Town of Durham, CT
Middlesex County
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[Ord. No. 12-14-98]
(a) 
Purpose and intent. Unnecessary service calls originating from the erroneous and mistaken use or deliberate misuse of fire alarm systems, and from fire alarm systems that are not installed, maintained or operated properly, are creating a hazard to members of the Fire Department and to the general public, as well as wasting the Town's financial resources. The purpose of this section is to reduce the incidents of false alarms responded to by the Fire Department.
(b) 
Definitions.
ALARM SYSTEM
Any assembly of equipment, mechanical or electrical, arranged to transmit a signal of the occurrence of a fire emergency.
ALARM SYSTEM OWNER
The owner of premises on which an alarm system is located; the owner of the alarm system or person responsible for its maintenance and operation, if other than the owner of the premises on which the alarm system is situated.
EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS CENTER
Valley Shore Emergency Communications, Inc., or any additional or successor facility which receives and dispatches emergency communications emanating from within the Town.
(1) 
Any action by any alarm system owner or the owner's agent, employee or occupant of the owner's premises, which results in the unintentional activation of the alarm system when no fire emergency exists.
(2) 
Any unintentional activation of any alarm system caused by a flaw in design or installation of or the improper maintenance of the system. This shall not include any activation caused by violent conditions of nature or other extraordinary circumstances not reasonably subject to the control of the alarm system owner.
(3) 
Any intentional activation of an alarm system when no fire emergency exists.
FIRE DEPARTMENT
The Durham Volunteer Fire Company, Inc., or any successor Fire Department primarily responsible for responding to fire emergencies with the Town.
FIRE EMERGENCY
An occurrence of a fire or other emergency within the Town to which fire fighters are expected to respond.
FIRST SELECTMAN and BOARD OF SELECTMEN
The First Selectman and Board of Selectmen of the Town.
PERSON
A human being and, where appropriate, a public or private corporation, limited liability company, unincorporated association, or partnership.
SETTING OFF A FALSE ALARM
Causing a false alarm through intentional misuse.
(c) 
False alarms caused by error or malfunction; penalty.
(1) 
Any alarm system shall be activated only when a fire emergency exists.
(2) 
The following fines and charges shall be imposed upon the alarm system owner for activation of an alarm system by error, mistake or malfunction as the case may be in violation of Subsection (c)(1) hereof.
a. 
Up to two such false fire alarms per box may occur in any calendar year without the imposition of a penalty.
b. 
The third such false fire alarm and every subsequent false fire alarm during any calendar year shall result in a fine of $100 per alarm imposed upon the alarm system owner. In addition, the alarm system owner shall be responsible for and shall bear the expenses of the Fire Department's response to any such false alarm. The Fire Department's expenses shall be determined by the chief of the department and billed to the alarm system owner; provided, however, that no such charges, exclusive of any penalty imposed, shall exceed $150 per response.
(3) 
After the first false fire alarm in a calendar year, a written warning shall be sent to the alarm system owner advising the owner of this section and its provisions concerning penalties for false alarms.
(4) 
After the second false fire alarm in a calendar year, a written order shall be issued to the alarm system owner requiring the alarm system to be inspected and the First Selectman and Fire Department notified in writing of corrective action taken.
(d) 
Intentional false alarm; penalty.
(1) 
No person shall use an alarm system to set off a false alarm.
(2) 
Any person who violates Subsection (d)(1) of this section shall be fined $100 and may be subject to additional penalties and prosecution under the Connecticut General Statutes, as amended, for falsely reporting an incident.
(3) 
One intentional false alarm per alarm system may occur during any calendar year without the imposition of a penalty on the owner of the alarm system, other than a fine under Subsection (d)(2) of this section if the owner personally violates Subsection (d)(1).
(4) 
Upon the occurrence of the first false alarm set at any alarm system in a calendar year, a written warning shall be sent to the owner of the alarm system requiring protective devices to be installed at all boxes in the alarm system to prevent further setting off of false alarms. The owner of the alarm systems shall notify in writing the Fire Department and the First Selectman about the corrective action taken.
(5) 
The second and any subsequent false alarms set off from an alarm system in any calendar year shall result in a fine of $100 per false alarm set off. In addition, the owner of the alarm system shall be responsible for and bear the expense of the department's response to any such intentional false alarm. The expense shall be determined by the chief of the Fire Department and billed to the alarm system owner; provided, however, that no such charge, exclusive of any penalty imposed, shall exceed $150 per response.
