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Town of North Andover, MA
Essex County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Meeting of the Town of North Andover. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Building construction — See Ch. 65.
Fire prevention and protection — See Ch. 90.
A. 
This bylaw shall apply to the installation, operation and maintenance of fire and medical aid alarm systems. Fire, carbon monoxide and medical aid alarm systems shall include systems connected to the North Andover Fire Department by municipal fire alarm circuit, direct wire, wireless, or on a telephone dial-up basis and systems which use exterior audible signals at the alarm location as a function of the connected system.
B. 
By definition, "alarm systems" are those installed for the purpose of notification to the proper response authority of an emergency situation at a property where the component devices of the system are installed.
A. 
As of the effective date of this bylaw, no alarm system or equipment designed to summon the Fire Department shall be installed without a permit signed by the Fire Chief or his designee. The issuance of permits and the imposition of fees shall be in compliance with MGL c. 148, § 10A. Changes in the permit or inspection fees may be made with 60 days' notice to the general public and with the approval of the Board of Selectmen.
B. 
Any current or future alarm user may contract with an alarm company of its choice for the purchase, lease, installation and servicing of an alarm system on its premises.
C. 
Actual connection to the Fire Department's alarm receiving system will be made only by an installer approved by the Fire Chief for this service through the issuance of a permit as per MGL c. 148, § 10A.
D. 
As of July 1, 2007, connection to the Fire Department's alarm receiving system will be performed only through approved radio master fire alarm boxes.
E. 
As of July 1, 2007, all buildings and structures connected to the Fire Department's alarm receiving system will be advised that, as of July 1, 2012, master fire alarm boxes connected through the hard-wired municipal circuit system must be replaced with a radio master box compatible with the Fire Department's alarm receiving equipment. The master boxes on the buildings remain the property of the property owner but must be removed from their location to avoid perceptions that they are connected to the Fire Department. These wireless devices shall be installed and maintained in accordance with the appropriate sections of the then-current editions of the following NFPA standards: NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm Code; NFPA 1221, Standard for the Installation, Maintenance and Use of Emergency Services Communication Systems; NFPA 70, National Electrical Code; and all reference documents contained within these codes and the related rules and regulations of the North Andover Fire Department.
F. 
The alarm system owner or user, or the alarm company contracting for the servicing of the alarm user's system, shall be responsible for the care and maintenance of the wireless master fire alarm box transmitting device.
G. 
The Fire Department will make every effort to ensure the proper operation of the alarm receiving equipment, but accepts no liability for conditions which prevent proper reception of signals from the user's premises. The mounting locations for radio boxes shall require pre-approval of the North Andover Fire Department.
Whenever an alarm system or equipment is to be disconnected, removed or altered, the owner or user thereof shall notify the Fire Department. This notice shall be in accordance with MGL c. 148, §§ 10A, 27A, and 28.
A. 
All alarm systems installed after the effective date of this bylaw which use an exterior audible alarm device(s) shall be equipped with a timing unit which silences the exterior audible device no less than five minutes and no more than 10 minutes after the activation of the alarm system.
B. 
This section shall not apply to audible automatic fire sprinkler alarm bells, either mechanical or electrical, which are used to indicate water flow.
A. 
Each alarm user shall submit to the Fire Chief the names, addresses and telephone numbers of at least two persons who can be reached at any time, day or night, who are authorized to gain access to the protected premises for the purpose of silencing and resetting the alarm system. It shall be the alarm user's responsibility to keep this information up-to-date and current. In addition, each control panel shall have located, inside the door, the above-mentioned information, as well as the name, address and twenty-four-hour telephone number of the company or individual who or which currently services the system.
B. 
