Borough of Schwenksville, PA
Montgomery County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Schwenksville as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Alarm devices — See Ch. 41.
Construction codes — See Ch. 71.
[Adopted 10-13-2005 by Ord. No. 332[1]]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also repealed former Art. I, Smoke Detectors in Multiple-Family Dwellings, adopted 7-8-1982 by Ord. No. 192.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
Any structure or building within the Borough containing two or more dwelling units, each of which shall have complete cooking, toilet and bathing facilities separate from the other unit or units within the structure.
Any structure or building used wholly or in part as a home, residence, dwelling or sleeping place for one or more persons, either permanent or transient, including but not limited to any one- or two-family dwelling, mobile home, modular home, townhouse; lodging, rooming or boarding house; hotel, motel, bed-and-breakfast facility; or a residential occupancy by any other name, be it rented, leased or owned.
A device which is sensitive to any of the products of combustion, including but not limited to a smoke detector or smoke alarm, which, when activated, provides an audible alarm to warn occupants of a fire hazard.
It shall be the duty and responsibility of the owner(s) of every existing building or structure used as a residential dwelling, regardless of when the building or structure was built, within the Borough of Schwenksville to install and have operational smoke detection devices in accordance with the applicable provisions of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), as amended.
For each new building or structure built after the effective date of this article, the smoke detection devices shall be installed in accordance with the applicable standards of the NFPA and the building codes in effect at the time of the new construction.
Nothing contained in this section shall prohibit the owner of a residential dwelling from installing an interconnected smoke detection device, hard-wired to the building's electrical system.
The smoke detection devices must be U.L. (Underwriters Laboratories) approved devices, capable of automatically sensing visible or invisible particles of combustion, and each detection device shall be audible with a minimum rating of 85 dBA at 10 feet. Said smoke detection devices shall be either ionization or photoelectric or a combination of both built into a single unit.
In all residential dwellings, at least one smoke detection device shall be installed outside each sleeping area in the immediate vicinity of the bedrooms and additional smoke detection devices shall be installed on each story of the residential dwelling, including basements and attics, if anything is stored in such areas.
In any multifamily residential dwelling, in addition to the requirements in Subsection A, each smoke detection device shall be interconnected so that operation of one smoke detection device shall cause the alarm-sounding devices in all smoke detection devices within the building, occupancy or within a separate zoned area to sound; or that will initiate the building fire alarm system to provide an audible warning to all occupants of the building, and all such smoke detection devices and/or systems shall be hard-wired into the electric system of the building, in accordance with the National Electric Code.
With approval of the Code Enforcement Officer, smoke detection devices in individual sleeping rooms may be excepted from the requirement that smoke detection devices be interconnected if such building or occupancy is provided with an automatic smoke detection system in the hallways, corridors or stairwell, or is connected to a building fire alarm system which will activate an alarm which is sufficiently audible to warn the occupants of the building of the impending danger of fire or hazard to life.
The compliance date for all existing residential dwellings shall be October 31, 2006.
Each owner who fails to comply with this article regarding smoke detection devices shall be fined not less than $100 nor more than $500 for each offense. The District Courts shall have jurisdiction over any violation of this article.
Anyone who tampers with, damages, destroys or renders inoperative any smoke detection device shall be fined not less than $100 nor more than $500 for each offense. The District Courts shall have jurisdiction over these violations.
Where a Fire Department responds to an alarm of any type at a building or structure required to have smoke detection devices as required by this article or by NFPA, and such building does not have a functional, working smoke detection device and/or the device is not operable, is not in service or is not installed or maintained as required by this article or by NFPA, or the Code Enforcement Officer becomes aware of such building or occupancy, the Code Enforcement Officer shall have authority to investigate. The Code Enforcement Officer may issue a summons, where necessary, to the owner and/or occupant of such building or structure for an appearance in the nearest District Court.
Each fine specified in this section of this article shall be remitted to the Borough Hall. All receipts shall be used to subsidize the costs of providing a greater public awareness of the ramifications of not having smoke detection devices; and to provide smoke detection devices where possible.
Failure to comply with this article shall not be considered as evidence of either comparative or contributory negligence in any civil suit or insurance claim adjudication arising out of any injury or death arising from a fire or the direct consequence of a fire; nor shall failure to comply with this article be admissible as evidence in any trial of any civil action or insurance claim adjudication.
[Adopted 11-8-2018 by Ord. No. 395]
To protect and promote health, safety, and welfare of the residents of the Borough, particularly commercial businesses when the Fire Department is unable to gain access to the structure via standard means, or multiresident structures are built in such a way that a main point of entry is secured, and in circumstances in which occupants are unable to respond to open the structure. The installation of a rapid entry lock box system (Knox Box) will result in less damage to structures, and reduced response time, when doors do not need to be forced opened. The Knox Box system is a UL listed and approved lock box which only the local Fire Department providing emergency services to the Borough and Borough Fire Marshal have access to.
Structures requiring Knox Boxes. The following structures shall be equipped with a Knox Box:
Commercial or industrial structures equipped with automated alarm and/or fire suppression systems;
Multifamily residential structures that have restricted access through locked exterior doors and have a common corridor for accessing the living units;
Governmental structures;
Nursing care facilities;
Additional structures deemed to be a high risk may be required to install a Knox Box at the direction of the Borough Fire Marshal.
Knox Box required for new structures. All new buildings shall have installed a Knox Box, of an Underwriters' Laboratories (UL) type and size approved by the Borough Fire Marshal, prior to the issuance of the permit to occupy.
Knox Box required for existing buildings with improvements. All existing buildings constructing improvements that require any Land Use or Zoning approval shall have installed a Knox Box, of an Underwriters' Laboratories (UL) type and size approved by the Borough Fire Marshal, prior to the issuance of a construction permit and/or certification of occupancy.
Knox Box required for existing buildings. All existing buildings equipped with automatic fire-detection and/or suppression systems shall have installed a Knox Box, of a UL type and size approved by the Borough Fire Marshal, within 12 months of the effective date of this article.
Locked gates or driveways. Any locked gates or driveways which allow access to a commercial business are required to place a Fire Department access lock on the access point to allow immediate emergency access to the commercial property. All locks are to be approved by the Borough Fire Marshal.
Knox Box contents. All Knox Boxes shall contain labeled keys, easily identifiable in the field, to provide access into the property and/or building and to any and all locked areas within the said building as the Borough Fire Marshal may direct. This includes, but is not limited to, all perimeter and interior doors, locks for mechanical disconnects, and alarm codes. It is the responsibility of the building owner to notify the Fire Marshal when keys have been changed, and need to be replaced.
Location of Knox Box. All Knox Boxes shall be affixed to the structure in a secure manner in a location visible to responding personnel. Knox Boxes shall be located within 15 feet of the main exterior entry door to the facility, no more than six feet, but not lower than three feet, above grade. Large buildings are encouraged to have duplicate Knox Boxes located near alternate entry points.
Access to the Knox Box. No owner, or person in control of any building or facility, required to have a Knox Box shall be present, himself or through an agent, during access to the Knox Box by the Fire Department or Fire Marshal except when the Fire Department or Fire Marshal has responded to an emergency at said building or facility.
Any person, firm or corporation who shall violate any provisions of this article, upon conviction thereof, shall be sentenced to pay a fine of not less than $100, but not more than $1,000 plus costs. Each day that a violation of this article continues shall constitute a separate offense.