[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of DeWitt 3-25-1991. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Noise — See Ch. 126.
This chapter shall be known as the "Fire Alarm Nuisance Law."
It is the purpose of this chapter to protect and promote the health, safety and general welfare of the residents of the Town of DeWitt outside the Village of East Syracuse 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 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 community. Another purpose of this chapter is to contact responsible people to notify them of the activation of the alarm.
For the purpose 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 it is 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 direct connection to an emergency agency or which, 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 DeWitt when, in fact, an emergency situation does not exist; 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 DeWitt, his Deputy and/or the Town Fire Inspector.
- A calendar day.
- FIRE AND SMOKE DETECTION SYSTEM
- Any mechanical or electrical device which is designed or used for the detection of fire and 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. 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 Town of DeWitt outside the Village of East Syracuse, including all of the DeWitt Fire District, all of the Jamesville Fire District and all of the East Syracuse Fire Protection District.
- Written notice, given by personal service upon the addressee or given by United States certified mail, postage prepaid, addressad to the person to be notified at his last known address. Service of such notice shall be effective upon the completion of personal service or upon the placing of the same in the custody of United States Postal Service.
- A natural 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 and Generally Accepted Standard (NYSUFPBC and GAS) prescribe minimum standards for the maintenance and installation of all fire and smoke detection systems.
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 notice shall be posted near the alarm panel in such a position as to be legible from eye level. In lieu thereof, such person may maintain such information with the CEO and fire district.
Fire Department officers may disable 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 Nos. 71, 72A, 72B, 72C, 72D and 72E.
The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to a person who engages in the manufacture or sale of a fire and smoke 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.
Grounds. Any one (1) of the following shall constitute grounds for a nuisance alarm system violation:
Where the fire and smoke detection system actuates excessive avoidable alarms and thereby constitutes a public nuisance, which shall be deemed to be three (3) avoidable alarms in any one-hundred-eighty-day period.
A person has failed to keep his alarm system in good repair.
A person has failed to notify the fire district, Onondaga County Fire Dispatcher 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.
No person shall maintain or operate an alarm system which actuates an avoidable alarm three (3) times within a one-hundred-eighty-day period from any separate structure or, in case of multiple tenants, from separate occupancy containing a separate alarm system.
After responding to an alarm that is determined to be an avoidable alarm, the Fire Department shall file a report of the same with the Town CEO.
The CEO shall notify, by certified mail, return receipt requested, the person responsible for the alleged violation, on the first and second such incident occurring within one hundred eighty (180) days. Such notice shall advise that, upon their written demand, received by the CEO within ten (10) days of the postmarked date of the notice, the CEO will schedule a hearing to determine if a violation has occured, 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 (5) 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.
On a third or subsequent incident within one hundred eighty (180) days, the CEO will serve an appearance ticket returnable in Town Court upon the person responsible, after the responding Fire Department has filed the necessary affidavits and information. Such service shall be made by personal delivery of the appearance ticket or by certified mail, return receipt requested.
Persons guilty of a third or subsequent violation of this chapter of the Town of DeWitt Code shall be subject to a fine of not less than one hundred fifty dollars ($150.) nor more than two hundred fifty dollars ($250.) or imprisonment for ten (10) days, or both such fine and imprisonment.
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 CEO shall retain all records regarding applications, avoidable alarm reports, investigations and other data necessary for compliance with this chapter.
This chapter shall take effect on the 10th day after the date of the publication of the notice of adoption; provided, however, this chapter shall take effect from the date of its service as against a person personally served with a copy thereof certified by the Town Clerk under the Corporate Seal of the town and showing the date of its passage and entry in the minutes.