Written instructions for resetting the alarm system shall be clearly visible on, or adjacent to, the system control panel. Once activated, the system shall not be reset prior to the arrival of the Fire Department. Any attempt to reset a system connected directly to the Fire Department shall be considered a violation of MGL c. 268, § 32 (tampering with a fire alarm signal). If, after three attempts by the Fire Department, a zone or system will not reset, the zone or system shall be left in an unrestored condition. The Fire Department will attempt to notify the responsible parties identified in Subsection A of this section. The Town assumes no liability for inability to contact listed persons or companies. The Fire Chief or his designee may assign a paid detail to monitor the premises until such responsible parties have arrived at the protected location. The cost of that detail and any equipment associated with it shall be borne by the owner, purchaser, lessee or renter of the system.
C. 
All premises shall have the legal street number posted clearly visible as per MGL c. 148, § 59 prior to connection of any alarm to the Fire Department.
D. 
All premises requiring a secured key access box as per § 50-12 of this article shall have the device installed prior to issuance of a fire alarm permit.
No alarm system designed to transmit emergency messages or signals directly to the Fire Department or through the dispatch center for the Fire Department shall be worked on, tested or demonstrated without first obtaining permission from the Fire Chief or his designee in accordance with MGL c. 148, § 27A. An alarm transmitted when such work is being performed without permission will constitute a false alarm and be subject to the fee assessment as shown in § 50-7.
A. 
Amount of assessment; waiver; notice.
(1) 
Alarm systems which generate false alarms shall be subject to the following assessment: fire alarm, carbon monoxide alarm and emergency medical systems.
False Alarm
Assessment
1 through 3
None
4 through 5
$300 each
6 or more
The current costs for all the personnel and equipment that respond to each call.
(2) 
The Fire Chief shall have the authority to waive the assessment if in his judgment extenuating circumstances justify such a waiver.
(3) 
After a third false alarm, the Fire Chief shall notify the responsible party in writing that the next false alarm incident will result in an assessment charge.
(4) 
Alarm users who present a valid service contract or similar agreement for the protected property will receive a credit of $25 against any assessment. It is the intent of this section to have the system maintained on a regular basis.
B. 
False alarms caused by faulty telephone service, municipal equipment or electrical storms will be excluded from assessment.
C. 
False alarms received during the first 30 days following installation shall not be counted for the purposes of false alarm assessment, provided no malicious intent has occurred and every attempt has been made to rectify new installation defects.
D. 
Determination that a false alarm has been transmitted will be in the judgment of the Fire Chief or his duly appointed duty officer.
E. 
Any person(s) who maliciously and/or intentionally activates a fire alarm device which automatically transmits an alarm to the Fire Department, when there is no fire or emergency situation, shall be fined.
A. 
Each alarm user shall, on or before October 1 of each year, remit to the Fire Department a service fee for the coming year for master fire alarm boxes and digital alarms. The fees shall be established by the Board of Selectmen.
B. 
Those properties that convert to a radio control master box that is compatible with the North Andover Fire Department receiver shall no longer be billed under the existing fee structure, once the radio box is properly installed and functioning as approved by the North Andover Fire Department. In accordance with the Town bylaw, the Board of Selectmen can establish fees, at any time, which reflect the costs of services provided.
C. 
Fire alarm system devices owned by the Town of North Andover shall be exempt from the provisions of §§ 50-7 and 50-8.
D. 
Until a new fee is established by the Board of Selectmen, the Town shall continue to charge the same fees that were in effect immediately prior to the effective date of this bylaw.
The following acts shall constitute a violation of these regulations and the responsible person or persons shall be punished by a fine of not less than $50 nor more than $200 per offense (Each day in which a violation occurs will be considered a separate offense.):
A. 
Failure to follow an order issued by the Fire Chief to disconnect a fire alarm system automatic notification device.
B. 
Using a telephone-dialing device arranged to dial a Fire Department number without authorization under this bylaw.
C. 
Failure to pay any fee assessed under either or both § 50-7 or 50-8 of these regulations within 60 days from the assessment.
D. 
Failure to comply with the requirements set forth in these regulations.
E. 
Continued transmission of false alarms caused by the user's negligence or system malfunctions on the premises under the user's control where no effective effort is made to correct the condition.
