[HISTORY: Sections 43-1 through 43-5 adopted by the Mayor and Borough Council of the Borough of Somerville 10-15-84 as Ord. No. 974; renumbered as Article I, 10-5-92 by Ord. No. 1129. Article II added 10-5-92 by Ord. No. 1129. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The purpose of this chapter is to alleviate conditions which lead to an unnecessary drain on the manpower, time, space, facilities and finances of the Borough of Somerville and its Police and Fire Departments and the deterioration of the quality of services to persons subscribing to alarm services.
The provisions of this chapter shall apply to any person, other than the borough, who operates, maintains or owns any alarm device designed to summon the Police, Fire Department or other municipal agencies to any location in response to any type of alarm signal. The terms of this chapter shall in no way prohibit alarm companies from providing services by private source to other offices within or without the borough so long as such activity is not connected to the alarm panel or telephone at the police headquarters. The terms of this chapter shall also apply to alarm companies providing services by private source to other companies within or without the borough, if the purpose of the furnishing of such services is to summon the police to any location in response to any type of alarm signal.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ALARM DEVICE
- Any type of alarm-actuating equipment which provides warning of intrusion, fire, smoke, burglary, flood or like peril.
- ALARM PANEL
- That component installed in the console in the police headquarters containing alarm indications and designations.
- ALARM SYSTEM
- The installation in one (1) or more buildings of one (1) or more alarm devices for the express purpose of giving visual or audible warning, or both, of an emergency, such as burglary, intrusion, fire, smoke, flood or like perils.
- FALSE ALARM
- Any alarm or signal of an alarm actuated by inadvertence, negligence or intentional or unintentional act of a person other than an intruder, and including alarms by mechanical failure, malfunction or improper installation of the alarm system and related equipment. "False alarms" shall not include activations caused by power or phone line interruptions. Alarms created by mechanical failure, malfunctioning or improper installation of the alarm console at police headquarters shall not be deemed "false alarms."
All components of alarm systems, alarm devices, dial alarms and local alarms shall be maintained by the owners or users thereof in good repair. When evidence exists that there has been a failure by such owner or users to properly maintain the alarm devices, the Police Chief is authorized to demand that such devices be disconnected until such time as appropriate repairs and/or modifications are made.
All local alarms shall be equipped with a time relay or battery to limit the sounding of alarms to thirty (30) minutes or less.
All dial alarms shall be coded to dial a number which shall be provided by the Chief of Police.
All dial alarms shall be capable of being disconnected by the owner to permit a call to the police switchboard in the event that a false alarm occurs.
Voice dial alarms to police headquarters, with the exception of such devices which are already in operation at the time of the enactment of this subsection, shall not be permitted.
The sensory mechanism of dial alarms shall be adjusted so as to suppress false indications and not to be actuated by impulses due to pressure changes in waterpipes, short flashes of light, wind, noise, rattling or vibration of doors or windows or other forces unrelated to general alarms.
Investigations. In the case of false alarms which summon the Police or Fire Department to investigate, the Police Chief shall cause an investigation to be made and shall keep a record of such false alarms on file. Such record shall be prima facie evidence of the contents thereof.
Penalties for false alarms. In any calendar year the following penalties shall apply:
For each of the first through third false alarms, a written warning of the content of this chapter shall be given.
For the fourth false alarm in the same calendar year, a fine of twenty-five dollars ($25) shall be imposed.
For the fifth and any subsequent false alarms, a fine not to exceed five hundred dollars ($500) shall be imposed, for each false alarm.
In the event of a fifth or subsequent false alarm, an investigation may be conducted by the Police Department. Where the investigation of the Police Department discloses continued abusive or negligent operation or maintenance of an alarm device and a disregard for the taking of remedial steps to avoid false alarms, the Police Chief may require disconnection of the device for a limited or permanent period; provided, however, that the owner or the user of the device shall be given notice of the intended disconnection and shall have an opportunity to show cause before the Borough Council of the Borough of Somerville why such action should not be taken. The determination of the Borough Council in such matters shall be based upon the effect on the general public health, safety and welfare of the continued use of the alarm device in question.
In the event any person subject to the provisions of this chapter is directed by the Chief of Police to disconnect an alarm system or correct defects in an alarm system and fails to comply with such directive within seven (7) days of same, such person shall be subject to the penalties contained in the Borough Code for each false alarm received after the expiration of the seven-day period until such time as the system is disconnected or the defects are corrected.
The purpose of this Article is to provide to the Fire Department of the Borough of Somerville access to buildings which contain an alarm device or alarm system as defined by this chapter.
The owners, occupants or users of an alarm device or alarm system as defined by this chapter shall install an exterior lockbox for the appropriate building keys. The lock-box shall be approved by the Borough of Somerville Fire Department and shall be compatible with the system being used by the Department.
The local enforcement agency shall be the Borough of Somerville Fire Department and the location and installation of the exterior lock-box shall be subject to the review and approval of the Borough of Somerville Fire Department or its designated borough official.