[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Commissioners of the Township of Butler as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Uniform construction codes — See Ch. 138.
Article I Burglar Alarms
Article II Fire Alarms
§ 107-11 Responsibility for fire alarm activations; owner response; fire alarm malfunction; correction action.
[Adopted 4-1-1985 by Ord. No. 633; amended in its entirety 10-5-1998 by Ord. No. 765]
For purposes of this article, the following terms are defined as follows:
- A communication to the Police Department indicating that a crime or other emergency situation warranting immediate action by the police has occurred or is occurring.
- ALARM BUSINESS
- Any business operated by any individual, including a person self-employed, partnership, corporation or other entity which engages in activities involving alarms, including but not limited to the activity of selling, leasing, maintaining, servicing, repairing, altering, replacing, moving or installing any alarm system or causing to be sold, leased maintained, serviced, repaired, altered, replaced, moved or installed, any alarm system in or on any building, structure or facility or employing alarm agent(s). This definition does not include a person who engages in the manufacture or sale of an alarm system from a fixed location and who neither visits the location where the alarm system is to be installed nor designs the scheme for physical location and installation of the alarm system in a specific location.
- ALARM DEVICE
- An electronic device designed to:
- FALSE ALARM
- An alarm to which the Police Department is notified of the activation of an alarm device when a crime has not, in fact, occurred. It shall include all alarm signal activation incidents in which investigation by the appropriate department reveals no evidence of the existence of an emergency condition. Those alarm signals that investigation reveals to have been triggered by physical damage to the protected premises as a result of hurricane, tornado, earthquake or other natural phenomena are excluded from the definition of false alarm.
- MONITORING AGENCY
- Any firm, corporation or person whose duties include monitoring the device.
- PERMIT HOLDER
- A person to whom the Police Department has issued an alarm device permit.
- POLICE DEPARTMENT
- The Police Department of the Township of Butler.
It shall be unlawful for a property owner, lessee of property or a person otherwise occupying a premises within the municipality to operate an alarm device on his premises without first obtaining an alarm device permit from the Police Department.
In order to apply for an alarm device permit, a person must submit an application to the Police Department stating the following:
The name of the applicant.
The home and business addresses and telephone number of each such applicant.
The location at which the alarm device will be installed and operated.
The type of alarm, installation company and monitoring company.
The names, addresses and telephone numbers of at least two individuals who have keys to the premises at which the alarm device is located and who are authorized to enter the premises at any time, but who do not reside at the location of the alarm device, and are able to respond and present a key within 30 minutes of the activation of an alarm device.
In addition, each person submitting an application for an alarm device permit shall submit a signed statement in the following form:
"I (We) the undersigned applicant(s) for an alarm device permit, intending to be legally bound hereby, state that neither I (we), nor anyone claiming by, through or under me (us) shall make any claim against Butler Township, Butler County, Pennsylvania, for any damage caused to the premises at which the alarm device, which is the subject of this application, is or will be located, if such damage is caused by a forced entry to premises by authorized representative of Butler Township, Butler County, Pennsylvania, in order to answer an alarm from said alarm device at a time when said premises are or appear to be unattended or when in the discretion of said authorized representatives, circumstances appear to warrant a forced entry; and further, I (we) do hereby release Butler Township, its agents, servants, and/or employees from any due claim for any damage arising from any entry authorized herein."
It shall be the permit holder's continuing responsibility to immediately notify the Police Department of any changes in the information required to be filed in the alarm device permit application.
The Police Department shall furnish forms upon which any person wishing to apply for an alarm device permit may submit his application.
The Police Department shall, within 30 business days from receipt of application for an alarm device permit, either grant an alarm device permit to the applicant or notify the applicant in writing that his application has been denied and the reason or reasons why it has been denied.
The Police Department shall have the power to revoke an alarm device permit. An alarm device permit shall be revoked by notifying the permit holder, in writing, that his alarm device permit has been revoked and the reason or reasons why it has been revoked.
