[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of DuBois 7-24-1995 by Ord. No. 1544 (Ch. 13, Part 2, of the 1995 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
The purpose of this chapter is to set forth regulations governing burglary, robbery, fire or medical alarm systems, businesses and agents within the City, to require permits and fees therefor and to establish fines for violation thereof.
For the purpose of this chapter, certain words and phrases shall be construed as herein set forth, unless it is apparent from the context that a different meaning is intended:
- A communication to a public safety agency, indicating that a crime, fire or other emergency situation warranting immediate action by the public safety agency has occurred or is occurring.
- ALARM AGENT/TECHNICIAN
- Any person who is employed by an alarm business, either directly or indirectly, whose duties include any of the following: selling, maintaining, leasing, servicing, repairing, altering, replacing, removing or installing on or in any building, structure or facility any alarm system.
- ALARM SUPPLIER
- The business by any individual, partnership, corporation or other entity of selling, leasing, maintaining, servicing, repairing, altering, replacing, moving or installing any alarm system or causing any alarm system to be sold, leased, maintained, serviced, repaired, altered, replaced, moved or installed in or on any building, structure or facility, or who respond to or monitor such alarm systems. Exemption: the provisions of this chapter do not include a business which engages in the manufacture or sale of an alarm system unless such business services, installs, monitors or responds to alarm systems.
- ALARM SYSTEM
- Any assembly or equipment — mechanical, electrical or battery-operated — arranged to signal the occurrence of a police, fire, hazard or medical emergency requiring urgent attention and to which police or fire units are expected to respond. Exceptions: (1) manual fire alarm pull stations are not regulated by this chapter; and (2) residential smoke detectors that do not transmit an alarm signal off premises are not regulated by this chapter. Devices which are not designated or used to register alarms that are audible, visible or perceptible outside of the protected building, structure or facility are not included within this definition. An alarm system includes all of the necessary equipment designed and installed for the detection of burglary, robbery, fire, need for medical assistance or other hazard in a single building, structure or facility or for alerting others of the commission of an unlawful act within a building, structure or facility, or both.
- ANSWERING SERVICE
- A service whereby trained employees, in attendance at all times, receiving prerecorded voice messages from automatic dialing devices reporting an emergency at a stated location, where such employees have the duty to relay immediately, by live voice, any such emergency message over a trunk line to the communications center of the police or fire agency. They shall include monitoring systems maintained by the alarm industry or alarm business.
- 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 a criminal act or other emergency requiring police agency or fire agency response.
- AUTOMATIC DIALING DEVICE
- A device which is interconnected to a telephone line and is programmed to transmit a signal by a voice or coded message that indicates that an emergency condition exists and the need for an emergency response is required.
- CHIEF OF POLICE
- The appointed head of the City of DuBois Police Department or his designated representative.
- The City of DuBois.
- A police, fire, hazard or medical emergency.
- A. An alarm activated in the absence of an emergency, whether willfully or by inadvertence, negligence or unintentional act, including the malfunction of the alarm system; 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 hazard to which the police or fire agency responds. Exceptions are: an alarm caused by the 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.
- B. A false alarm shall be considered to have been caused by an act of God when it happens by the direct, immediate and exclusive operation of the forces of nature, uncontrolled or uninfluenced by the power of man and without human intervention, and includes, but shall not be limited to, false alarms caused by wind, snow, storm, lightning, flood and power failure.
- FIRE DEPARTMENT
- The City of DuBois Volunteer Fire Department.
- To use a telephone line and equipment for transmitting a message, either directly or indirectly, by an automatic dialing device.
- NONRESIDENT PERMITTEE
- A nonresident household or business located outside the corporate limits of the City of DuBois, which has met all the obligations and requirements of this chapter and has been issued a permit hereunder.
- Written authorization granted to an applicant by the City upon payment of the required fee.
- Any person who shall be granted a permit as provided in this chapter and his agents and representatives.
- An individual, corporation, partnership, incorporated association or similar entity.
- POLICE AND FIRE COMMUNICATIONS CENTER
- The police and fire communications rooms and other rooms which house communications equipment.
- POLICE DEPARTMENT
- The City of DuBois Police Department.
- PROFESSIONAL ALARM LICENSE
- Legal document authorizing a person the right to sell, install and service an alarm system within the City of DuBois.
- RESIDENT PERMITTEE
- A resident household or business of the City of DuBois, which has met all the obligations and requirements of this chapter and has been issued a permit hereunder.
- Any person who purchases, leases, contracts for or otherwise obtains an alarm system or contracts for the servicing or maintenance of an alarm system from an alarm business.
A permit and/or license shall be governed by the following requirements on and after the effective date of this chapter:
An alarm system permit shall be required for each structure having an alarm system or multiple alarm systems. Subsection D of this section regarding alarm system permits shall apply.
A building permit shall be required for the installation of an alarm system, unless the system is battery-powered.
An annual professional alarm license shall be required for persons selling, installing or servicing alarm systems within the City. Subsection C of this section regarding professional alarm licenses shall apply.
