[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Commissioners of the Township of Lower Moreland 11-21-1984 by Ord. No. 343. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as an "Ordinance Regulating Burglar and Fire Alarm Businesses, Systems and Users."
The purpose of this chapter is to provide minimum standards and regulations applicable to burglar and fire alarm systems, alarm businesses, alarm agents and alarm users as defined in this chapter.
This chapter governs all alarm systems in Lower Moreland Township, requires permits, establishes fees, provides for punishment of violators and establishes a system of administration.
When not inconsistent with the context, words used in the present tense include the future, words used in the plural number include the singular number, and words in the singular number include the plural number. The word "shall" is always mandatory and not merely directory.
For the purpose of this chapter, the following terms, phrases, words and their derivations shall have the meanings given herein.
- ALARM AGENT
- Any person employed by an alarm business whose duties include the altering, installing, maintaining, moving, repairing, replacing, selling, servicing, responding to or causing others to respond to an alarm device.
- ALARM BUSINESS
- Any business operated by an individual, partnership, corporation or other entity which engages in the activity of selling, leasing, maintaining, servicing, repairing, altering, replacing, moving or installing any alarm system in or on any building, structure or facility.
- ALARM SYSTEM
- An assembly of equipment and devices or a single device, such as a solid-state unit which plugs directly into a one-hundred-ten-volt AC line, arranged to signal the occurrence of an illegal entry or other activity requiring urgent attention and to which police, fire or ambulance personnel are expected to respond. In this chapter, the term "alarm system" shall include the terms "automatic holdup alarm systems," "burglar alarm systems," "holdup alarm systems," "fire alarm systems" and "manual holdup alarm systems," as those terms are hereinafter defined.
- ALARM USER
- Any person on whose premises an alarm system in maintained within the Township of Lower Moreland, except for alarm systems on motor vehicles or proprietary systems. If, however, an alarm system on a motor vehicle is connected with an alarm system at a premises, other than a proprietary system, the person using such system is an "alarm user." Also excluded from this definition and from the coverage of this chapter are persons who use alarm systems to alert or signal a person 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" and shall be subject to this chapter.
- The instrumentation of an alarm console at the receiving terminal of a signal line which, through both visual and audible signals, shows when an alarm device at a particular location has been activated, or it may also indicate line trouble.
- ANSWERING SERVICE
- A telephone answering service providing, among its services, the service of receiving, on a continuous basis through trained employees, emergency signals from alarm systems and thereafter immediately relaying the message by live voice to the communication center of the Police Department or Fire Department.
- 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
- A location which accepts recorded messages from automatic protected devices at a central station owned and operated privately for customers by a person, firm or corporation which maintains supervisors and trained operators and guards in attendance at all times that have the duty to take appropriate action upon receipt of a signal or message, including the relaying of messages by designated or direct trunk line to the communications center of the Police or Fire Department.
- FIRE ALARM
- An alarm system which signals a fire, smoke or overheating condition in the area protected by the system.
- FIRE DEPARTMENT
- The publicly supported Fire Department of Lower Moreland Township.
- FIRE MARSHAL
- The duly authorized Fire Marshal of Lower Moreland Township or his designated representative.
- HOLDUP ALARM SYSTEM
- An alarm system signaling a robbery or attempted robbery.
- 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.
- A central station protective system or an answering device as herein defined.
- LOCAL ALARM SYSTEM
- A signaling system which, when activated, causes an audible and/or visual signaling device to be activated in or on the premises within which the system is installed.
- PERMIT YEAR
- From January 1 to December 31 of any calendar year.
- Any person, firm, partnership, association, corporation, company or organization of any kind.
- POLICE CHIEF
- The Chief of the Police Department of Lower Moreland Township or his designated representative.
- POLICE or POLICE DEPARTMENT
- The publicly supported Police Department of Lower Moreland Township or any authorized agent thereof.
- PRIMARY TRUNK LINE
- A telephone line leading directly into the control center of the Police Department that is for the purpose of handling emergency calls on a person-to-person basis.
- PROPRIETARY SYSTEM
- An alarm system sounding and/or recording alarm and supervisory signals at a control center located within the protected premises, the control center being under the supervision of the proprietor of the protected premises.
