[HISTORY: Adopted by the Common Council of the City of Oswego 5-10-1999. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Fire prevention and building construction — See Ch. 126.
It is the purpose and intent of this chapter to protect and promote the health, safety and general welfare of the residents of the City of Oswego by reducing the number of avoidable alarms to emergency agencies. Avoidable alarms contribute to ineffective utilization of public safety personnel and equipment. In addition, avoidable alarms require emergency responses which may contribute to the potential of accidents and delayed responses to genuine emergencies. This chapter intends to assure that police and fire communications and facilities will be available to dispatch police and fire personnel for actual emergencies and to alleviate the nuisance of avoidable alarms within the City of Oswego. Additionally, this chapter is intended to provide the City of Oswego with the names of responsible individuals to contact in case of activation of an alarm.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ALARM BUSINESS
- Any individual, partnership, corporation or other entity engaging in the business of selling, leasing, maintaining, servicing, repairing, altering, replacing, moving or installing any alarm system.
- ALARM SYSTEM
- A device or an assembly of equipment which emits a signal which is intended to alert persons inside or outside a premises to the existence of a hazard or emergency, or which is intended to alert emergency agencies by automatically dialing an emergency agency, or which is connected to a private answering point for the purpose of reporting such alarms to emergency agencies, or which is directly connected to the Fire Department, Police Department, Oswego County 911 Center or other emergency agencies. Excluded from this definition and chapter, however, is any residential smoke, heat, combustion or carbon monoxide detectors not connected to any point outside the premises or intended to be heard or detected outside the premises.
- ALARM USER
- Any person, firm, partnership, association, corporation, company or organization of any kind in control of any building, structure or facility wherein an alarm system is maintained, except that, when the alarm system is used on a motor vehicle or is a proprietary system in the City of Oswego, then the person using such system is an alarm user.
- 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 of his/her employees or agents or through any other cause, which is a direct connection to an emergency agency or which, through notification of the emergency by a private answering point or automatic dialing service or a Fire Department alarm system, or through notification to an emergency agency by a second party or means, indicates that an emergency situation exists requiring a response within the City of Oswego, when, in fact, an emergency situation does not exist. An avoidable alarm also includes the knowing or intentional activation of an alarm to an emergency agency when the activator knows an emergency situation does not exist. Avoidable alarms shall not include alarms activated by violent conditions of nature such as hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes or other similar causes beyond the control of the user of an alarm system. Activation of an alarm system under any circumstances when the activator reasonably believes that an emergency situation exists shall not be deemed an "avoidable alarm." Anything herein contained to the contrary notwithstanding, the defective installation of an alarm system, the failure to repair or cause to be repaired an alarm system or the use of defective equipment in connection with an alarm system shall not constitute extraordinary circumstances beyond reasonable control of the alarm user.
- EMERGENCY AGENCY
- The Police Department and Fire Department or other law enforcement agency, ambulance company or other agency summoned to respond to an emergency situation; and the Oswego County 911 Center.
- LOCAL ALARM SYSTEM
- A signaling system which when activated causes an audible signaling device to be activated outside the premises within which the system is installed, excluding, however, any residential smoke, heat, combustion or carbon monoxide detectors not connected to any point outside the premises or intended to be heard or detected outside the premises.
- NOTICE ADDRESS
- The address which an alarm user designates on the application for a permit and the address to which notices are to be sent.
- Any person, firm, partnership, corporation, association, company or organization of any kind.
- PRIVATE ANSWERING POINT
- A business which offers the service of receiving emergency signals, monitoring said signals and relaying them to an emergency agency.
- PROPRIETARY SYSTEM
- An alarm sounding and/or recording within the premises protected by the alarm which is not intended to alert persons outside the premises on which the alarm system is located of a possible hazard and not intended to alert an emergency agency, the control center being under the supervision of the proprietor of the protected premises. If the proprietary system includes a signal line connected directly or by means of an automatic device to an emergency agency or to a private answering point or to a local alarm system, it shall be deemed an "alarm system" as such is defined in this chapter.