The owner or occupant of the structure is exempt from an alarm system permit and professional alarm license when installing an alarm system, provided that: the purpose of the audible alarm is to notify the occupants of the structure of an emergency situation; the audible alarm does not sound outside the structure (no external speakers); the internal signal emitted by the audible alarm does not exceed 90 decibels at the property line; and the alarm signal device, when activated, notifies only the owner or occupant when they are not on the premises.
The City shall be issued an alarm system permit, where applicable, and shall be exempt from any alarm system permit fees.
Exterior alarms. On and after the effective date of this chapter, owners or users of exterior audible alarms must equip such exterior audible alarms with a timing mechanism that will disengage the exterior audible alarm after a maximum of 15 minutes, except for water-flow alarms. Exterior audible alarms without such a timing mechanism shall be unlawful in the City and must be disconnected by the owner or user within 60 days from the effective date of this chapter.
Automatic dialing devices. On and after the effective date of this chapter, no automatic dialing devices may be keyed to the police and fire communications center.
Professional alarm license.
On and after the effective date of this chapter, no one except an alarm supplier, holding a valid professional alarm license (hereinafter referred to as "license") from the City or its designee, shall sell, install or service any alarm system within the City.
The City shall issue a license to an alarm supplier meeting the requirements of this section upon the filing of the required application and payment of a fee. The fee for such license shall be in an amount as established, from time to time, by resolution of the City Council.
Each license shall be an annual license and bear the signature of the Police Chief. A copy of the license shall be physically displayed upon each of the premises using the alarm system and shall be available for inspection by the police or by an authorized code inspector. A license is not required where no alarm system permit is required.
The alarm supplier applying for a license shall furnish the Chief an insurance certificate on an annual basis confirming that the alarm supplier has in force general liability insurance coverage in an amount not less than $300,000 for each occurrence. The alarm supplier who self-insures such coverage shall furnish the evidence of financial ability.
No corporation, sole proprietor, partner, joint venturer, trustee, executor, administrator, employee, fiduciary or stockholder with a 5% or greater interest in a corporation (except a corporation whose stock is publicly traded and registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission or with a state securities commission) applying for a license shall have been convicted of a felony or pleaded nolo contendere to a felony charge or indictment.
Alarm suppliers shall demonstrate a working knowledge of the burglar, fire or supervisor alarm systems that they sell and shall be authorized by the manufacturer of the alarm equipment to sell, install and maintain the same.
A license shall be revoked or renewal denied when:
The alarm supplier fails to meet the requirements necessary to obtain a license.
The license fee is not paid.
The Chief of Police, Fire Chief or their designee has reason to believe the alarm supplier's installations are the cause of false alarms.
The alarm supplier fails to provide emergency service as required by this chapter.
Every alarm supplier that installs one or more alarm systems in the City shall make service available directly or through an agent on a twenty-four-hours-per-day basis seven days a week to repair in a timely manner such devices and to correct malfunctions as they occur. Any person using an alarm system shall make arrangements for service to be available for such device on a twenty-four-hours-per-day, seven-days-per-week basis.
Every alarm supplier, who after the effective date of this sells or leases an alarm system in the City, shall furnish operating instructions and manual to the buyer or lessee.
Alarm system permit.
The user's fee for an alarm system permit shall be obtained by or on behalf of the owner of the premises upon which the alarm system is installed prior to the installation of the alarm. The fee for such permit will be in an amount as established, from time to time, by resolution of the City Council.
The alarm system permit shall bear the signature of the Police Chief and be valid for one year from that issue date or until revoked by the Chief. The permit shall be physically present upon the premises using the alarm system and shall be available for inspection by the Chief or by an authorized code inspector.
The alarm system 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 alarm supplier or other entity responsible for maintaining the system (if applicable), the type of alarm (fire, burglary, holdup, medical), 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 during the life of the permit.
Users who fail to obtain an alarm permit within 60 days after the alarm system is activated, or within 60 days after the alarm system is activated, or within 60 days after the effective date of this chapter, shall, in addition to the permit fee, be liable to pay a late charge penalty in an amount as established, from time to time, by resolution of the City Council for each calendar month or part thereof that the permit is not obtained.
It shall be unlawful for a property owner, lessee of property or a person otherwise occupying a premises within the City of DuBois to put an alarm device into operation on his premises or to allow an alarm device to be put into operation on his premises without first obtaining an alarm device permit from the Police Department.
Every alarm supplier selling, leasing or furnishing to any user, or a user who privately installs an alarm system which is located on premises within the City, shall:
Be permitted to install only equipment that is listed by Underwriters' Laboratories, Incorporated, as being electrically safe. Wiring for the alarm system must conform with all applicable municipal codes.
Be required to cause each alarm system installed to be provided with standby battery power, which shall automatically and immediately take over in the event of a power failure without initiating an alarm except for a trouble signal.
Be required to install equipment in such a way as to neutralize electrical surges on the alarm system.
Be required to deactivate any alarm system within a reasonable period of time when multiple false alarms are received.
The sensory mechanism used in connection with an alarm device must be adjusted to suppress false indications of fire or intrusion, so that the alarm device will not be activated by impulses due to transient pressure change in water pipes, short flashes of light, wind noises (such as the rattling or vibrating of doors or windows), vehicular noise adjacent to the premises or other forces unrelated to genuine alarm situations.
