[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Northampton as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Article I False Intrusion Alarms
Article II Life Safety Alarm Systems
[Adopted 6-18-1992 (Ch. 14, § 14-20, of the 1977 Code); amended in its entirety 12-2-1993]
If any residence or place of business has an intrusion alarm which results in a notification to the Northampton Police Department of an alarm at said residence or place of business, the owner of the property or the tenant in possession, whomever has control of said alarm, shall be subject to a fine as set forth in Chapter 40, Enforcement, for each false alarm after the first three false alarms in any calendar year.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- FALSE ALARM
- The activation of an alarm by any cause other than the detection of an intrusion or an attempted intrusion.
[Adopted 6-15-2000 (Ch. 11, Art. V, of the 1977 Code)]
This article shall be known as the "City of Northampton Fire Alarm Ordinance."
The purpose of this article is to provide a municipal fire alarm system, allowing alarm users a voluntary means of compliance with the supervision requirements of the State Building Code (780 CMR).
This article shall control the following:
The lease, purchase, and donation of a municipal fire alarm system.
The establishment of fees for connection to the municipal fire alarm system.
The connection of alarm equipment to the municipal fire alarm system.
The establishment of requirements for Fire Department key boxes, emergency information, and signage.
Where there is a conflict between this article and the State Building Code, or other state code or General Law, the provisions of the State Building Code, other state code or General Law shall control, but only to the extent of said conflict.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ALARM USER or USER
- Any person on whose premises an alarm system is maintained within the City except for alarm systems on motor vehicles or proprietary systems. Excluded from this definition and from the coverage of this article are central station personnel and persons who use alarm systems to alert or signal persons within the premises in which the alarm system is located. If such a system employs an audible signal emitting sounds or a flashing light or beacon designed to signal persons outside the premises, such a system shall be within the definitions of "alarm system" as that term is used in this article and shall be subject to this article.
- ALARM COMPANY
- Corporation, partnership, sole proprietor or other legal entity selected by competitive bid to furnish, install, and maintain the Northampton municipal fire alarm system.
- AUTHORITY HAVING JURISDICTION
- The municipal approving authority which is responsible for response to the specific alarm signal that the system is designed to transmit.
- The City of Northampton.
- EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES
- Emergency medical care and ambulance services offered within the City of Northampton.
- FALSE ALARM
- An activation of an alarm system due to mechanical failure, malfunction, improper installation or negligence of the user of an alarm system, his employees or agents or any act which produces any signal resulting in the response of the Fire Services when in fact there has been no medical emergency or detection of fire, smoke, heat, water flow or other condition designed to be detected by a fire, security, or emergency medical alarm system. Excluded from this definition is activation of alarm systems caused by natural disasters.
- FIRE CHIEF
- The Chief of the Northampton Fire Department.
- FIRE DEPARTMENT KEY BOX
- A secured key box manufactured by Knox Company, Irvine, CA, or other company, approved by the Fire Chief, and located on the exterior of all structures with fire alarm systems to which only the Fire Department has keyed access.
- FIRE PREVENTION OFFICER
- A sworn Fire Department person designated by the Fire Chief to provide the lead role in fire alarm and fire prevention matters.
- FIRE SERVICES
- The Northampton Fire Department.
- GRAPHIC REPRESENTATION
- An illustrated representation of the structure which must be posted at both the fire alarm control panel and at the fire alarm annunciator. This representation must be permanently mounted in a protected enclosure and conform to the standards outlined in this article.
- NORTHAMPTON MUNICIPAL FIRE ALARM SYSTEM
- The computerized instrumentation on the alarm consoles at the receiving terminal of a signal that, through both visual and audible signals, indicates activation of an alarm system, securing of an alarm signal and which indicates supervisory trouble. These receiving units will be located at each fire station and in the public safety communications center.
- NOTICE OF VIOLATION
- A legal notice issued by the Fire Chief under state law regulation or this article which indicates noncompliance with state law, regulation or this article. This is also known as an "order of notice."
- NUISANCE ALARM
- Anything, which annoys, injures or endangers the comfort, repose, health, or safety of any considerable number of persons of any community or neighborhood.
- PUBLIC SAFETY COMMUNICATIONS CENTER
- The primary public safety answering point (PSAP) for the City.