F. 
Knowingly failing to maintain any alarm system, covered by this bylaw, in proper working order.
G. 
Causing, through negligence, a condition which interferes with the operation of or causes damage to the municipal fire alarm system.
H. 
Maliciously and/or intentionally activating a fire alarm device which automatically transmits an alarm to the Fire Department, when there is no fire or emergency situation.
In consideration of MGL c. 268, § 32, MGL c. 269, § 13, and other applicable state laws, the Town shall consult with the Office of the Essex County District Attorney prior to any court action against anyone for noncompliance with this article or prior to the imposition of any assessment or fines pursuant to § 50-7.
When the Fire Department responds to an alarm of fire, transmitted by a fire detection and alarm system, where the premises are unoccupied, the Department is unable to gain access to the structure, and is unable to contact any of the individuals listed for access, the fire officer in command, may, if he/she has reasonable concern or suspicion that a fire exists within the structure, make a forcible entry to determine whether or not fire conditions exist. If this action becomes necessary, the fire officer shall:
A. 
Notify the Police Department of this action.
B. 
Secure the premises insofar as feasible.
C. 
Continue efforts to contact the individuals listed as responsible for the structure.
D. 
Enter the action taken in the Fire Department log.
Any building other than a residential building of fewer than six units which has a fire alarm system or other fire protection systems shall provide a secure key box installed in a location accessible to the Fire Department in case of emergency. This key box shall contain keys to fire alarm control panels and other keys necessary to operate or service fire protection systems. The key box shall be a type approved by the Chief of the North Andover Fire Department and shall be located and installed as approved by the Chief. Any building owner violating this section after receiving due notice by the Fire Department shall be subject to the provisions of the noncriminal disposition violations statute, MGL c. 40, § 21D.
A. 
For the purpose of this article, the following terms, phrases, words and their derivations shall have the meanings given herein. When not inconsistent with the context, words used in the present tense include the future. The word "shall" is always mandatory and not merely directory.
B. 
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
ALARM CONSOLE
The instrumentation on an alarm console at the receiving terminal of a signal line which, through both visual and audible signals, indicates activation of an alarm system at a particular location, or which indicates line trouble.
ALARM SYSTEM
An assembly of equipment and devices or a single device such as a solid-state unit which plugs directly into a 110-volt AC line, arranged to signal the presence of a hazard requiring urgent attention and to which police are expected to respond, Fire alarm systems and alarm systems which monitor temperature, smoke, humidity or any other condition not directly related to the detection of an unauthorized intrusion into a premises, or an attempted robbery at a premises, are specifically excluded from the provisions of this article.
ALARM USER or USER
Any person on whose premises an alarm system is maintained within the Town, 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 of an attempted unauthorized intrusion or holdup attempt. If such a system, however, employs an audible signal emitting sounds or a flashing light or beacon designed to signal persons outside the premises, such system shall be within the definition of "alarm system" as that term is used in this article, and shall be subject to this article.
AUTOMATIC DIALING DEVICE
An 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 the emergency situation that the alarm system is designed to detect.
CENTRAL STATION
An office to which remote alarm and supervisory signaling devices are connected, where operators supervise circuits or where guards are maintained continuously to investigate signals.
DIRECT CONNECT
An alarm system which has the capability of transmitting system signals to and receiving them at the Police Department alarm console.
(1) 
The activation of an alarm system through mechanical failure, malfunction, improper installation or negligence of the user of an alarm system or of his employees or agents.
(2) 
Any signal or oral communication transmitted to the Police Department requesting or requiring or resulting in a response on the part of the Police Department when in fact there has been no unauthorized intrusion or attempted unauthorized intrusion into a premises and no attempted robbery or burglary at a premises.
Excluded from this definition are activations of alarm systems caused by power outages, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and similar conditions.
INTERCONNECT
To connect an alarm system to a voice-grade telephone line, either directly or through a mechanical device that utilizes a standard telephone, for the purpose of using the telephone line to transmit an emergency message upon the activation of the alarm system.