Application for a permit for the installation of an alarm system and subsequent installation of such a system pursuant to a permit issued or the continuance of the use of any alarm system 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 by the Police Chief or his representative.
All such entries upon the premises where an alarm system is installed, and all such inspections of the installation and operation of alarm systems, shall be at reasonable times and upon reasonable notice, except in emergency situations.
Each alarm business, alarm agent or permittee shall display to the Police Chief, when requested, the record of inspection or repair of an installed alarm system.
Each permittee shall maintain each alarm system in good working order, providing the necessary service to prevent false alarms, to prevent malfunctions endangering persons or property, and to prevent other malfunctions.
Each permittee shall cause each alarm system to be inspected regularly by a representative of the company with a service contract or other person qualified to inspect and service such equipment, at least once every six months. Inspections shall be complete enough to detect any likely malfunctions and may include testing of the equipment. No alarm system, however, shall be tested with a resulting transmission of the alarm to the public safety communications center of the City unless the City is so notified in advance. The person making the inspection shall provide a written report to the permittee, and the report shall be kept on hand for 12 months, subject to being shown to any representative of the Police Department of the City when requested during business hours.
The permittee shall be notified, in writing, by the public safety agency of each and every false alarm activated in the absence of an emergency, whether willful or by inadvertence, negligence or unintentional act, including the malfunction of the alarm system to which the police or fire agency responds. Each twenty-four-hour period during which such an alarm occurs shall constitute a separate offense, and each offense shall accumulate over a twelve-month period, as follows:
When the fourth and subsequent false alarm occurs, the public safety agency shall, within 20 days from the date of the false alarm, notify the permittee that a false alarm charge is due and payable and the amount thereof. Such notice shall be forwarded by certified mail to the permittee at his last known address. Failure of the public safety agency to mail notice of assessment of the false alarm charge within 20 days from the occurrence of a false alarm shall preclude the City from assessing a false alarm charge for said false alarm.
A false alarm charge shall be due and payable at the office of the City 25 days from the date of the mailing of the assessment of the charge. The City shall be exempt from payment of all fees.
Failure of the permittee to pay a false alarm charge on or before the due date shall constitute a violation of this chapter and shall subject said person to the penalties set forth in § 110-6 hereof.
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.
Multiple alarms received by the police or fire agency before the system can be deactivated within a reasonable period of time shall be considered a single alarm.
For purposes of this section, alarms will not be considered false and no penalty fee shall be imposed if:
Corrective measures are instituted within 72 hours after the alarm has been transmitted and written proof of repairs is given to the Police Chief.
A person who accidentally causes a false alarm immediately calls the affected department of the City in time to prevent a response of personnel and equipment to the premises.
Should any person fail to pay the false alarm charges, as required under § 110-5 of this chapter, such failure shall constitute a violation of this chapter and such unpaid charges may be collected as fines by suit or summary proceeding brought in the name of the City before any Magisterial District Judge of this commonwealth having jurisdiction. Such proceedings for such violations and for collection of such fees imposed herein and unpaid may be commenced by warrant or by summons, at the discretion of the Magisterial District Judge before whom such proceedings are begun. Each 24 hours' period during which failure to comply continues shall constitute a separate violation of the terms of this chapter.
Any person who is convicted of a violation shall be subject to prosecution and, upon conviction, shall be liable for a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $1,000 plus costs of prosecution and, in default of payment thereof, may be sentenced and committed to imprisonment for a period not exceeding 30 days.
The City shall be exempt from all penalties under this chapter.
The issuance of any permit under this chapter shall not constitute acceptance by the City of any liability to maintain any equipment, to answer alarms nor otherwise render the City liable to any person for any loss or damage relating to the alarm system or procedure.
In the event 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 alarm is installed, such permit application shall constitute an indemnification agreement by the applicant to hold harmless: any such police officer or firefighter; the Police Department or the Fire Department; and the City, as appropriate, from any and all damages whatsoever claimed by the lessor or owner of the premises on which the alarm is installed.
Administration and enforcement of this chapter shall be a function of the code administration agency and the police agency and shall include the following:
Authority to accept or reject a permit application or revoke a permit because of a misrepresentation or false statement contained in any application for a permit, failure to correct any deficiencies in equipment or operation of an alarm device connected to the central receiving station after due notice, or not meeting other conditions and specifications of this chapter.
Authority to order the disconnection of an alarm device to the central receiving station for a violation of this chapter or failure to pay any of the appropriate fees.
Any applicant or permit holder shall have a right of appeal under this chapter. An appeal may be taken when the City empowered to make a decision regarding an installation, operation or maintenance of an alarm device for which a permit has been requested and is denied, or upon which a permit has been issued and a revocation of said permit has occurred. Such an appeal, when filed, shall be in writing and filed within 10 days following such decision. The appeal shall be filed with the City Council making the decision. The City Council shall promptly conduct a hearing to affirm, modify or reverse the decision appealed from. The decision of the City Council shall be final.