An alarm device permit may only be revoked for any one of the following reasons:
Failure of a permit holder to pay a false alarm charge assessed by the Police Department under the provisions of § 107-4 within 30 days of the mailing to him of a notice of assessment of a false alarm charge.
The occurrence of more than 15 false alarms from an alarm device during any calendar year.
Appeal rights. Any person or firm aggrieved by any decision of the Police Department may file a request for reconsideration with the Township Manager. Any person or firm aggrieved by the decision of the Township Manager may file an appeal with the Butler Township Board of Commissioners pursuant to the Pennsylvania Local Agency Law.
Editor's Note: See 2 Pa.C.S.A. §§ 551 et seq. and 751 et seq.
A person who has had his burglar/security alarm device permit revoked under § 107-3 may reapply for an alarm device permit 45 days after the effective date of such revocation; provided, however, that if a person's alarm device permit was revoked for nonpayment of a false alarm or for nonpayment of installation fees, or both, the Police Department shall deny said application unless such charge or fee, or both, have been paid. Notwithstanding the foregoing, a person who has had his alarm device permit twice revoked may not reapply for an alarm device permit for one year from the effective date of the second revocation.
If an alarm device is designed to cause a bell, siren or sound-making device to be activated outside the premises on which the alarm device is installed at the time it gives an alarm, said alarm device shall be designed to automatically deactivate the bell, siren or other sound-making device after five minutes of operation.
All alarm devices shall meet the applicable standards of the Underwriters' Laboratories or other recognized industry standards. The applicant for a permit may be required to submit evidence of the Underwriters' Laboratories seal of approval, reliability and/or suitability of the alarm device.
The sensory mechanism used in connection with an alarm device must be adjusted to suppress false indications of intrusion, so that the alarm device will not be activated by incorrect influences, including but not limited to impulses due to short flashes of light, power surges, wind noises such as rattling or vibrating of floors or windows, vehicular noises adjacent to the premises or other forces unrelated to genuine alarm situations.
A permit holder shall pay to the municipality a fee for each false alarm emanating from his alarm device during any calendar year, as more fully established hereafter in Subsection D of this section.
A false alarm fee shall be due and payable at the Police Department 15 days from the date of the mailing of the notice of assessment of the false alarm fee. Exception: If a copy of a service order from the permit holder's registered installation company states the condition for the false alarms has been repaired for each activation. This exception shall not exceed four times per calendar year.
Failure of a permit holder to pay a false alarm charge on or before the due date shall subject the permit holder to revocation of his alarm device under § 107-2 of this article.
Fee schedule. The fee and fine schedule for false alarms shall be established by resolution of the Butler Township Board of Commissioners which is filed at the Butler Township Manager's office.
Application and fees.
Application. Within 30 days of the effective date of this article, any person engaging in alarm business activities defined in this article shall apply for an alarm business permit. Such application shall be signed by the individual proprietor of such business or by a partner or by the proper corporate officials as is appropriate for the form of the business seeking the permit, shall contain such information as the Chief of Police shall by regulation require as necessary to administer and enforce this article, and shall be accompanied by the required fee.
Permit fee. The permit fee shall be due and payable by April 1 with the application. There shall be no prorating of the initial fee even though the permit has been applied for after April 1. Under no circumstances shall fees be refunded. The permit fee shall be established by resolution of the Butler Township Board of Commissioners, which is filed at the Butler Township Manager's office.
Expiration date. An alarm business permit shall automatically terminate and expire on March 31 next following issuance of the permit but shall be automatically renewed upon payment of the annual permit fee if received prior to or on the expiration date.
Processing of application.
Following completion of the application and payment of the fee, the Chief shall have 30 days to investigate the applicant, process the application and grant or deny a permit.