The City shall maintain a municipal life safety alarm system which shall be the sole life safety alarm system for the City of Northampton. The life safety alarm system shall be UL-listed and mirror the requirements of CMR 780 (State Building Code), and shall have the ability to transmit data to a redundant or secondary location. This equipment shall be maintained and operated in the Northampton Public Safety Communications Center. Secondary to a bid process, an alarm company authorized by the manufacturer of said equipment shall be selected to maintain, service, repair, and/or upgrade the alarm receiving, communication equipment and billing for the alarm monitoring as requested by the Fire Chief.
The bid process will be based on a firm's ability to provide service, repair, response time, programming and maintenance of the system. The bid will be a percentage of revenue collected, which will be billed to the Fire Department quarterly.
In consideration of this compensation, the firm selected will configure, program, test, inspect, maintain and repair said equipment for the duration of the agreement. All costs, including replacement parts, and labor will be contained within the bid price. Any single repair exceeding $5,000 of equipment will be the responsibility of the City. In this case, the vendor will bear the cost of the initial $5,000, and the City will be invoiced for the amount exceeding $5,000. Equipment to be maintained will include alarm system receivers, radio receivers, computer equipment and fire station alerting systems.
The municipal life safety alarm system will utilize current technology of digital dialers which transmit alarms over telephone lines, transitioning the system to wireless two-way transmitting of alarms. Alarms will be transmitted from subscriber's location utilizing radio transceivers to transmit signals through a radio matrix back to the Northampton Public Safety Dispatch Center. Current subscribers will still be able to utilize digital dialers utilizing telephone lines. Alarm system transition will be as follows: for the years 2009 to 2014, digital dialers and wireless transmitting will be accepted; in the year 2015, the entire system will transition to wireless transmitting of alarms.
System components installed in all alarm systems or additions to existing systems shall conform to the written alarm specifications of the Northampton Fire Service and this section. In addition, all systems shall be compatible with the alarm-receiving equipment and consist of equipment designed for the use for which it was intended and shall be approved for such use by an independent testing laboratory and the authority having jurisdiction. Existing alarm systems shall be maintained in accordance with current National Fire Protection Association Standard 72.
Bid specifications will outline response time for service, programming, maintenance and the billing parameters of alarm system.
Other methods of connection will be accepted, provided they meet the requirements of CMR 780. The fee for this service is as set forth in Chapter 174, Fees, and shall be adjusted annually by CPI unless said adjustment is waived by the Public Safety Committee, along with a percentage fee paid to an outside vendor as determined through the bidding and negotiation process.
Billing for the monitoring service will be quarterly, billed in advance, with proceeds deposited in the Fire Department fire alarm revolving account. The firm selected to do the billing will invoice all nonmunicipal alarm users one quarter in advance. Housing Authority properties will be billed at 50% of the current rate for monitoring. The billing firm will invoice the City for a percent bid of actual revenue collected on a quarterly basis.
The alarm company shall collect an annual fee as set forth in Chapter 174, Fees, with an annual adjustment equal to the consumer price index, for all nonmunicipal accounts. The Fire Chief shall approve this fee, review an annual report, and forward the report to the Fire Committee.
Each nonmunicipal subscriber will be required to pay a programming fee as set forth in Chapter 174, Fees, for all new connections payable to the Fire Department Revolving Fund. First-time connections will be done free of charge.
Each nonmunicipal subscriber will be required to pay the alarm company for services rendered with respect to the municipal alarm-receiving equipment. Such services shall be set forth in the form of a written contract between the alarm company and each subscriber. After recovery of the initial capital outlay for the alarm receivers, interest and ongoing expenses, the alarm company shall return 1/2 of all fees collected to the Fire Service for deposit into a revolving fund to be utilized to maintain and upgrade this system, fire service safety, data and communications systems and other equipment utilized to receive and respond to these alarm signals.
Fire alarm permit and inspection fee as set forth in Chapter 174, Fees.
Fire alarm reinspection fee as set forth in Chapter 174, Fees.
Any user of an alarm system which transmits a false alarm in excess of three in a twelve-month period shall be assessed a fine in accordance with Chapter 40, Enforcement.