- SIGNAL LINE
- The transmission line through which the signal passes from one of the elements of the signal transmission to another.
- SPECIAL TRUNK LINE
- A telephone line leading into the communication center of the Police Department and having the primary purpose of handling emergency signals or messages originating either directly or through a central location from automatic dialing devices.
- A person who buys and/or leases or otherwise obtains an alarm signaling system and thereafter contracts with or hires an alarm business to monitor and/or service the alarm device.
- TELEPHONE COMPANY
- A utility or company that furnishes telephone services to the Township of Lower Moreland.
Any person engaging in an alarm business in the Township of Lower Moreland within 30 days after the effective date of this chapter shall, upon forms provided by the Township, apply to the Township office for a license to operate within the Township and shall provide the following information:
The name, address and telephone number of the alarm business and the type of business organization it is (individual or partnership); if the business is an individual proprietorship, the name, address and telephone number of each partner (general or limited); if a corporation, the names and addresses of the directors and principal officers.
Certification that, within 30 days after the effective date of this chapter or upon receipt of a notice of approval of a license application, whichever date occurs later, the alarm business shall maintain a description of the alarm systems and devices offered for sale or lease to the public and a description of any services related to alarm devices offered to the public.
Certification that within 90 days after the effective date of this chapter or upon receipt of a notice of approval of a license application, whichever date occurs later, a complete list of the names and addresses of all persons in the Township to whom or for whom alarm systems have been sold and who are currently under contract to the alarm business for services on or after the effective date of this chapter shall be maintained for inspection by the Police Chief during the course of his official business.
Fee. License applications shall be accompanied by a fee, as provided for in Chapter A214, Fees, to cover the costs to the Township of processing the application and investigating the applicant.
[Amended 3-21-1990 by Ord. No. 392]
Editor's Note: The fees that were related to this Ch. 68, Alarm Systems, were repealed from Ch. A214 on 10-21-2009 by Res. No. 09-47. Said former alarm fees in Ch. A214 pertained to application for license and to new installation and annual permit and service fees for a direct connection alarm system.
Applicants already doing business in the Township on the effective date of this chapter may continue to do business while their license applications are being processed. An applicant not previously doing business in the Township on the effective date of this chapter shall not commence doing business until his application is approved.
An alarm business wishing to do business in the Township shall pay such other licensing fees as may be required of other merchants in the community.
No refunds of license fees or license renewal fees shall be made.
In addition to any penalties which may be imposed for the violation of certain provisions of this chapter, the Township may, pursuant to the provisions of this section, revoke the license of an alarm business on any of the following grounds:
Fraud or willful and knowing misrepresentation or false statement made in an application for a license.
Fraud or willful and knowing misrepresentation or false statement made in the conduct of an alarm business.
Failure to correct any deficiencies in equipment or operation within 30 days after receipt of a notice of the same from the Police Chief or within a reasonable time if the deficiencies cannot be corrected within said 30 days.
Conviction of a business employee or principal of the business of a crime in connection with activities in the business, which crime reflects on the honesty or integrity of such employee or principal.
Every alarm agent employed by an alarm business within Lower Moreland Township shall be required to maintain an identification card from the alarm business containing his name, company address, social security number and a color photograph.
The relaying of messages to the Police Department or Fire Department shall be over a special trunk line, except that central stations may relay messages over a direct line.
Automatic dialing devices may also be interconnected to one or more telephone numbers available to the owner or lessee of the devices or their designated representatives at another location.
This section shall apply only to those automatic dialing devices interconnected to the communication center in the Police Department or Fire Department or to telephone company operators.
Automatic dialing devices installed on any premises within Lower Moreland Township which are interconnected to a special trunk line transmitting signals into the Police Department or Fire Department shall meet the following minimum standards, as determined by the Police Chief or Fire Marshal or both, as appropriate:
The contents of the recorded message to be transmitted by such devices must be intelligible and in a format that is appropriate for the type of emergency being reported.
Upon a single stimulus of the alarm device, an automatic dialing device may place two separate calls to the Police Department or Fire Department via the special trunk line. No such call shall be longer than one minute and 15 seconds in duration. There must be at least three minutes between the completion of the first call and the initiation of the second, and the second call must be clearly identified as a second call.