Permits to any applicant shall be denied if the applicant does not agree to comply or fails to comply with the requirements of this article and rules and regulations adopted and orders of the Chief issued pursuant to this article; or the applicant has knowingly made any false, misleading, or fraudulent statements of material fact in the application or in any report or record required to be filed with the Township.
Alarm business responsibilities.
Within 30 days after the effective date of this section or upon receipt of an alarm business permit, whichever first occurs, each alarm business permittee shall supply the Police Department with a complete list of the names and addresses of all persons within the Township to whom or for whom alarm systems have been sold or installed and/or who are currently under contract for service to such a system; said list shall be updated within 30 days of any addition or deletion of persons from the permittee's customer list.
Investigation of false alarms. At the direction of the Chief of Police, an alarm business permittee shall investigate false alarms transmitted from any alarm system they have installed or presently service where the police have been unable to determine the cause of a false alarm, and thereafter submit a written report of their findings within 15 days of being directed to conduct the investigation unless the time to report has been extended by the Chief for good cause shown.
Statistical data. In addition to any other information that may be required to be supplied by the provisions of this article, the Chief may require an alarm business to furnish him with such statistical data as may be reasonably available relative to specified periods of operation.
Furnishing of instructions to alarm users. Every alarm business selling, leasing, or furnishing to any alarm user an alarm system shall furnish the user with written instructions that provide information to enable the user to operate the alarm system properly and to obtain service for the alarm system at any time.
Liability. The issuance of any permit shall not constitute acceptance by the municipality of any liability to maintain any equipment, to answer alarms or for anything in connection therewith.
Confidentiality. The information furnished and secured pursuant to this article shall be confidential in character and shall not be disclosed except in accordance with law, order of court, or, if required, in connection with administration and enforcement of this article.
Any person, partnership or corporation or any partner or principal officer of any corporation who or which has violated or permitted the violation of any of the provisions of this article shall, upon being found guilty thereof in a proceeding instituted before the District Justice having jurisdiction in the Township of Butler, pay a fine of not less than $300 nor more than $1,000, plus all court costs, and upon failure of such person or persons to pay any such fine thus imposed, the same shall be imprisoned for a period for 30 days. Each violation of the provisions of this article shall constitute a separate violation, and separate proceedings may be brought against any such violator before the District Justice. Each day that a violation continues shall constitute a separate violation of the provisions of this article. Any such fines collected by the District Justice for the violation of this article shall be paid over to the Police Department of Butler Township.
The Police Department shall notify each alarm permit holder of any violation of this article and of the penalty for each violation, and shall notify the alarm permit holder or any other person violating this article of the fine imposed hereunder, and of the time and manner in which the same may be paid. In the event that the alarm permit holder, or such other person, shall fail to pay the fine within the time period and in the manner prescribed by the Police Department, the fining entity shall issue a citation before the District Justice alleging a violation of this article, and the matter shall then proceed in the manner prescribed under the Rules of Criminal Procedure of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
The Police Department shall have the option, upon notification to the permit holder and/or monitoring agency, to place an alarm system temporarily out of service if it repeatedly malfunctions to the point of being a burden on the emergency services of the Township.
[Adopted 12-21-1992 by Ord. No. 722]
As used in this article, the following words and terms shall have the following meanings:
- AUTOMATIC TELEPHONE DIALING DEVICE or DIGITAL ALARM COMMUNICATOR
- An alarm system which automatically sends a prerecorded voice message or coded signal over regular telephone lines by connection or otherwise indicating the existence of an emergency situation that the alarm system is designated to detect.
- FALSE FIRE ALARM
- The activation of any alarm which results in the response of the Fire Department, caused by the negligence or intentional misuse of the system by the owner or his employees, servants or agents, or any other activation not caused by heat, smoke or fire, exclusive of a fire alarm malfunction as defined below. Any alarm is not considered a false alarm if the alarm is activated due to malicious causes beyond the control of the owner.
