[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee (now Township Council) of the Township of West Windsor 10-27-1986 by Ord. No. 86-30 (Sec. 3-12 of the Revised General Ordinances); amended in its entirety 1-22-2007 by Ord. No. 2006-21. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
The purpose of this chapter is to regulate and control the installation, operation and maintenance of private alarm systems installed in any residential or commercial building within the Township in order to ensure that the quality of alarm services rendered to the public will be maintained at a high level and to alleviate conditions otherwise leading to an unnecessary drain on the manpower of the Police Division, Fire Division and other emergency services of the Township of West Windsor
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ALARM BUSINESS
- Any business operated by a person, partnership, corporation or other business entity, for profit, which engages in the activity of altering, installing, leasing, maintaining, repairing, replacing, selling, servicing or responding to a fire or burglar alarm system or which causes any of these activities to take place. This definition does not include those retail establishments which only sell alarm devices or alarm systems over the counter.
- ALARM DEVICE
- Any type of alarm-activating equipment which provides warning of burglary, intrusion, fire, flood or other potential for harm to life or property.
- ALARM SYSTEM
- The installation in a building or structure of one or more alarm devices for the express purpose of giving visual, audible and/or electronic warning of an emergency such as burglary, intrusion, fire, flood or other potential for harm to life or property.
- ALARM USER
- Any person, partnership, association, corporation, company or organization of any kind in control of any building, structure or facility wherein an alarm device or alarm system is operated.
- FALSE ALARM
- An alarm signal eliciting a response by police, fire fighters, other emergency personnel or other public officials when a situation requiring a response by police, fire fighters, other emergency personnel or other public officials does not in fact exist. A false alarm shall not include an alarm signal caused by violent conditions of nature, such as, but not limited to, lightning, tornadoes, hurricanes or other extraordinary circumstances not reasonably subject to control by the alarm business or alarm user.
- INDEPENDENT SMOKE/FIRE DETECTOR
- A device giving an audible alarm indicating smoke and/or fire within a structure and not connected to an alarm system or to any external warning device.
No person or business entity shall install, operate or maintain any alarm device or alarm system unless the alarm device or alarm system is annually registered with the West Windsor Township Police Division. An alarm device or alarm system shall be deemed registered at such time as a registration form supplied by the Police Division is completed as to all information requested therein and is returned to the Police Division along with the annual registration fee paid in full. This registration shall take place on the later of March 31 or within 30 days of installation of a new system. Among the information to be provided on the registration form is the following:
The name, address and telephone number of the owner of the property upon which the alarm device or alarm system is installed.
The name, address and telephone number of the manager of the property upon which the alarm device or alarm system is installed.
A list of the names, addresses and telephone numbers of the person(s) to be contacted in the event of an alarm or in an emergency situation as determined by the Police Division, Fire Division or Fire Marshal.
The name, address and telephone number of the installer of the alarm device or alarm system.
The type of alarm device or alarm system.
The name, address and telephone number of the person(s) or company maintaining the alarm device or alarm system.
Subsequent to annual registration period, if there is any material change in the information previously provided during the annual registration with respect to any alarm device or alarm system, it shall be the duty of the property owner or manager to file an amended registration form containing accurate current information within 10 days of the change.
The change in ownership of a property with an alarm system shall be deemed a material change and shall require the filing of a new registration form submitted to the Police Division along with the annual fee.
An annual fee in the amount of $25 shall accompany each annual registration form.
Any alarm device or alarm system installed prior to March 31 that is not registered with the Police Division by March 31 may be subject to a late fee of $10 per month.
Each alarm device or alarm system shall be installed utilizing discrete circuitry for multipurpose alarm devices or alarm systems to ensure appropriate emergency response.
Any alarm device or alarm system which requires for its operation electricity supplied by a public utility may be equipped with a battery rendering it operable in the event of a power outage, if so desired by the property owner. Such a battery backup system shall only be required for any alarm device or alarm system which will trigger itself automatically in the event of a power fluctuation, surge or outage.
All burglar alarm devices or alarm systems must be provided with a device which will automatically shut off the alarm after 15 minutes of activation.
All burglar alarm devices or alarm systems not fitted with an external key switch shall be equipped with a time delay of at least 15 seconds, which may include an audible signal of the same length of time, said time delay to be designed to prevent accidental activation of the system. The fifteen-second signal, if utilized, shall be audible only within the structure and not externally.
No person shall install, cause to be installed or permit to be installed any alarm device or alarm system, by whatever name known, which automatically selects a telephone line dedicated to the Police Division or Fire Division for the purpose of playing a recorded message to report any emergency.
In the event that an alarm device or alarm system other than a fire or burglar alarm system is tied into and/or serviced by a central station or answering service, upon activation of said alarm device or alarm system, the central station or answering service shall verify the validity of the alarm prior to notifying the Police Division of the same.
The resetting of any transmitted fire alarm shall be done in the presence of the Fire Division. In no case shall an alarm be reset prior to the Fire Division's authorization. In the case of burglary alarms, the police shall not be responsible for resetting the alarm device or alarm system.
No alarm business or person owning, using or possessing an alarm device or alarm system shall cause or permit the giving of repeated false alarms, whether intentional, accidental or otherwise.
All information submitted in compliance with this chapter shall be held in the strictest confidence and shall be deemed a record exempt from public disclosure pursuant to state law. Any violation of confidentiality shall be deemed a violation of this section.
The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to any alarm device or alarm system installed on property occupied by any Township, county or state or federal government agency or office or to an independent smoke/fire detector as defined in § 34-2 nor to any medical alert system.
Non-fire alarm systems. Any owner or user of an alarm system (other than a fire alarm system) which experiences more than three false alarms within any twelve-month period shall be required to modify or improve said system in such a way as to prevent accidental activation. The owner or user of said system may be subject to a minimum fine of $100 for each false alarm after three in any twelve-month period. Any owner or user of an alarm system (other than a fire alarm system) which experiences more than 12 false alarms in any calendar period may be required to disconnect said alarm system for a period of 90 days unless said system is required by law and provide a statement from those that service the alarm system that the malfunction has been corrected and, in addition, pay a fine of $1,000.
Fire alarm systems. Any owner or user of an alarm device or alarm system which experiences more than three false alarms within any twelve-month period shall be required by the Fire Marshal to modify or improve said system in such a way as to prevent accidental activation and may be subject to penalty by the Fire Marshal in accordance with the Uniform Fire Code, N.J.A.C. 5:70-1.1 et seq. or other applicable law. Prior to modifying any required system, the owner shall submit a construction permit application accompanied by two sets of drawings showing the design and nature of the proposed modifications.
Any owner or user of an alarm device or alarm system who installs such an alarm device or alarm system not in compliance with this chapter may be subject to a minimum fine of $50 or as outlined in Chapter 1, General Provisions, Article II, Penalty, § 1-3 of the Code of the Township of West Windsor. Additionally, said owner or user may be required to remove such an alarm system, unless it is a required system as determined by the Construction Official.
Any owner or user of an alarm device or alarm system other than a fire alarm system shall be notified by the Township Police Division, in writing, once three false alarms have occurred with the system within the twelve-month period noted in Subsection B above.