[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Philipstown 6-3-1999 by L.L. No. 4-1999. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be known as the "Alarm Systems Law" of the Town of Philipstown.
It is the purpose of this chapter to protect and promote the health, safety and general welfare of the residents of the Town of Philipstown by reducing the number of 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 increase danger to the public safety and welfare and delay responses to genuine emergencies. This chapter seeks to ensure that emergency communications facilities will be available to dispatch emergency service personnel for actual emergencies and to alleviate the nuisance of audible alarms to the surrounding community. Another purpose of the chapter is to contact responsible people to notify them of the activation of the alarm.
For the purpose of this chapter, the following definitions shall apply:
- ALARM INSTALLATION
- Any fire, intrusion or EMS alarm system or aggregation of such systems installed on or within a single building or within more than one building or an area adjacently located on a common site at a specific location.
- ALARM SYSTEM
- Any device, group of devices or system which, when activated by a criminal act, unauthorized intrusion or by smoke, fire or other emergency requiring police, fire or emergency medical services (EMS) response, transmits a signal or message by telephone, radio or other means to a central alarm station, or directly to the police, fire or EMS, and/or produces an audible or visible signal to which the police, fire companies or EMS are expected to respond. Excluded from this definition and from the coverage of this chapter are alarm devices which are not intended to alert persons outside of the premises, but are only designed to alert or signal persons within the premises in which the alarm is installed of an attempted unauthorized intrusion, holdup, fire or other emergency.
- ALARM USER
- Includes each person owning, leasing or otherwise having control over the premises where an alarm device is used or installed.
- CENTRAL ALARM STATION
- A facility to which signals from remote alarm systems are transmitted for verification, monitoring, recording or evaluation, and from which information concerning the activation of an alarm system is relayed or reported, when deemed appropriate, to the police, fire companies, EMS or to a designated alarm response facility.
- CODE OFFICIAL
- Shall have the same definition and meaning as provided in Chapter 62, Building Construction and Fire Prevention.
- DIAL ALARM
- Any alarm device which is a telephone device or telephone attachment that automatically or electronically selects a telephone line connected to a central alarm station and reproduces a prerecorded message to report an emergency requiring fire or protective services.
- DIRECT ALARM
- Any alarm device connected directly by telephone wires from specific locations to the police, or a fire company or EMS.
- EMERGENCY ALARM
- Any alarm device designed to be activated by a criminal act, smoke, fire or other emergency requiring police, fire or EMS response.
- EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES (EMS)
- Any agency responding to medical emergencies, including but not limited to the Philipstown Volunteer Ambulance Corps., Garrison Volunteer Ambulance Corps., and Advanced Life Support Providers.
- FALSE ALARM
- Any emergency message or signal which is transmitted, directly or indirectly, to the police, a fire company or EMS to which the police, fire company or EMS responds and which signal is not the result of a criminal act, unauthorized intrusion, smoke, fire or other emergency. An activated alarm signal which is promptly followed by a call to the police, fire company or EMS notifying them that the signal is to be disregarded shall not constitute a false alarm.
- FIRE COMPANY
- Cold Spring Fire Company No. 1, Continental Village Fire Department, Inc., Garrison Volunteer Fire Co., Inc., and North Highlands Fire District.
- LICENSING AUTHORITY
- The Town of Philipstown.
- Putnam County Sheriff and/or New York State Police.
Any property owner or lessee of property in the Town of Philipstown having on his/her or its premises an alarm system shall apply to the Licensing Authority for a permit to own or otherwise have such system on his/her or its premises. The application shall contain provisions relating to the system installed or to be installed on the premises and shall be on a form which shall be adopted or amended by resolution of the Town Board. No such system may be installed on the premises of the owner or lessee and no presently existing alarm system shall be maintained or modified after the effective date of this chapter without the Licensing Authority's having issued a permit to such owner or lessee. Such permit shall be valid for three years from issuance and must be renewed upon expiration. All alarm systems will be subject to inspection before issuance or renewal of permit.
Alarm systems installed or in use on the effective date of this chapter shall conform to the requirements of this chapter within one year after the effective date hereof. However, any penalty for failure to obtain or possess an alarm system permit shall be waived if the applicant obtains such permit within 10 days of notification of the violation.
Failure to obtain and/or maintain an alarm permit as required by this section shall be a violation of this chapter and shall be subject to the penalties set forth in § 52-10.
Permits shall be required for alarm systems located in buildings of federal, state or local governmental agencies or authorities or in public elementary or secondary schools and public libraries, and said alarm systems shall meet other requirements of this chapter, including liability for civil penalties for its violations; provided, however, that such alarm systems shall be exempt from permit fees, no other provisions shall be made directing the use of such alarm systems, they shall not be required to be discontinued and their permits shall not be suspended or revoked.