All false alarm fees assessed under this section shall be paid to the City Collector pursuant to MGL c. 40, § 21D, as the same may be amended from time to time, and deposited into the Fire Department Revolving Account.
Upon failure of the user to pay two consecutive fees assessed hereunder within 60 days of assessment, the Fire Chief may pursue court action pursuant to MGL c. 40, § 21D, as the same may be amended from time to time.
All fees collected for smoke detector or fire alarm permits and inspection services shall be paid to the Fire Department Revolving Account.
Every municipal fire alarm system user shall submit to the Fire Prevention Officer the names and telephone numbers of at least two other persons who can be reached at any time, day or night, and 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. In addition, said user shall provide current information relative to hazardous operations and access keys.
All alarm users of emergency medical or nonresidential fire alarm systems shall equip the alarmed premises with an approved Fire Department key box of sufficient size to hold all pertinent data and provide the Fire Department access to the facility in compliance with state law. All Fire Department key boxes are to have a red locator strobe light centered over them and shall contain a complete set of access keys and a typewritten laminated list of emergency contacts. In the event that the facility has a contingency plan, a copy of this plan shall be stored on site in a Fire Department key box approved by the Fire Prevention Officer.
A graphic representation of the structure in conformance with the following requirements shall be fabricated as approved by the Fire Chief and permanently mounted next to both the annunciator panel and the FACP. All graphics are to utilize the following graphic color-coding system as follows:
All graphics shall indicate the location of the fire alarm annunciator panel, the fire alarm control panel, the sprinkler riser, and the Fire Department connection. In addition, the wording "You are here" in one-fourth-inch lettering with an arrow pointing to the annunciator location shall be required.
All graphic representations shall be framed or mounted behind a secured piece of clear, fire-retardant polycarbonate or Lexan.
Prior to the initiation of any fire alarm system installation or alteration, the firm contracted by the alarm user shall apply to the Fire Chief for a fire alarm permit (527 CMR 10.03(15), an electrical permit (527 CMR 12) from the Electrical Inspector, and a building permit (780 CMR) from the Building Commissioner. At the time of fire alarm permit application, the contracted company will submit fire alarm prints that are drawn to scale and utilize current design and engineering standards. The Fire Chief or his designee shall have 30 days to review, comment on, issue a fire alarm permit or reject the plans. All plans submitted must include the specifications of all devices that the contracted firm proposes to install. If the Fire Chief or his designee rejects these plans, he must reference in writing the basis of the rejection.
At the completion of the fire alarm system installation, the fire alarm contractor shall obtain a final electrical inspection by the Inspector of Wires, perform a one-hundred-percent test as outlined by NFPA 72 of all initiating and control devices. At the completion of this testing process, the fire alarm contractor shall furnish the Fire Chief or his designee with a letter of one-hundred-percent testing and request a final inspection for system approval. The first inspection will be provided, as part of the fire alarm permit fee, and each reinspection will be performed at an additional fee per inspection.
When emergency messages are received by the Public Safety Communications Center that are a result of a false alarm, the Fire Chief shall order the immediate maintenance pursuant to 527 CMR, in such a manner as to reduce the occurrence of false alarms.
After the Fire Services have recorded three separate false alarms within any twelve-month period from an alarm system, the Fire Chief shall notify the alarm user by certified mail of such fact and require said user to submit within 15 days after receipt of such notice certification indicating that the problem has been identified and corrected.
In the event that the Fire Chief records four or more false alarms in any twelve-month period related to fire alarm system failure. The Fire Chief may order the replacement of the system or component, as necessary to prevent the occurrence of false alarms.
Whoever shall violate, or cause or permit any person in their employ to violate any provision of this article shall be punished by a fine as set forth in Chapter 40, Enforcement.
Each day during which the said violation continues shall constitute a separate offense.
The Fire Chief shall cause any person violating this article to receive a notice as required by MGL c. 40, § 21D, as the same may be amended from time to time.
All fines assessed under this section shall be paid to the City Collector pursuant to MGL c. 40, § 21D, as the same may be amended from time to time and deposited into the Fire Department Revolving Account.
Upon failure of the user to pay two consecutive fines assessed hereunder within 60 days of assessment, the Fire Chief may pursue court action pursuant to MGL c. 40, § 21D, as the same may be amended from time to time.