- FIRE ALARM MALFUNCTION
- The activation of an alarm which results in the response of the Fire Department caused by mechanical failure, malfunction, improper installation or lack of proper maintenance, or any other reason for which the Fire Department personnel is unable to gain access to the premises for any reason, or unable to determine the apparent cause of the alarm activation.
- FIRE ALARM SYSTEM
- Any mechanical, electrical or radio-controlled device which is designed to emit a sound or transmit a signal or message when activated or any such device which emits a sound and transmits a signal or message when activated because of smoke, heat or fire. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, alarm systems shall be deemed to include audible alarms at the site of the installation of the detection device, perimeter alarms and automatic telephone direct dialing devices or digital alarm communication signal. A single station alarm device shall not be deemed to be an alarm system under this article.
- FIRE ALARM TECHNICIAN
- Any person who inspects, installs, or repairs or performs maintenance on fire alarm system.
- LEGAL STATION ALARM DEVICES
- An assembly incorporating the detector, control equipment and alarm-sounding device in one unit operated from a power supply either in the unit or obtained at a point of installation.
- Any person who owns the premises on which the alarm system is installed or the person or persons who lease, operate, occupy or manage the premises.
- Any building, structure or combination of buildings and structures which serve as dwelling units, single-family or multifamily, or any other area within a building, structure or combination thereof which is used for any purpose wherein an alarm system is installed.
- Hand delivered by a representative of either the Butler Township Fire Department Fire Marshal's office to the owner or authorized representative who responded to the premises. In the event that the owner or authorized representative fails to respond to the premises within 30 minutes, "serve" shall mean placing the form or other matter in the U.S. mail, postage prepaid, addressed to the owner or authorized representative.
- SMOKE DETECTOR
- A device which detects invisible or visible particles of combustion.
- THIRD OPERATIVE ALARM SYSTEM
- An alarm system which the owner of the premises is required to maintain in operating condition pursuant to state statute, law, ordinance, rule or regulations of any government entity.
[Amended 10-5-1998 by Ord. No. 765]
Every person who installs, owns, possesses or operates any fire alarm system within the Township of Butler shall notify the Fire Marshal's office of the existence of said fire alarm systems prior to the system being activated. It shall be the sole responsibility of the company which is installing any fire alarm system to provide the system owner with a copy of the most current Township Alarm Ordinance; a notice of existing alarm form; and a current copy of NFPA 72H. The notice of existing alarm form shall be completed by the owner and forwarded to the Zoning Officer or his authorized representative prior to the system being activated. Notice to the Zoning Officer or his authorized representative shall include the following information:
The names, address, business and home telephone numbers of the owner, lessee, operator, manager or person in possession of the premises wherein the alarm is installed.
The name, address, telephone number of a minimum of two persons who can be notified by the Fire Marshal's office in the event of the activation of the alarm system, who is capable of responding to the premises within 30 minutes and who is authorized to enter the premises to ascertain the status thereof.
The date of activation of the alarm system.
§ 107-11 Responsibility for fire alarm activations; owner response; fire alarm malfunction; correction action.
[Amended 10-5-1998 by Ord. No. 765]
The responsibility of a fire alarm activation shall be that of the premises in which the fire alarm system is installed. A response to the alarm activation shall result when any member of any Butler Township Fire Department shall be dispatched to the premises where the alarm has been activated or learns of an activation of an alarm system, by any means whatsoever, and responds thereto by traveling to that premises. After responding to the alarm activation, the Fire Marshal's office shall be notified. Said Fire Department shall notify any person identified in the notice required pursuant to § 107-10 in the activation of the alarm, and such person shall thereupon travel to the premises to ascertain the status thereof. Should the persons notified fail to appear at said premises within 30 minutes after being notified to do so, the Township shall charge the owner of the premises a fee in an amount as set forth in the schedule of fees, on file in the Township Manager's office. The officer or member of the Fire Department who responds to said premises shall serve the owner or authorized representative a fire alarm activation report.