All alarm systems referred to in this chapter shall meet the following standards:
Alarm systems equipped with automatic calling devices shall be designed, installed or maintained to call only the number or numbers designated for that purpose and shall be equipped so that a message will be repeated not more than three times.
All alarm systems capable of emitting audible signals shall be equipped with an operating device which will automatically, by mechanical, electrical or other means, shut off such audible signal after 15 minutes of continuous sound audible beyond the boundaries of the premises in which the alarm system is located.
All alarm systems shall be properly maintained at all times. Buildings that are required by law to have fire alarm systems may not be occupied by the public if the system is not operational.
Alarm permits shall be kept on the premises where the alarm system is located, and shall be available for inspection by any Code Official of the town or the police.
Whenever any change occurs relating to a change in ownership of a premises which has an alarm permit, or a change in any information to be furnished in connection with any application to obtain or renew an alarm permit, the applicant or permittee shall give written notice thereof to the Licensing Authority within 20 days after such change.
This chapter shall be administered and enforced by any Code Official of the town.
When a Code Official determines that the police, a fire company or EMS has responded to a false alarm as a result of the activation or report of activation of an alarm system, the Code Official shall impose a charge on the alarm user in accordance with the following schedule:
A Code Official shall notify the alarm user by prompt written notice of a false alarm charge imposed. Within 30 days after the mailing of such notice, the alarm user may contest the false alarm charge by filing with the Code Official information to show that a false alarm did not occur or that the charge imposed was incorrectly computed and should be modified. If any defense to a false alarm charge shall be based on a claim that an alarm system activation was caused by malfunction of telephone equipment under the control of a telephone company or by a public utility system power failure, such defense shall be supported by verification from the telephone company or electric utility company involved or by other probative evidence. The Code Official shall consider all information submitted, shall afford each person contesting a charge an opportunity for a hearing if so requested and, after any such hearing has been held or waived, shall issue a notice of determination which shall affirm, rescind or modify the false alarm charge, notifying the alarm user of his decision. Within 20 days after the mailing of such notice, the alarm user may file an appeal, in writing, but such an appeal may not be taken if the false alarm charge is not first contested with the Code Official as herein provided.
Any failure of an alarm user to pay a false alarm charge imposed under and in accordance with this section within 30 days after such charge is no longer subject to administrative appeal to or review or decision by appeal shall constitute an offense against and violation of this chapter and shall subject such person to the penalties described in § 52-10 without affecting the obligation of such person to pay the false alarm charge imposed.
Upon an owner's receipt of a notice of determination, the owner shall have the right to appeal the determination of the Code Official. In order to appeal, the owner shall file with the Code Official a written notice stating that the owner wishes to appeal, and said notice shall be filed within 20 days following the mailing of the notice of determination. Pending the appeal, the payment of civil penalty is automatically stayed.
The Alarm Appeals Board appointed by the Town Board shall conduct a hearing upon 10 days' notice to all parties with respect to any notice of appeal filed herein. At the hearing, the Code Official will present such evidence as available to show that the alarm was false. The owner will be afforded the opportunity to present evidence and call witnesses. The Code Official must prove his case by a preponderance of the evidence presented. The Appeals Board shall render a written decision which shall be final and binding on all parties.
The Town Board on an annual basis shall designate an Alarm Appeals Board, who, upon filing their oath with the Town Clerk, shall hold and conduct hearings as required. The Board shall be comprised of a member of the Fire Prevention Bureau and two citizens of the community.
All charges imposed under this section shall be paid to the Town of Philipstown and deposited to the general funds of the town.
All charges imposed in respect of a false alarm under this section which remain unpaid 60 days after the date that such imposition is no longer subject to administrative appeal or review or decision by appeal shall become, to the extent permitted by law, a lien upon the property from which the false alarm originated if such property lies within the Town of Philipstown and may be collected in such manner and by such lawful means as may be authorized by law or by rule or regulation duly adopted under this chapter.
Any person who violates any provision of this chapter shall be subject to a fine in the amount not to exceed $250 for each offense. Each day that a violation continues shall constitute a separate offense.
All remedies shall be cumulative, and the use of one or more by the Town of Philipstown shall not bar the use of any other remedy for the purpose of enforcing the provisions of this law. The amount of any fee shall be deemed a debt to the Town of Philipstown. An action may be commenced in the name of the Town of Philipstown in any court of competent jurisdiction for the amount of any delinquent permit fee or civil penalty. All permit fees shall be due upon issuance of the permit.
Information contained on applications for permits under this chapter shall be confidential.
Records of avoidable alarms of subscribers shall be deemed to be confidential.
All information on applications pertaining to avoidable 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 Code Officials shall retain all records regarding applications, avoidable alarms, reports, investigations and all other data necessary for compliance with this chapter.
This chapter shall become effective upon filing with the Secretary of State.