Township of Falls, PA
Bucks County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of Falls Township as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 5-2-1972]
[Amended 12-1-1977 by Ord. No. 77-9]
Upon the request of property owners, tenants, lessees or other subscribers and upon their entering into a subscriber's agreement, the Township shall permit connection of such persons' burglar and fire alarm systems to the Township of Falls alarm monitoring panel located in the Township Police Department dispatcher's office.
The connection service offered by the Township shall extend only to connecting the subscriber's alarm to the alarm monitoring panel upon approval of the subscriber's request for connection by the Township.
[Amended 7-17-2002 by Ord. No. 2002-18; 4-3-2007 by Ord. No. 2007-2]]
The Township Manager and Chief of Police are hereby designated and empowered to approve such requests for connection service upon receipt of a signed agreement from the subscriber and the applicable fees.
The subscriber requesting connection of his burglar and fire alarm system to the Township alarm monitoring panel shall submit an executed subscriber's agreement on a form provided by the Township and shall pay a fee to the Township for connection in the amount of $250 and, in addition thereto, on or before January 15 of the year following the year of installation and each year thereafter, shall pay a fee to the Township for maintenance in the amount of $100 per annum.
Failure of a subscriber to pay to the Township the annual maintenance fee on or before January 15 of each year of service shall result in the subscriber's burglar and fire alarm system being disconnected from the Township alarm monitoring panel upon five days' notice by the Township to the subscriber. In that event, subscriber shall pay to the Township the requisite fee for connection if subscriber desires to reconnect his burglar and fire alarm system.
Commencing with the effective date of this article, only those burglar alarm systems which are compatible with the subscriber modules connected to the alarm monitoring panel shall be permitted. Those subscribers receiving monitoring service prior to the effective date of this article shall enter into a subscriber's agreement in accordance with the terms of this article and pay an initial connection fee of $200 within 30 days of receipt of Township invoice, unless such connection fee shall have heretofore been paid.
[Adopted 8-1-1977 by Ord. No. 77-6]
This article shall be known and may be cited as the "Falls Township Emergency Police and Fire Alarm Ordinance."
The following definitions shall apply in the interpretation and enforcement of this article:
ALARM EQUIPMENT SUPPLIER
Any person, firm or corporation who sells or leases and/or installs automatic protection devices.
ANSWERING SERVICE
A service whereby trained employees, in attendance at all times, receive prerecorded voice messages from automatic protection devices reporting an emergency at a stated location and have the duty to relay immediately by live voice only such emergency message over a designated or direct trunkline to the communications center of the Police or Fire Department.
AUDIBLE ALARM
Any device, bell, horn or siren which is attached to the interior or exterior of a building and emits a warning signal audible outside the building and designed to attract attention when activated by a criminal act or other emergency requiring police to respond.
AUTOMATIC PROTECTION DEVICE
An electrically operated instrument composed of sensory apparatus and related hardware which automatically transmits a prerecorded voice alarm over a regular telephone line by direct or indirect connection to the Police Department or Fire Department communications center, upon receipt of a stimulus from a sensdry apparatus that has detected a physical force or condition inherently characteristic of a fire or intrusion.
CENTRAL STATION PROTECTIVE SYSTEM
A protective system, or group of such systems, operated privately for customers by a person, firm or corporation which maintains supervisors and accepts recorded messages from automatic protection devices at a central station having 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 primary trunkine to the communications center of the Police or Fire Department.
[1]
DESIGNATED TRUNKLINE
A telephone line leading into the communications center of the Police or Fire Department that is for the primary purpose of handling emergency messages which originate from automatic protection devices and are transmitted, directly or indirectly, through an intermediary.
FALSE ALARM
Any signal activated by an automatic protection device, any audible alarm or any other kind of direct or indirect signal given to the police or fire communications center to which police or firemen respond, which is not the result of a fire, burglary, robbery or similar emergency.
FIRE COMMUNICATIONS CENTER
The police communications center servicing the Fire Department.
FIRE DEPARTMENT
The volunteer fire companies operating in the Township of Falls.
FIRE MARSHAL
The Fire Marshal of Falls Township.
INTERMEDIARY
A central station protective system or an answering service as herein defined.
KEY
To use a telephone line and equipment for transmitting a message, either directly or indirectly, by an automatic protection device.
MANAGER
The Manager of Falls Township.
PERMIT
Written permission duly granted to a qualified applicant by the Township upon payment of the required fee of $35.
[Amended 4-14-1983 by Ord. No. 83-1]
POLICE COMMUNICATIONS CENTER
The police communications room and other rooms which house auxiliary communications equipment.
POLICE DEPARTMENT
The Township of Falls Police Department.
PRIMARY TRUNKLINE
A telephone line leading into the communications center of the Police Department that is for the purpose of handling emergency calls on a person-to-person basis, and which line is identified by a specific listing among the white pages in the telephone directory issued by the Bell Telephone Company.[2]
TOWNSHIP
The Township of Falls, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
[1]
Editor's Note: The former definition of “Chief of Police,” which immediately followed this definition, was repealed 7-17-2002 by Ord. No. 2002-18.