(e) 
Testing and maintaining.
(1) 
An alarm system owner's testing of the alarm system shall not be considered a false alarm under the provisions of sections c and d of this section provided:
a. 
The Emergency Communications Center and any service monitoring the alarm system are notified in advance of the testing;
b. 
The Emergency Communications Center and monitoring service are notified promptly once testing has been completed.
(2) 
An alarm system owner who voluntarily takes the system off line to correct malfunctions shall notify the Emergency Communications Center when the system is taken off line and when it is returned to service.
(f) 
Administration.
(1) 
Unless otherwise stated, all warnings, notices and fines required by this ordinance shall emanate from the First Selectman or his or her designee. Fines shall be paid to the First Selectman or the First Selectman's designee.
(2) 
Interest shall accrue at the rate of 1 1/2% per month on all fines outstanding for periods in excess of 30 days.
(3) 
Fines and interest payable under this section shall be deposited into the Town's general fund.
(g) 
Appeal.
(1) 
The Board of Selectmen shall serve as an appeals board for fines imposed under this section.
(2) 
Whenever a fine is imposed against an alarm system owner or other person under this section, the person fined, may, within 20 days from the date appearing on the notice of the fine, appeal by filing a written notice of appeal with the First Selectman. The Board of Selectmen shall begin hearing the appeal no later than 30 days from its receipt by the First Selectman. The Board of Selectmen shall render a written decision on the appeal within seven days of conclusion of the hearing. The filing of an appeal shall stay collection of any fine imposed until such time as a decision is rendered on the appeal.
(3) 
The Board of Selectmen may designate a panel of three persons, no more than one of whom may be a member of the Fire Department, to serve as an appeal board for any fine or fines appealed from under this section g. Any such panel shall follow the schedule in Subsection (g)(2) for hearing and deciding appeals.
(h) 
Enforcement.
(1) 
The Board of Selectmen may choose to enforce the provisions of this section by citation and hearing as permitted by C.G.S § 7-152(c). The citation hearing procedure will then serve as the appeals procedure in lieu of that set forth in Subsection(g).
(2) 
The First Selectman is authorized to institute civil or criminal proceedings as necessary to enforce the provisions of this section.
[Comp. Ords. 1983, pg. 2, 10-26-31]
The Durham Volunteer Fire Company, Inc., shall be allowed to act as custodian of the fire truck, and a tax of one-half of a mill is hereby laid to provide for the maintenance of the apparatus, any surplus that may accumulate to be placed in a sinking fund for new equipment. The fire company shall have charge of the expenditure of the money raised by the tax and file a detailed report of all expenses, the report to be incorporated in the annual Town report.
[Comp. Ords. 1983, pg. 2, 8-26-32]
A board of trustees, consisting of three voters of the Town and not members of the Durham Volunteer Fire Company, shall be chosen by ballot at this meeting, one to serve until the adjourned Town meeting in March, 1934, and one to serve until the adjourned Town meeting in March, 1935, and that at each adjourned regular Town meeting thereafter there shall be chosen, by ballot, one trustee to serve for three years or until someone has been chosen in their place. The purpose of this board of trustees is to work with the board of three trustees of the fire company in formulating plans for the construction and rules governing the use of the building.
[Comp. Ords. 1983, pg. 2, 8-22-55]
(a) 
The Town does hereby authorize the Durham Volunteer Fire Company, Incorporated, as its duly authorized and acting Fire Department, to receive applications, to make inspections of and grant approval to property owners who have constructed and are maintaining satisfactory water holes on their property for fire protection purposes.
(b) 
Upon approval by the Durham Volunteer Fire Company, to be communicated in writing to the Board of Selectmen, the duly authorized officers of the Durham Volunteer Fire Company and the Board of Selectmen for the Town shall issue to any property owner who has applied, the protection from lawsuits afforded by the General Statutes, the officials of the Durham Volunteer Fire Company, acting for themselves and the Board of Selectmen it shall grant approval on written application of any property owner who shall have an adequate, accessible water supply that he will permit the fire company to use for general firefighting purposes for his own and neighboring properties.