In the event of a fire alarm activation deemed by the Fire Department to be a result of a fire alarm malfunction, the owner will be served a fire alarm activation report by the Fire Department, indicating the activation was deemed to be a result of a fire alarm malfunction, and requiring the owner to return a completed affidavit of service/repair within 15 days of said alarm activation, which can be verified to the satisfaction of the Fire Marshal, that the fire alarm system in question has actually been examined by a fire alarm technician and that a bona fide attempt has been made to identify and correct any defect in design, installation or operation of the fire alarm system which was identifiable as the cause of the fire alarm malfunction. Failure to return the affidavit of service/repair within the said fifteen-day period which is satisfactory to the Fire Marshal's office will result in the assessment against the owner of an administrative fee, in an amount as set forth in the schedule of fees, on file in the Township Manager's office, for the fire alarm malfunction.
Fees shall be set by resolution by the Butler Township Board of Commissioners. No fee shall be assessed for the first three false fire alarms in the same premises responded to by the Butler Township Fire Department during each calendar year. Thereafter, the following fees shall be paid by the owner for each false fire alarm responded to by the Butler Township Fire Department at the same premises during the calendar year.
As to all fire alarm malfunctions responded to by the Butler Township Fire Departments, the building owner shall be assessed an administrative fee as set by resolution by the Butler Township Board of Commissioners, unless the building owner returns an affidavit of service/repair deemed satisfactory by the Fire Marshal's office. Each building in Butler Township with an automatic fire alarm shall receive three false alarms or malfunctions in one calendar year. Automatic fire alarm systems with over 50 smoke detectors or other devices shall receive one additional free false alarm or malfunction for each 30 additional detectors or other devices. All fees shall be set by resolution.
[Amended 10-5-1998 by Ord. No. 765]
Editor's Note: The fee schedule is on file in the office of the Township Manager.
After the fifth fire alarm or fire alarm malfunction or any combination thereof has occurred on a premises within 30 calendar days, the owner shall appear before the BOCA Board of Appeals. After he has received notice to appear, the enforcement office shall send notice by certified mail, return receipt requested, not less than less five days prior to the meeting.
Once a false fire alarm or fire alarm malfunction has been responded to by the Fire Department, it shall be unlawful for the alarm panel to be reset by the owner of the premises or designee until the authorization of the Fire Department has been obtained.
Should any fees assessed pursuant this article remain unpaid in excess of 120 days of the date of notice, a collection fee in the amount of 35% of the outstanding balance shall assessed and shall be payable by the owner of the premises in addition to the original fee. The owner shall also be responsible for any legal fees or costs incurred by the Township of Butler in the enforcement of this article.
Except for premises protected by a required operative alarm system, the Fire Marshal's Office is authorized to order the disconnection or deactivation of any alarm system by written notice to the owner of the premises wherein the alarm system is installed for any of the following reasons:
Failure to meet all requirements or pay the fees provided for in this article within 15 days of charging of the fees.
Failure of the owner to provide a written affidavit of service/repair required by this article.
A false alarm or alarm malfunctioning at the premises for which a fee is charged pursuant to this article as a result of the failure of the owner to take corrective action to eliminate the cause of the false alarm.
Failure of the person notified pursuant to this article to appear within 30 minutes after being notified to respond. If such failure to timely appear occurs four or more times within a calendar year, a written notice to disconnect or deactivate shall be mailed to the owner and shall specify the date on which the owner shall be required to disconnect or deactivate the alarm system, which date shaft be at least 15 days following the date of the notice. The owner may appeal the order of the Fire Marshal.
The owner to whom a notice of disconnection or deactivation of an alarm system was mailed pursuant to § 107-13 shall be entitled to an appeal of the order of the Fire Marshal's office to the BOCA Board of Appeals. The appeal must be in writing, stating the reasons why the order to disconnect or deactivate should be withdrawn, and shall be made within 15 days of the date of the notice to disconnect.
