Town of Harwich, MA
Barnstable County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Special Town Meeting of the Town of Harwich 5-5-2009 by Art. 1. Amendments noted where applicable.]
For the purpose of this chapter the following terms shall have the following meanings:
ALARM SYSTEM
An assembly of equipment and devices or a single device, such as a solid-state unit which plugs directly into a one-hundred-ten-volt AC line, arranged to signal the presence of a hazard or emergency requiring urgent attention and to which police, emergency medical personnel or firefighters are expected to respond. Fire alarm systems and alarm systems which monitor temperature, smoke, humidity or any other conditions not directly related to the detection of an unauthorized intrusion into a premises or an attempted break-in at a premises are included.
A. 
The activation of an alarm system by an agency for other than a bona fide hazard or emergency of a type which the system is designed to warn against. For purpose of this definition, activation of alarm systems by acts of vandals, by acts of God, including but not limited to hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and similar weather or atmospheric disturbances, or by power failure shall not be deemed to be a false alarm.
B. 
Any signal or oral communication transmitted to the Police or Fire Department requesting, requiring or resulting in a response on the part of the Police or Fire Department in the absence of any bona fide hazard or emergency.
MECHANICAL PROTECTION DEVICE
An electrically operated instrument composed of sensory apparatus and related hardware which automatically sends over regular telephone lines, by direct connection or otherwise, a prerecorded voice alarm upon receipt of a stimulus from the sensory apparatus that has detected a condition inherently characteristic of a fire.
USER
The owner and occupant, and their agents, of the premises containing the alarm system, whether residential, commercial or otherwise.
It shall be unlawful to install a mechanical protection device that is automatically keyed to and/or activates the telephone (numbers) lines controlled by and/or listed to the Harwich Fire Department. All such devices installed before the enactment of this bylaw shall be removed within 60 days thereafter.
A. 
The owner of any building which has a fire alarm system or other fire protection system or medical alarm which transmits an alarm off the premises shall be required to:
(1) 
Have a permit to install or alter the system.
(2) 
Provide a secure key box installed in a location accessible to the Fire Department in case of emergency. The key box shall contain keys to the door(s) and fire alarm control panel and any other keys necessary to operate or service fire protection or medical systems. The key box shall be a type approved by the Chief of the Harwich Fire Department and shall be located and installed as approved by the Chief.
B. 
Any building owner violating this bylaw after receiving due notice by the Fire Department shall be subject to a fine of $100. Owners of existing systems will have six months after adoption of this bylaw to bring their premises up to code.
Every user shall submit to the Police and/or Fire Chief the names and telephone numbers of at least two other persons who are authorized to respond to an emergency signal transmitted by an alarm system and who can open the premises wherein the alarm system is installed.
A. 
All alarm systems except fire alarm systems installed after the effective date of this bylaw which use an audible horn or bell shall be equipped with a device that will shut off such horn or bell within 10 minutes after activation of the system.
B. 
Any alarm system emitting a continuous and uninterrupted signal for more than 15 minutes between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. which cannot be shut off or otherwise curtailed due to the absence or unavailability of the alarm user or those persons designated by him under § 14-4 of this chapter and which disturbs the peace, comfort or repose of a community, a neighborhood or a considerable number of inhabitants of the area where the alarm system is located shall constitute a public nuisance and be subject to the penalties described in § 14-6 below. Upon receiving complaints regarding such a continuous and uninterrupted signal, the Police or Fire Chief shall endeavor to contact the alarm user or members of the alarm user's family or those persons designated by the alarm user under § 14-4 of this chapter in an effort to abate the nuisance. The Police and/or Fire Chief shall cause to be recorded the names and addresses of all complainants and the time each complaint was made.
A. 
Upon receipt of three or more false alarms from the same system within a calendar year, the Police or Fire Chief may, in writing, order:
(1) 
The user to discontinue the use of the alarm.
(2) 
That any direct connections to the Police or Fire Department be discontinued.
(3) 
That any further connection to the communications console in the police or fire station be contingent upon the user equipping any alarm system with a device that will shut off any audible horn or bell within 10 minutes after activation of the system.
B. 
The user shall be assessed a fee as established annually by the Board of Selectmen, the Police Chief and the Fire Chief as a false alarm service fee for each false alarm in excess of three occurring within a calendar year. All fees assessed and collected hereunder shall be paid to the Town Treasurer for deposit in the general fund.
C. 
Whoever violates a written order of the Police or Fire Chief as set forth in Subsection A shall be punished by a fine of $50 for each offense, and each day a violation continues shall be considered a separate offense.
A. 
It shall be unlawful for any person to intentionally call in or cause to be called in or in any way reported a false fire or medical emergency alarm knowing the same to be false, and it shall be unlawful for any person to intentionally tamper with any device designed to give or transmit a fire or medical emergency alarm with the intention of disabling said device or causing said device to transmit a false alarm.
B. 
Any parent or legal guardian having by law responsibility for the care and supervision of a minor child under the age of 18 years shall be liable for violation of Subsection A committed by such minor child, provided that such violation is the second or subsequent offense committed by said child and provided further that said person has received written notice of the previous violation from the Fire Department or other responsible public officer or official; provided, however, that such parental liability shall be enforced only through the noncriminal enforcement procedures established under this bylaw.
C. 
Whoever violates any provision of Subsection A or B shall be punished by a fine of $200 for each offense. Said provisions of this bylaw may be enforced by the Fire Chief or his duly authorized designee as well as all officers of the Town of Harwich having police powers.