POLICE CHIEF
The Chief of Police of the Town or his designated representative.
POLICE or POLICE DEPARTMENT
The Town Police Department or any authorized agent thereof.
PUBLIC NUISANCE
Anything which annoys, injures or endangers the comfort, repose, health or safety of a considerable number of persons or of any community or neighborhood.
A. 
The Police Chief may promulgate such rules as may be necessary for the implementation of this section.
B. 
Automatic dialing devices (interconnection to Police Department). By August 1, 1983, all dialers shall be reprogrammed to interconnect to the alarm console at the police station.
C. 
Intermediary services. Any persons using an automatic dialing device may have the device interconnected to a telephone line transmitting directly to:
(1) 
A central station.
(2) 
An answering service.
(3) 
Any privately owned or privately operated facility or terminal.
A. 
Alarm systems may be connected to the alarm console in the Police Department.
B. 
Services shall be set forth in the form of a written contract between the alarm company and each user. The provisions of this subsection relate solely to the aforementioned alarm console, connections to said console by alarm users, and fees and charges related to the installation and maintenance of the console. Any alarm user may contract with any alarm company of his choice for the sale, installation, maintenance and/or servicing of the alarm system to be installed on his premises.
C. 
The alarm user or the alarm business contracting for servicing the alarm user's alarm system shall be responsible for obtaining the leased telephone line between the alarm user's premises and the alarm receiving equipment at the Police Department and for furnishing the appropriate interface equipment, if required, in order to provide an input signal which is compatible with the receiving equipment used to operate the alarm console.
D. 
The provisions of § 50-17 concerning false alarms shall apply to all alarm users or persons having direct-connect systems, except municipal, county and state agencies.
A. 
Every alarm user shall submit to the Police Chief the names and telephone lines 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.
B. 
All alarm systems directly connected to the police station shall be equipped with a device which will give a ten-second delay or longer prior to alarm system activation in order to warn the alarm user of an open alarm circuit.
C. 
All alarm systems installed after May 1, 1983, which use an audible horn or bell shall be equipped with a device that will sound minutes after activation of the alarm system.
D. 
Nuisance alarms.
(1) 
Any alarm system emitting a continuous and uninterrupted signal for more than 20 minutes which cannot be shut off or otherwise curtailed due to the absence or unavailability of the alarm user or other persons designated by him/her under Subsection A of this section, 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. Upon receiving complaints regarding such a continuous and uninterrupted signal, the Police 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 Subsection A of this section in an effort to abate the nuisance. The Police Chief shall cause to be recorded the names and addresses of all complaints and the time that each complaint was made. In the event that the Police Chief is unable to contact the alarm user, or members of the alarm user's family or other persons designated by the alarm user under Subsection A of this section, or if the aforesaid persons cannot or will not curtail the audible signal being emitted by the alarm system, and if the Police Chief is otherwise unable to abate the nuisance, he/she may direct a police officer or a firefighter or a qualified alarm technician to enter upon the property outside the home or building in which the alarm system is located and take any reasonable action necessary to abate the nuisance. If entry upon property outside the home or building in which the alarm system is located is made in accordance with this subsection, the person so entering upon such property shall not conduct, engage in or undertake any search, seizure, inspection or investigation while he/she is upon the property; shall not cause any unnecessary damage to the alarm system or to any part of the home or building; and shall leave the property immediately after the audible signal has ceased.
(2) 
After entry upon property has been made in accordance with this subsection, the Police Chief shall have the property secured, if necessary. The reasonable costs and expenses of abating a nuisance in accordance with this subsection shall be assessed to the alarm user, said assessment not to exceed $50. Within 10 days after abatement of a nuisance in accordance with this subsection, the alarm user may request a hearing before the Board of Selectmen and may present evidence showing that the signal emitted by his alarm system was not a public nuisance at the time of the abatement; that unnecessary damage was caused to his property in the course of the abatement; that the costs of the abatement should not be assessed to him/her; or that the requirements of this subsection were not fulfilled. The Board shall hear all interested parties and may, in its discretion, reimburse the alarm user for the repairs to his property necessitated by the abatement, or excuse the alarm user from paying the costs of the abatement.
