alarm device was not a false alarm or was not a second or subsequent false alarm within the same calendar month.
Upon receipt of a timely appeal from a false alarm charge as aforesaid, the Chief of Police shall forward said appeal with all supporting documents to the Chairman of the Board of Police Commissioners of the Town of Ridgefield. The Board of Police Commissioners shall, at its next regularly scheduled meeting, consider the appeal; provided, however, that the Board of Police Commissioners shall first mail notice of the time and place of such meeting to the alarm user who shall have the right to be heard in support of his appeal.
The Board of Police Commissioners, upon considering all information presented by the Chief of Police or his designee and by the alarm user, shall affirm, rescind, or modify the fine levied against the alarm user to conform to Subsection A.
All fines collected as the result of false alarms pursuant to this article shall be deposited to the general funds of the Town of Ridgefield.
Notwithstanding the provisions of this article, the Town, 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 failure to respond to alarms, or for any other act or omission in connection with such alarm devices. Each alarm user shall be deemed to hold and save harmless the Town, its Departments, officers, agents and employees from liability in connection with the alarm user's alarm device.
The Town of Ridgefield may institute civil proceedings and/or applicable criminal proceedings to enforce the provisions and purposes of this article.
The provisions of this article shall not apply to alarm devices on premises owned or controlled by the Town, including the Board of Education.
[Adopted 4-13-1988 (Ch. 4 1/2, Art. II of the 1974 Code); amended 5-23-1990]
The proliferation of fire alarm systems monitored by the Ridgefield Fire Department has imposed an increasing burden on said Department. In addition, the erroneous and mistaken use of fire alarm systems and those that are not installed, maintained or operated properly has resulted in increased service calls by the Fire Department and is creating a hazard to the members of the Department and to the general public. The purpose of this article is to regulate the use of said alarm systems and to reduce the incidence of false alarms.
All alarm systems in the Town of Ridgefield that transmit a signal to the Fire Department or a central monitoring system are subject to a local alarm ordinance. The Town of Ridgefield and Board of Education shall only be exempt from all fines.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ALARM SYSTEM
- Any assembly of equipment, mechanical or electrical, arranged to transmit a signal to the Department or to a central monitoring system of the occurrence of a fire emergency to which fire fighters are expected to respond.
- AUTOMATIC DIALING DEVICE
- Any alarm system which automatically sends over regular telephone lines, by direct connection or otherwise, a prerecorded voice message or coded signal indicating the existence of a fire emergency.
- CHIEF OF THE DEPARTMENT
- The Chief of the Ridgefield Fire Department or such other officer as the Chief shall appoint as his designee.
- The Ridgefield Fire Department.
- Any person, firm, corporation or other entity.
No person shall place any alarm system in service or cause any such system to be placed within the Town of Ridgefield until such time as said alarm system has been registered with the Department and a permit for said system issued. Any alarm system in service on the effective date of this article shall be registered with the Department and a permit for said system issued. Any existing alarm system in service on the effective date of this article shall be registered with the Department within 120 days of said effective date. All new systems shall be registered with the Department prior to being placed in service. Alarm system permits may be obtained by completion of a registration form provided by the Department. It shall be the responsibility of each permit holder to notify the Department in writing within 48 hours of any change in registration information. Any person who violates this section will be fined $100.
In addition to any other information requested on the registration form, the registrant shall submit the names, addresses and telephone numbers of at least two persons who shall have access to said building and alarm system and the knowledge and ability to make, and the responsibility for making, said alarm secure in case of activation.
In addition, registration information shall include the name, address and telephone number of the person responsible for servicing the alarm system.
Except for one- and two-family dwellings, the following regulations shall apply:
No alarm system shall be installed until the plans and specifications relating to said alarm system have been approved by the Chief of the Department.
The location of alarm system components shall be provided on a floor plan to be kept at the site of the alarm system in or adjacent to the alarm system panel.
Prior to the issuance of a permit, any permit applicant may install a key box in a location approved by the Fire Department. Said key box shall contain keys to the structure served by the alarm system.
Unless required by law, no alarm system which produces an exterior audible signal shall be installed unless its operation is automatically restricted to a maximum of 30 minutes. Any exterior audible alarm system in use as of the effective date of this article must comply with this section within 120 days of such date.
All equipment and installation for fire alarm systems shall meet the standards of the Connecticut Fire Code and the National Fire Protection Association.
The Department has established a policy that no automatic dialing devices for signaling of fire emergency shall be connected to 911 or the Fire Department directly. All such automatic dialing devices shall transmit an emergency message to another location where an authorized person is available to respond to the emergency message and to secure the premises in which the alarm system is installed and all information, if available, for Fire Department use. All central monitoring companies shall comply with the Fire Department's request for information.