Messages transmitted during such calls, stating the location and nature of the alarm condition, shall not exceed 15 seconds in length.
The time gap between delivery of messages must be less than five seconds.
All such devices shall be capable of transmitting an emergency message to two or more separate locations so that, upon activation, any message may be sent not only on a special trunk line or a telephone line serviced directly by the telephone company operators but also to a location where an authorized person is available to respond to the emergency message and to open the premises on which the device is installed.
The sensory apparatus and hardware comprising such devices shall be maintained by the owner or lessee in such physical condition that false alarms will be minimal.
User alarm systems installed and fully operative on the effective date of this chapter which are compatible with and do not interfere with the operation of the then-current system installed by the Police Department or Fire Department shall be permitted to continue upon approval of the Chief of Police or Fire Marshal, as the case may be, subject to payment of any required fees under this chapter. In the case of compatible direct-connect alarm systems, no new connection fee shall be required, but any annual fees required of other similar users shall be paid by the user.
Every alarm business selling, leasing or furnishing to any user an alarm system installed on premises located within Lower Moreland Township shall furnish the user with instructions that provide information to enable the user to operate the alarm system properly and to locate and obtain service for the alarm system at any time.
Every alarm business selling, leasing or furnishing to any user an alarm system which is installed on premises located within Lower Moreland Township, after the effective date of the chapter, shall:
Be required to provide each alarm system installed with standby battery power which will automatically and immediately take over in the event of a commercial power failure.
Be required to provide an automatic audible alarm cutoff within 15 minutes of initial activation of any audible alarms installed to all alarm systems.
Be required to notify the Police Department or Fire Department, as appropriate, prior to conducting any tests upon any alarm system, if such tests would cause emergency information to be received by the Police Department or Fire Department.
Upon the favorable recommendation of the Police Chief and the approval of the Township Manager, alarms from business premises and financial institutions may be terminated in the Police Department.
The alarm subscriber approved for a direct connection to the Police Department or the alarm business contracting for servicing the subscriber's alarm system shall be responsible for obtaining the leased telephone line between subscriber'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 standard annunciator panel.
The installation of any such direct connection shall be performed by an alarm business designated and approved by the Police Department.
It shall be unlawful for a property owner, lessee of property or a person otherwise occupying any premises within the Lower Moreland Township 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 Township.
Within 90 days after the effective date of this chapter, every alarm user shall obtain an alarm user permit for each alarm system he operates within this Township from the Township. This subsection does not require that licensed alarm businesses obtain a permit under this section when it leases or provides services to alarm system users. If a licensed alarm business does, however, use an alarm system to protect its own premises, it shall obtain a permit for such system as required in this section.
Alarm user permit application.
The alarm user applying for the permit required in Subsection A of this section shall state on a permit application form, to be approved by the Township, his name; the address of the residence or business or businesses in or upon which the alarm system has been or will be installed; his telephone number; the type of alarm system (local, direct-connect, central station, etc.); the alarm business or businesses selling, installing, monitoring, inspecting, responding to and/or maintaining the alarm system; and the name and telephone number of at least one other person or, in the case of a business alarm user applicant, at least two other persons who can be reached at any time, day or night, and who are authorized to respond to an alarm signal and who can open the premises in which the system is installed.
If the device is to be leased or rented from or is to be serviced pursuant to a service agreement by a person other than the person making application for an alarm device permit, the name, address and telephone number of that person must be stated in the application. In addition, each person submitting an application for an alarm device permit shall submit a signed statement in the following form:
I (We), the undersigned applicant(s) for an alarm device permit, intending to be legally bound hereby, agree with Lower Moreland Township that neither I (we) nor anyone claiming by, through or under me (us) shall make any claim against Lower Moreland Township, its officials or agents for any damages caused to the premises at which the alarm device, which is the subject of this application, is or will be located if such damage is caused by a forced entry to said premises by employees of Lower Moreland Township in order to answer an alarm from said alarm device at a time when said premises are or appear to be unattended or when, in the discretion of said employees, the circumstances appear to warrant a forced entry.
Any alarm user who installs a system 90 days or more after the effective date of this chapter must submit, with the application, a certificate of a licensed alarm business stating that, in the opinion of such business, the alarm system complies with this chapter.