- WATER FLOW ALARM
- A sounding device activated by water flow detector or alarm check valve and arranged to sound an alarm which will be audible in all living areas over background noise levels with all intervening doors closed. This also includes Niagara Mohawk's alarm to warn fishermen of high water rising in the Oswego River.
The provisions of this section shall not apply to proprietary alarm systems and residential smoke, carbon monoxide heat or combustion detectors not connected to any point outside the premises or intended to be heard or detected outside the premises. Permits shall be required for all alarm systems located in buildings at federal, state or local government agencies or authorities or at public or private schools; provided, however, that such alarm systems shall be exempt from the permit fees, but subject to the fines and penalties herein provided for avoidable alarms and, where applicable, to the master box fire alarm fee of the Fire Department. No alarm user permit required under this section shall be revoked if such system is required by federal, state or local law. However, all other provisions of this chapter shall apply to such systems, including the payment of authorized fees.
No person shall own, lease, operate or maintain an alarm system within the City of Oswego, nor shall any person cause an alarm system to be connected directly to the Oswego County 911 Center, unless such person shall have first obtained from the city a permit for such alarm as herein provided.
In order to obtain an alarm user permit, any person who operates an alarm system shall submit an application for such permit to the Oswego City Police Department in the form designated by the City of Oswego, which application shall contain the following:
The name, home address and telephone number of the person applying for the permit.
The address of the premises upon which the alarm system is or will be located.
The address to which notice is required under this chapter shall be sent.
The type of alarm system for which a permit is sought.
The name of the alarm business or businesses selling, installing, monitoring, inspecting, responding to and/or maintaining the alarm system, if applicable.
The name, address and telephone number of one or more persons who can be reached at any time and who are authorized by the owner of the premises in which the system is installed to open the premises and secure the alarm.
Any other information relating to the alarm system or user as the City of Oswego may from time to time require.
The information required on the permit application shall be treated as confidential and shall not be made available to members of the general public. The Oswego City Common Council finds that the release of such information would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy and could endanger the life or safety of persons and premises wherein an alarm system is located. Accordingly, the information on a permit application shall be used by the City of Oswego for public safety purposes only and shall be used for no other purpose whatsoever.
Except as provided in § 57-3 of this chapter, every application for an alarm user permit for alarm systems in the City of Oswego shall be accompanied by the appropriate permit fee. No alarm user permit shall be granted unless the fee is submitted at time of application. Fees shall be as follows:
Upon receipt of a properly executed permit application and permit fee, the Oswego City Police Department shall issue an alarm user permit to the applicant.
The alarm user permit shall not be transferable and shall be kept on the premises where the alarm system is located and made available for inspection by emergency agency personnel.
An alarm user permit will be valid for a calendar year, and all permits shall expire on December 31.
Subject to the provisions of this chapter and upon the payment of the appropriate renewal fee as provided in Subsection B hereof, an alarm user permit may be renewed by the alarm user.
The annual permit renewal fee shall be based upon the number of avoidable alarms recorded for each alarm user as follows:
For all alarm users with zero to three avoidable alarms during the preceding permit year, no renewal fee shall be charged.
For all alarm users with four avoidable alarms during the preceding year, a base permit renewal fee of $50 shall be charged.
For all alarm users with more than four avoidable alarms during the preceding year, a base permit fee of $50, plus an additional excessive-use fee for each avoidable alarm in excess of four shall be charged as follows:
At the time of the renewal, an alarm user shall receive credit for any amounts paid during the permit year to reinstate a revoked permit.
No renewal of a permit shall be granted unless the appropriate renewal fee is submitted with the application.
The Oswego Police Department shall notify an alarm user, in writing, by means of first-class mail sent to the notice address listed on the permit application, when an alarm user has had three avoidable alarms during the permit year. The notice shall inform the alarm user that additional avoidable alarms will subject the alarm user to the excessive-use fee as specified in this chapter for each additional avoidable alarm. At the end of the permit year, the Oswego City Police Department shall notify each alarm user having more than three avoidable alarms incurred during the preceding year and the amount to be charged for the renewal of the alarm user permit. Notice shall be in writing and shall be sent by first-class mail to the notice address listed on the application.