[2]
Editor's Note: The definition of “Public Safety Director/Assistant Township Manager,” added 7-17-2002 by Ord. No. 2002-18, was deleted 4-3-2007 by Ord. No. 2007-2, which ordinance replaced Code references to that title with reference to the “Chief of Police.”
After the enactment of this article, owners or lessees must equip audible alarms with a timing mechanism that will disengage the audible alarm after a maximum period of 15 minutes. Audible alarms without such a timing mechanism shall be unlawful in the Township and must be disconnected by the owner or lessee within 60 days from the effective date of this article.
A. 
No automatic protection device installed after the effective date of this article shall be keyed to a primary trunkline.
B. 
After the effective date of this article, all automatic protection devices that transmit recorded messages directly to the Police Department or Fire Department shall be keyed to a designated trunkline.
C. 
Within 60 days from the effective date of this article, existing automatic protection devices in the Township shall be disconnected from primary trunklines.
D. 
Automatic protection devices disconnected, as provided in Subsection C above, may be keyed to a designated trunkline.
E. 
After the effective date of this article, a valid permit shall be required from the Township to install any automatic protection device or audible alarm within the confines of Falls Township. Any person, firm or corporation having an agreement with the Township to connect a burglar or fire alarm to the Township monitoring panel is exempt from meeting this requirement.
A. 
Any person who has an automatic protection device in the Township may arrange to have such device keyed to an intermediary authorized to relay emergency messages to the Police or Fire Department.
B. 
The relay of messages by authorized intermediaries shall be over a designated trunkline.
C. 
Automatic protection devices keyed to an authorized intermediary may also be keyed to another telephone which the owner or lessee of the automatic protection device has available to himself or his representative at some other location.
A. 
Within 90 days from the effective date of this article, every alarm equipment supplier who has keyed an automatic protection device in the Township to the designated trunkline shall furnish to the Chief of Police a current list of such installations which shall include:
[Amended 7-17-2002 by Ord. No. 2002-18; 4-3-2007 by Ord. No. 2007-2]
(1) 
The telephone number of the owner or lessee.
(2) 
The address where the device is installed and the telephone number of that address.
(3) 
The name, address and telephone number of a central station protective system or any other person or firm who is authorized to respond to an emergency and gain access to the address where the device is installed.
(4) 
The name and telephone number of any person, firm or corporation, if any, other than the alarm equipment supplier who is responsible for the maintenance and repair of the automatic protection device.
B. 
By the fifth working day of each month following the submission of the initial list, every alarm equipment supplier shall furnish the Police Department with a supplemental list of any additional installations he has keyed to the designated trunklines, along with any corrections to or deletions from lists previously furnished. An alarm equipment supplier who enters into the business after the effective date of this article shall furnish a list containing the information specified in Subsection A by the fifth working day of the month following a first installation and shall, thereafter, furnish supplemental lists as required by this section.
C. 
All information furnished pursuant to this section shall be kept confidential and shall be for the use of the designated personnel of the Police Department only.
Automatic protection devices installed in the Township that are keyed to designated trunklines shall meet the following requirements:
A. 
The type and content of recorded messages must be intelligible and in the format approved prior to installation by the Chief of Police or Fire Marshal as appropriate for the type of emergency.
[Amended 7-17-2002 by Ord. No. 2002-18; 4-3-2007 by Ord. No. 2007-2]
B. 
No more than one call shall be made over a designated trunkline to the Police Department or Fire Department as a result of a single activation of the automatic protection device.
C. 
The time for transmitting each recorded message shall not exceed 15 seconds.
D. 
Recorded messages may be repeated during one call, but the interval between each recorded message shall be no less than four seconds.
E. 
The sensory mechanism used in connection with an automatic protection device must be adjusted to suppress false indications of fire or intrusion, so that the device will not be activated by impulses due to fleeting pressure changes in water pipes, short flashes of light, the rattling or vibrating of doors and windows, vibrations to the premises caused by the passing of vehicles or any other force not related to genuine alarms.
F. 
All components comprising such a device must be maintained by the owner or lessee in good repair to assure maximum reliability of operation.
A. 
Each alarm equipment supplier who sells or leases an automatic protection device in the Township after the effective date of this article, which device is keyed to a designated trunkline, shall furnish operating instructions, a circuit diagram and a maintenance manual to the buyer or lessee.
B. 
Each alarm equipment supplier referred to in Subsection A shall furnish operating instructions, a circuit diagram and a maintenance manual for each type of automatic protection device he deals in and installs in the Township to the Chief of Police. If the instructions are not clear, the alarm equipment supplier may be required to revise the instructions to the Chief of Police and all buyers and lessees of the particular automatic protection device.
[Amended 7-17-2002 by Ord. No. 2002-18; 4-3-2007 by Ord. No. 2007-2]
A. 
Each alarm equipment supplier who sells or leases an automatic protection device in the Township, which device is keyed to a designated trunkline, shall make service available, directly or through an agent, on a twenty-four-hour-per-day basis, seven days a week, to repair such device or to correct any malfunction that may occur. Such service shall be made available for any person using an automatic protection device supplied.
