[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Van Buren 4-16-2003 by L.L. No. 4-2003. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Fire prevention — See Ch. 115.
It is the purpose of this chapter to protect and promote the health, safety and general welfare of the residents of the Town of Van Buren by reducing the number of fire/emergency responses to false alarms or avoidable alarms to emergency agencies. Avoidable alarms contribute to ineffective utilization of public safety manpower and equipment. In addition, avoidable alarms require emergency responses which may contribute to a high accident rate and delayed responses to genuine emergencies. This chapter seeks to ensure that fire communications facilities will be available to dispatch fire personnel for actual emergencies and to alleviate the nuisance of audible alarms to the surrounding property owners in the community. This chapter will also provide a means to contact the responsible people to notify them of the activation of the alarm. This chapter covers the "Fire District" of the Town of Van Buren, which for purposes of this chapter is defined as the Town of Van Buren, excluding the Village of Baldwinsville. This chapter shall apply to both residential and commercial properties.
For the purposes of this chapter, certain words and phrases shall be construed herein as set forth in this section, unless it is apparent from the context that a different meaning is intended.
- AUDIBLE ALARM
- A device which generates an audible sound on the premises when actuated.
- AVOIDABLE ALARM
- The activation of an alarm system through mechanical failure, malfunction, improper installation or the negligence of the owner, user, custodian or lessee of an alarm system or his employees or agents or through any other cause when, through notification of an emergency agency by a private answering point or automatic dialing device or which, through notification to an emergency agency by any other second party or means, indicates that an emergency situation exists requiring an emergency response within the Town of Van Buren when, in fact, an emergency situation does not exist, and/or an avoidable alarm to an emergency agency when the activator knows that an emergency does not exist. "Avoidable alarm" does not include alarms activated by violent conditions of nature, such as earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes or any other similar cause beyond the control of the user of an alarm system. Activation of an alarm system under any circumstance in which the activator reasonably believes that an emergency situation exists is not an avoidable alarm.
- CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICER (CEO)
- The Code Enforcement Officer of the Town of Van Buren.
- A calendar day.
- FALSE ALARM
- Any signal or other communication transmitted to the Onondaga County Emergency 911 Center that results in a Fire Department response to a property, building or structure where there exists no fire, medical or other emergency requiring Fire Department attention. A signal transmitted to the County 911 Center that is promptly followed by a phone call to the 911 Center to cancel a Fire Department response will not constitute a false alarm, provided that the Fire Department has not already left the fire station to respond to the call.
- FIRE AND SMOKE DETECTION SYSTEM
- Any mechanical or electrical device which is designed or used for the detection of fire or smoke and which emits a sound or transmits a signal or message when activated. Fire and smoke detection systems include but are not limited to direct-dial telephone devices, audible alarms and proprietor-activated systems. Devices which are not designed 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, nor are auxiliary devices installed by the telephone company or a cable television company to protect its systems which might be damaged or disrupted by the use of an alarm system.
- FIRE DISTRICT
- The entire Town of Van Buren outside the Village of Baldwinsville.
- Written notice, given by personal service upon the addressee or given by United States Postal Service certified mail, return receipt requested, postage prepaid, addressed to the person to be notified at his last known address. Services of such notice shall be effective upon the completion of personal service or upon the placing of the same in the custody of the United States Postal Service.
- A person, firm, partnership, association or corporation.
- Any person who owns, leases, contracts for or otherwise obtains a fire and smoke detection system. A person or entity may be both a subscriber and an alarm business.
The New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code, the New York State Fire Code and the National Fire Prevention Association prescribe minimum standards for the maintenance and installation of all fire and smoke detection systems, including alarms generated from fire suppression systems. All such standards shall be adhered to within the Fire District.
Every subscriber maintaining an audible alarm shall post a notice containing the names and telephone numbers of the persons to be notified to render repairs or service and secure the premises during any hour of the day or night that the alarm is actuated, Such notices shall be posted near the alarm panel or within the knox box, in such a position as to be legible from eye level. In lieu thereof, such person may maintain such information with the CEO and the Onondaga County Sheriff's Department (OLEIS notification).
Fire Department officers may disable or silence an activated alarm, and the Fire Department official shall not be liable for any damage that may result.
Every alarm installer or business engaged in maintenance and servicing of alarm systems shall be able to respond to the location of the alarm installation, as prescribed in National Fire Protection Association Codes NFPA-72A through 72E.
The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to a person who engages in the manufacture or sale of a smoke or fire detection system from a fixed location and who neither visits the location where the fire and smoke detection system is to be installed nor designs the scheme for physical location and installation of the fire and smoke detection system in a specific location; nor shall the provisions of this chapter apply to audible alarms affixed to automobiles.
No person shall maintain or operate an alarm system which actuates an avoidable alarm two times within a twelve-month period from any structure or, in the case of multiple tenants, from separate occupancies containing separate alarm systems within a single structure.
Any one of the following shall constitute additional grounds for a violation under this chapter:
A person, business or corporation has failed to keep his or its alarm system in proper operating condition.
A person has failed to notify the respective Fire Department or the Onondaga County Emergency 911 Center, and any party who would receive direct communication of an alarm prior to any service, test, repair maintenance, adjustment, alteration or installation which might actuate an avoidable alarm, For the purposes of these standards and regulations, any alarm actuated where such prior notice has been given shall not constitute an avoidable alarm.
After responding to an alarm that is determined to be an avoidable alarm, the responding Fire Department shall file a preventable response report with the Town of Van Buren Codes Enforcement Officer.
The Town of Van Buren Codes Enforcement Officer shall maintain a log of all of the preventable response reports, from all of the Fire Departments within the Town of Van Buren.
The CEO shall notify the person responsible by certified mail, return receipt requested, for the alleged violation.
Persons guilty of conduct prohibited under the provisions of this chapter are subject to penalties as follows:
An offense under the provisions of this Chapter shall constitute a violation under the Penal Law and shall be punishable, upon conviction thereof, by a fine of not more than $250 or by imprisonment for not more than 15 days, or both. Each twenty-four-hour period of continued violation shall constitute a separate additional violation.
Minimum penalties for an offense under § 110-7A of this chapter shall be as follows:
The responsible person who is notified of a false alarm on his/her property may appeal the decision of the Town of Van Buren Codes Officer by submitting a written notice within 10 days of the violation notice, with specific details on the alarm in question. The Codes Enforcement Officer will schedule a hearing, if necessary, to determine if a violation has occurred, as follows:
If no demand is received within the time fixed, it will be deemed a violation.
If a demand is received in a timely manner, the CEO will schedule and hold a hearing, giving all parties an opportunity to be heard. Within five days of the completion of the hearing, the CEO shall make a final determination and advise the parties in writing.
Such final determination of the CEO may be appealed pursuant to Article 78 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules.
All information on applications pertaining to avoidable or false alarms shall not be deemed confidential insofar as it is necessary to conduct any litigation under this chapter or to be provided to appropriate officials for fire protection purposes.
The CEO shall retain all records regarding applications, avoidable or false alarm reports, investigations and other data necessary for compliance with this chapter.