Any alarm business desiring to test and install an alarm system shall contact the Police Department before conducting such tests.
For all new installations of direct connect alarm systems with terminals in the control center of the Lower Moreland Township Police Department, a charge for said installation shall be imposed in the amount as provided for in Chapter A214, Fees, which shall also cover the permit fee for the balance of the then-current permit year.
[Amended 3-21-1990 by Ord. No. 392]
All direct-connect alarm systems shall be subject to an annual fee for the permit and the service, as provided for in Chapter A214, Fees, for each permit year or portion thereof.
[Amended 3-21-1990 by Ord. No. 392]
The fees hereinabove set forth are applicable to each individual housing unit or individual and separate place of business even though more than one individual unit shares the use of one integrated and interconnected alarm system.
In the event that an alarm user fails and refuses to obtain the necessary permits as required under this chapter, the Township will back-charge said alarm user for the previous permit year unless the alarm user can prove to the satisfaction of the Township that the alarm system was not used during the previous permit year and then shall charge said alarm user for the current permit year. In that case, the alarm user will be charged by a pro rata basis for a period of one permit year.
Billing for all alarm services provided under this chapter shall be sent to all users in December for the succeeding calendar year.
When a person or the Township, Police Chief, Township Manager or Board of Commissioners has the right or is required to act or take some proceeding within a prescribed period pursuant to this chapter and service is made by mail, two days shall be added to the prescribed period. Whenever a person, the Police Chief or any Township official or employee is required to make delivery by first-class mail, delivery, in lieu thereof, may be made by hand by any person 18 years of age or older.
Any alarm system, as that term is defined in this chapter, which has three or more false alarms within a permit year shall be subject to permit revocation as provided herein.
If the Police Department or Fire Department records three or more false alarms within a permit year for any alarm system:
The Police Department shall notify the alarm user and/or the alarm business providing service or inspection to the user by first-class mail or by hand delivery of such fact and direct that the user submit a report to the Police Department within 15 days of receipt of the notice describing actions taken or to be taken to discover and correct the cause of the false alarms.
[Amended 9-15-1999 by Ord. No. 501]
If no report is submitted, the Police Department shall give notice by first-class mail or hand delivery to the user that the permit will be revoked without further notice and the user shall disconnect the alarm, automatic protection device or any other kind of direct or indirect connection with the Police Department or Fire Department and shall discontinue using the services of any intermediaries.
[Amended 9-15-1999 by Ord. No. 501]
Any alarm user whose permit has been revoked may have his permit reinstated if the Chief of Police is satisfied that the user's system has been properly serviced and its deficiencies corrected.
Editor's Note: Former Subsection B(4), concerning false alarm civil charges, which immediately followed this subsection, was repealed 9-15-1999 by Ord. No. 501.
The issuance of any permit shall not constitute acceptance by Lower Moreland Township of any liability to maintain any equipment or to answer alarms or otherwise render Lower Moreland Township liable to any person for any loss or damage relating to the alarm system procedure.
It shall be a violation of this chapter for any person to fail to:
Obtain an alarm business license.
Obtain an alarm agent identification card.
Interconnect or fail to remove an automatic direct-dialing device interconnected to a primary trunk line, as provided above.
Obtain an alarm system user permit as required.
Make corrections to alarm systems as required.
Failure of any person to comply with the requirements of written notice of a violation of any provision hereof within three days of receipt of such notice, exclusive of Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, shall constitute an offense punishable by a fine or penalty of not less than $10 nor more than $600, plus costs of prosecution for each offense, to be collectible before a District Justice as like fines and penalties are now by law collectible, and, in default of payment of such fine and costs, to imprisonment in the county jail for a term not exceeding 30 days. Such notice shall continue in force and effect until there is full compliance with the requirements stated herein, and each and every failure to comply with such notice within 24 hours after the three days allowed for compliance shall constitute a separate offense.
[Amended 3-21-1990 by Ord. No. 392]
False alarm violation. Any person found guilty of misuse, false activation or accidental activation of an alarm system shall be punishable in accordance with the provisions of the Township Fire Alarm and Police Fire Notification Ordinance (Chapter 136, Article IV) and particularly § 136-21 thereof. This chapter shall not supersede the provisions of said Ordinance No. 239.