E. 
Testing of equipment.
(1) 
No alarm system designed to transmit emergency messages directly to the Police Department shall be worked on, tested or demonstrated without obtaining permission from the Police Chief. Permission is not required to test or demonstrate alarm devices not transmitting emergency messages directly to the Police Department. An unauthorized test constitutes a false alarm.
(2) 
Any repair or test of private equipment that requires over 20 minutes to complete will require that an employee of the company doing the repair be in the North Andover police station to reset the alarm until such time as the alarm is repaired or disconnected.
A. 
When emergency messages are received by the Police Department that evidence false alarms, the Police Chief shall take such action as may be appropriate under Subsections B, C and D of this section, and, when so required by the terms of the aforementioned subsections, order that use of an alarm system be disconnected.
B. 
After the Police Department has recorded three separate false alarms within the calendar year from an alarm system, the Police Chief shall notify the alarm user, in person, by telephone or by mail, of such fact and require said user to submit, within 15 days after receipt of such notice, a report describing efforts to discover and eliminate the cause or causes of the false alarms. If said user, on the basis of absence from the Town or on any other reasonable basis, requests an extension of time for filing the report, the Police Chief may extend the fifteen-day period for a reasonable period. If said user fails to submit such a report within 15 days or within any such extended period, the Police Chief shall order that use of the alarm system be disconnected. Any such discontinuance shall be effectuated within 15 days from the date of receipt of the Police Chief's order.
C. 
In the event that the Police Department records five false alarms within the calendar year from an alarm system, the Police Chief shall order that the user of the alarm system discontinue the use of the alarm system for the calendar year, but for not less than six months from the date the alarm was disconnected. In the event that the Police Department records eight false alarms within the calendar year from an alarm system, the Police Chief shall order that the user of the alarm system discontinue use of the alarm system for the calendar year, but for not less than six months from the date the alarm was disconnected.
D. 
Any user of an alarm system which transmits false alarms shall be assessed a fine of $25 for each false alarm in excess of three occurring within the calendar year. All fines assessed hereunder shall be paid to the Town Treasurer for deposit in the general fund. Upon failure of the user of an alarm system to pay two consecutive fines assessed hereunder within 60 days of assessment, the Police Chief shall order that the user discontinue use of the alarm system. Any such discontinuance shall be effectuated within 15 days from the date of receipt of the Police Chief's order.
E. 
Any user of an alarm system who has, in accordance with this section, been ordered by the Police Chief to discontinue use of an alarm system may appeal the order of discontinuance to the Board of Selectmen. Notice of an appeal shall be filed with the Clerk of the Board of Selectmen within 10 days of the date of the order of discontinuance. Thereafter, the Board shall consider the merits of the appeal, and in connection therewith shall hear evidence presented by all interested persons. After hearing such evidence, the Board may affirm, vacate or modify the order of discontinuance.
A. 
The following acts and omissions shall constitute violations of this article punishable by a fine of $50:
(1) 
Failure to obey an order of the Police Chief to discontinue use of an alarm system, after exhaustion of the right of appeal.
(2) 
Failure to disconnect an automatic dialing device from any telephone numbers at the Police Department within six months after the effective date of this article.
(3) 
Interconnection of an automatic dialing device to any telephone numbers at the Police Department after the effective date of this article.
(4) 
Failure to pay two or more consecutive fines assessed under this section within 60 days from the date of assessment.
(5) 
Failure to comply with the requirement of § 50-17 of this article.
B. 
Each day during which the aforesaid violations continue shall constitute a separate offense.
C. 
The enforcement agent for purposes of this bylaw shall be the Police Chief or his designee.
The invalidity of any part or parts of this article shall not affect the validity of the remaining parts.