An alarm user permit shall be revoked whenever 10 or more avoidable alarms are recorded for a system in any one permit calendar year. Notice of such revocation shall be sent by the Oswego City Police Department via first-class mail to the notice address listed on the permit application at least 15 days prior to the effective date of permit revocation. An alarm user may reinstate a revoked permit by the payment of the excessive-use fee for each avoidable alarm in excess of three and by submission of proof that modifications have been made to the alarm system or other steps have been effected so as to reduce the number of avoidable alarms, or why any such alarm should not be classified as an avoidable alarm. An alarm system will not be revoked under this section if said alarm system is required by federal, state or local law; provided, however, that all other provisions of this chapter shall apply to such systems, and the user thereof shall remain responsible for the payment of all authorized fees.
If no proof of modification or steps taken to reduce the number of avoidable alarms is submitted by the alarm user within at least 15 days or if it is determined by the Chief of Police and/or designee that the action taken or to be taken will not prevent the occurrence of false alarms, the Police Chief and/or designee shall give notice by certified mail to the alarm user that the permit will be revoked without further notice on the 15th day after receiving said certified letter.
An alarm user whose alarm permit has been revoked may have his/her permit reinstated by submission of proof that modifications have been made to the alarm system to reduce the number of avoidable alarms and by payment of all excessive use fees. Should another avoidable alarm occur during the life of the permit in said calendar year, same shall be subject to summary revocation. In such case, the revocation shall be effective on the 7th day following the mailing, by certified mail, of a revocation by the Chief of Police. The alarm permit may then be reinstated, after making a payment of a $50 fine and the appropriate excessive-use fee and submission of proof that modifications have been made to the alarm system to reduce the number of avoidable alarms. Should another avoidable alarm occur again during the life of the permit, the same above procedures shall be followed.
Whenever an emergency agency responds to an avoidable alarm as herein provided, said agency shall file with the Oswego City Police Department an avoidable alarm report, which shall contain the following information:
All local alarm systems as defined in § 57-2 of this chapter shall become deactivated and silenced automatically after a period of time not to exceed 15 minutes of activation.
Any person utilizing the local alarm system within the City of Oswego by virtue of such utilization of a local alarm shall be deemed to have given consent to the police and/or fire officials of the City of Oswego to disable an audible alarm signal that has not been silenced prior to expiration of the fifteen-minute period referred to in Subsection A of this section, and neither the City of Oswego nor its officers and employees, including but not limited to such police and fire officials, shall be liable for any damages which may result from the disabling of an audible alarm signal as herein provided.
In addition to any other fees or penalties provided for in this chapter, a violation of § 57-4 of this chapter shall be deemed an offense and shall be punishable by a mandatory fine of not less than $100 nor more than $250; provided, however, that no person shall be charged with such offense until the expiration of 15 days after the date of written notice is mailed to such person by certified mail that he/she is required to obtain an alarm user permit, and further provided that no charge shall be filled against a person so notified if he/she obtains a permit during said fifteen-day period. A person found guilty of violating § 57-4 of this chapter shall not be excused from obtaining a required permit.
Every alarm business installing, maintaining or operating alarm systems within the City of Oswego shall provide all alarm system users, purchasers or lessees with written instructions that provide adequate information to enable the alarm user to operate the alarm properly. A current copy of all such written instructions shall be furnished to the City of Oswego upon request.
The Police and Fire Chiefs are hereby directed to develop procedures necessary to implement this chapter and to commence an ongoing public education to inform users and potential users of alarm systems of the requirements and purposes of this chapter. Said education program shall also serve to increase public awareness of the cost and danger of false alarms, tending to reduce their number.
The provisions and requirements of this chapter shall apply to all persons who are alarm users on the effective date of this chapter and to all persons who subsequently become alarm users.