B. 
At the time of installation, an alarm equipment supplier shall furnish to any buyer or lessee using a repair service written information as to how service may be obtained at any time, including the telephone number of the alarm equipment supplier or agent responsible for service. The buyer or lessee and the alarm equipment supplier or agent supplying a service shall be responsible for having the device disconnected or repaired as quickly as possible after notice that the automatic protection device is not functioning properly.
When message evidencing failure to comply with the operational requirements set forth in § 92-13 are received by the Police Department and the Township Manager concludes that the automatic protection device sending such messages should be disconnected in order to relieve the particular Department of the burden of responding to false alarms, the Township Manager is authorized to demand that the owner or lessee of the device, or his representative, disconnect the device until it is made to comply with the operational requirements. If disconnection of the defective device is not accomplished promptly and the Township Manager determines that the malfunctioning device is repeatedly sending false alarms without any intermittent valid alarms, the Township Manager may then take any steps necessary to disconnect the defective automatic protection device.
Alarm equipment suppliers must conform to Underwriters' Laboratories, Inc., standards.
[Amended 7-17-2002 by Ord. No. 2002-18; 4-3-2007 by Ord. No. 2007-2]
For the purpose of enforcing this article and as a condition of installing and maintaining an automatic protection device, the owner or lessee thereof shall execute a consent in such form as may be prescribed by the Manager, which will authorize the Building Official, the Chief of Police and the Fire Marshal to enter upon a lessee's or owner's premises within the Township of Falls, at such reasonable times and upon reasonable notice, to inspect the installation and operation of an automatic protection device.
No person shall conduct any test or demonstration of an automatic protection device without first obtaining permission from the Police and Fire Departments. Where the equipment is keyed through an intermediary, no such permission is necessary unless the alarm or signal is to be relayed to the Police Department or the Fire Department.
Alarm equipment suppliers, installers of audible alarms and intermediaries shall furnish, at or prior to the time of contracting and at their expense, a copy of this article to owners, lessees or users of the equipment or services to be supplied.
A. 
Consent to pay costs; schedule of costs.
[Amended 4-14-1983 by Ord. No. 83-1; 5-18-1995 by Ord. No. 95-4]
(1) 
For the purpose of defraying the costs to the Township of responding to a false alarm, the owner or lessee of an automatic protection device, persons using the services of intermediaries and users of audible alarms and users of any other kind of direct or indirect connection with the police or fire communications centers, except persons using the two-way live voice communication by telephone, shall, as a condition to installation and continued operation of such equipment or service, execute a consent in such form as may be prescribed by the Manager that such owner, lessee or user shall pay the Township for all false alarms following the second one, according to the following schedule for each false alarm originating from the owner's premises that has not been activated by some force of nature or means beyond the owner's, lessee's or user's control:
(a) 
One to two warnings in a three-hundred-sixty-five-day period.
[Amended 1-25-2001 by Ord. No. 2001-1]
(b) 
Three to five warnings in a three-hundred-sixty-five-day period: $50 per false alarm.
[Amended 1-25-2001 by Ord. No. 2001-1]
(c) 
Over five warnings in a three-hundred-sixty-five-day period: $100 per false alarm.
[Amended 1-25-2001 by Ord. No. 2001-1]
(2) 
This sum shall be a civil claim by the Township and does not affect the penalty provisions prescribed by § 92-22.
(3) 
When a false alarm occurs, the Police Department, within 20 days from the date of the false alarm, shall notify the permit holder of the alarm device from which the false alarm emanated or other person causing said false alarm that a false alarm charge is due and the amount thereof. Such notice shall be in writing and mailed to the permit holder or person causing said false alarm at his last known address by regular mail, postage prepaid. Failure of the Police Department to mail notice of assessment of a false alarm charge within 20 days from the occurrence of a false alarm shall preclude Falls Township from assessing a false alarm charge for said false alarm.
(4) 
A false alarm charge shall be due and payable at the office of the Police Department 30 days from the date of the mailing of the notice of assessment of the charge.
B. 
Failure to comply. Any such owner, lessee or user who fails to execute the consent described in Subsection A within 90 days from the effective date of this article shall, within the ninety-day period, disconnect the alarm, automatic protection device or any other kind of direct or indirect connection with the police or fire communications centers and shall discontinue using the services of any intermediaries.
[Amended 1-25-2001 by Ord. No. 2001-1]
Any person, firm or corporation who violates or permits a violation of this article, including misusing, falsely activating or permitting continual accidental activation of any alarm system mentioned in this article, shall be guilty of a summary violation and, upon conviction, shall be sentenced to pay a fine of not more than $1,000, plus all court costs, including reasonable attorney's fees, incurred by the Township in the enforcement of this article. Each day a violation exists shall constitute a separate offense. In default of the payment of any fine, the defendant shall be sentenced to imprisonment to the extent allowed by law for the punishment of summary offenses. Further, the appropriate officers or agents of the Township are hereby authorized to file a citation for such summary violation and seek any other available relief at law or equity, including injunction, to enforce compliance with this article.