The Chief shall establish a policy of gaining entry to all buildings to check for fire if a fire alarm is sounding.
Except as provided in this section and in § 112-21, when any alarm system is activated, the Department shall respond to the alarm and notify the person or persons listed in the registration form as having responsibility for securing said alarm system. Said person shall immediately go to the place where the alarm is sounding to meet the fire officers, secure the building, and reset the alarm. Should any person responsible for securing and resetting any alarm system, when notified of its activation, refuse to respond pursuant to this section, or not be available, the officers on the scene shall check the property thoroughly and secure the location as much as possible. The Department shall not be required to make any further responses to that building, dwelling or place until such time as said alarm system has been properly reset.
If any dwelling, building or place is required by law to maintain a fire alarm system, as herein defined, and if said alarm system fails to function and cannot be returned to service within a reasonable time, and if in the opinion of the Chief of the Department the absence of a properly functioning alarm system may pose a threat to life and property, the Chief of the Department or the Fire Marshal may require the special duty assignment of one or more fire fighters to patrol the premises until the alarm system has been returned to service. The cost of any special duty assignment shall be the responsibility of the alarm system permit holder. Payment for such special duty services shall be made at such rates and in accordance with such terms as are established pursuant to the collective bargaining agreement then in effect between the Town of Ridgefield and Local 1739, LAFF, ALF-CIO; provided, however, that notwithstanding the provisions of the immediately preceding sentence, payments shall be in an amount not less than that required to reimburse fire fighters at 1 1/2 times their regular salary for a period of four hours or the actual number of hours worked, whichever is greater.
No alarm system shall be activated by error or mistake, or malfunction in any dwelling, building or place when no fire emergency which results in the response of the Department exists.
The following fines and charges shall be imposed upon the alarm system permit holder for activation of any alarm system by error or mistake or malfunction, as the case may be, in violation of Subsection A hereof:
Up to three such false alarms may occur in any calendar year without the imposition of a penalty.
The fourth such false fire alarm and every such subsequent false fire alarm during any calendar year shall result in a fine of $100 per false alarm. In addition, such persons shall be responsible for and shall bear the verifiable expense of responding to any such false alarm. Said expenses shall be determined by the Chief of the Department and billed to the responsible party or parties; provided, however, that no such charges, exclusive of any penalty imposed, shall exceed $300 per response.
After the first and second false alarm, a written warning shall be sent to the alarm system permit holder.
After the third such false alarm, a written order shall be issued to the alarm system permit holder requiring the alarm system to be inspected and the Department notified of corrective action taken.
A thirty-day grace period will be granted for all newly installed fire alarm systems. Additional time may be granted by the Chief of the Department.
No person shall knowingly or intentionally activate any alarm system when no fire emergency exists. Any person who violates this subsection shall be fined $100 and, where applicable, may additionally be subject to prosecution under the Connecticut General Statutes for falsely reporting an incident. In addition, such persons shall be responsible for and shall bear the verifiable expense of responding to any such false alarm. Said expense shall be determined by the Chief of the Department and billed to the responsible party or parties; provided, however, that no such charge, exclusive of any penalty imposed, shall exceed $300 per response.
No person shall knowingly or intentionally test, repair, adjust, alter, or perform maintenance on an alarm system, or cause the same to be tested, repaired, adjusted, altered or maintained, if such action could result in a false alarm, without first notifying the Department of such test, repair, adjustment, alteration or maintenance. The Chief of the Department may restrict or refuse to permit the testing, repair, adjustment, alteration or maintenance. Any person who violates this subsection will be issued one written registered warning. The second and subsequent false alarms shall be fined $100 and shall bear the verifiable expense of the responding to any such false alarm. Said expense shall be determined by the Chief of the Department and billed to the responsible party or parties; provided, however, that no such charge, exclusive of any penalty imposed, shall exceed $300 per response.
Fines may be paid only during normal Town business hours at the Department. Data information is also subject to these hours.
If any person fails to pay within 30 days any fine or charge imposed, interest shall accrue at the highest rate allowed by law. A lien may be obtained on the property protected by the alarm system if any person fails to pay any fine or charge within 60 days, in addition to criminal enforcement which might be initiated for delinquent fines.
The Town shall be under no duty or obligation to maintain a dispatch panel, communication console, receiving module or other specialized equipment for the monitoring of alarm systems. The installation and maintenance of alarm systems permitted by this article shall be made at no cost to the Town.
No liability whatsoever is assumed by the Town of Ridgefield for the failure to respond to alarms or for any other act or omission in connection with such alarm systems. Each alarm system permit holder shall be deemed to hold and save harmless the Town, its Department, officers, agents and employees from liability in connection with the permit holder's alarm system.