It shall be unlawful for any person who has been ordered to disconnect or deactivate an alarm system not to disconnect or deactivate an alarm system pursuant to § 107-13, including those situations in which the BOCA Board of Appeals has affirmed the order to disconnect or deactivate. It shall be unlawful for any persons to reactivate an alarm system which has been disconnected pursuant to the order of the Fire Marshal unless reconnection of the alarm system is authorized pursuant to § 107-16. Any person violating the provisions of this article shall be subject to the penalties provides for in § 107-19, the penalty being cumulative to other administrative remedies provided for in this article.
[Amended 10-5-1998 by Ord. No. 765]
Any order to disconnect or deactivate an alarm system may be rescinded by the Fire Marshal upon a finding by said Fire Marshal's office that the owner of the premises has taken corrective actions which, it is reasonable to conclude, will remedy the cause of the false alarm or alarm malfunctions at the premises. In a request for such a rescission, the owner shall have the burden to show what corrective action has been taken and that the same is sufficient to support the findings that the cause of the false alarms or alarm malfunctions have been remedied. The Fire Marshal shall have the right to test the alarm system prior to rescinding the order to disconnect or deactivate. Before any reconnection of an alarm system after the order to disconnect said system, a reconnection fee in an amount as set forth in the schedule of fees, on file in the Township Manager's office, shall be assessed. The enforcement official shall not rescind an order to disconnect or deactivate if the owner has failed to pay any fee charged the owner pursuant this article.
It shall be unlawful for any persons to install, maintain, operate or use any automatic telephone dialing alarm device or digital alarm communications system with the Township of Butler if the system requires connection to the Emergency Communication Center of the County of Butler.
It shall be unlawful for any persons to install, maintain, operate or use any automatic telephone dialing devices or digital alarm communication systems within the Township of Butler unless such system is currently approved by the Underwriters' Laboratories or its subsidiary laboratories and has been approved by the Township Fire Marshal.
The provisions of this article shall not apply to any newly installed alarm systems for a period of 12 months from the date of installation of the alarm system. The time limit provided for in this article shall be measured from the date shown on the notice required by § 107-10. The exceptions set forth in this article shall not apply to any person who has failed to comply with § 107-11.
[Amended 10-5-1998 by Ord. No. 765]
Any person who shall violate any of the provisions of this article, heretofore or hereby adopted, or shall fail to comply herewith, or who shall violate or fail to comply with any order made thereunder, or who shall build in violation of any detailed specification or plans submitted or approved thereunder, or any certificate or permit issued thereunder, and from which no appeal shall have been taken, or who shall fail to comply with such an order as affirmed by the Board of Township Commissioners, or by a court of competent jurisdiction, within the time fixed therein, shall severally for each and every such violation and noncompliance, respectively, be guilty of a summary offense of this article hereby adopted and, upon conviction thereof before any District Justice, shall be punishable for each offense by a fine of not less than $300, and not more than $600, plus costs of prosecution, and, in default of payment of such fine and costs, by imprisonment in the County Jail for not more than 30 days. The imposition of any penalty for any violation shall not excuse the violation nor permit the continuance thereof; and all such persons shall be required to correct or remedy such violation or defect within a reasonable time; and when not otherwise specified, each day that any prohibited condition is maintained shall constitute a separate offense.
The Township of Butler, its officers, employees, agents and the Butler Township Fire Department shall not assume any duty or responsibility for the installation, maintenance, operation, repair or effectiveness for any privately owned alarm system, those duties or responsibilities being solely those of the owner of said premises. Additionally, it shall be the responsibility of the owner of the premises to silence an activated alarm system and thereafter reset the same. The Township shall not provide nor make available the service of its Fire Marshal's office or Fire Departments or the Butler County Emergency Communication Center for use by owners as a central location for alarm system receiving equipment.
[Added 12-21-1992 by Res. No. 92-30; amended 10-5-1998 by Ord. No. 765]
The rate schedule for this article shall be on file in the office of the Township Manager.