[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of Pierce County by Ord. No. 91-8. Amendments noted where applicable.]
For the purposes of this chapter, the following definitions shall apply:
- ALARM BUSINESS
- A business which directly or indirectly sells, leases, provides, maintains, monitors, services, repairs, alters, replaces, moves or installs any alarm system.
- ALARM SYSTEM
- An assembly of equipment and devices (or a single device such as a solid state unit which plugs directly into a one-hundred-ten-volt AC line) arranged to signal the presence of a hazard to which public safety agencies are expected to respond. In this chapter the term "alarm system" shall include the terms "burglar alarm system," "fire alarm system," "holdup/panic alarm system" and "smoke detection alarm system" and those terms are hereinafter defined.
- ALARM USER
- Any person who owns or occupies a premises within the county in which an alarm system is used.
- ANSWERING SERVICE
- Any telephone answering service which receives emergency signals from alarm systems and immediately relays a request by live voice to the Pierce County Emergency Dispatch Center for a response.
- AUTOMATIC DIALING DEVICE
- Any device which automatically sends over regular telephone lines, by direct connection or otherwise, a prerecorded voice message or coded signal indicating an activated alarm or an emergency situation that the alarm system is designed to detect.
- BURGLAR ALARM SYSTEM
- Any alarm system which signals an entry or an attempted entry into a building or structure or portion thereof protected by the system.
- CENTRAL MONITORING STATION
- Any office or facility to which remote alarm systems are connected, which office or facility is staffed by operators who receive, record and/or validate alarm signals and relay the occurrence of such signals by live voice to the Pierce County Dispatch Center.
- DIRECT LINE
- A telephone line loading directly from a central monitoring station to the Pierce County Dispatch Center used only to report emergency signals on a person-to-person basis, also known as the "automatic ringdown line."
- ENTER CONNECT
- To connect an alarm system to a voice grade telephone line, either directly or through a mechanical device, for the purpose of using the telephone line to transmit an emergency message upon the activation of the alarm system.
- FALSE ALARM
- The activation of an alarm system when an emergency situation does not exist caused by:
- FIRE ALARM SYSTEM
- Any system in which alarm signal transmission is initiated automatically or by the direct action of any individual to signal the presence of smoke, heat or fire.
- HOLDUP/PANIC ALARM SYSTEM
- Any alarm system signaling the unauthorized entry of a person into a premises which would reasonably be interpreted as a dangerous situation.
- Any individual, partnership, association, corporation or organization of any kind.
- PROPRIETARY SYSTEM
- Any alarm system which directly terminates at a control center within the protected premises, provided that the control center is manned by and under the supervision of the proprietor or subordinate of the protected premises. If the proprietary system includes a signal line connecting directly or by means of an automatic dialing device to a central monitoring station or answering service, it thereby becomes an alarm system as defined in this chapter.
- SMOKE DETECTION ALARM SYSTEM
- Any system in which the alarm transmission is initiated automatically or by the direct action of any individual to signal the presence of smoke, heat or fire.
No person shall interconnect, use or cause to be used any automatic dialing device which automatically selects a public telephone number, including 911 or the telephone number to the Pierce County Emergency Dispatch Center, of the county and relays a prerecorded message or coded signal indicating the existence of an activated alarm system. The relaying of messages to the Pierce County Emergency Dispatch Center shall be accomplished only by person-to-person communications. The county may approve the direct line installation between the central monitoring station or answering service to the Pierce County Emergency Dispatch Center at no cost to Pierce County.
No alarm system shall directly terminate in the Pierce County Emergency Dispatch Center (with the exception of alarm systems intended to protect the county employees or county-owned property or those which receive special permission from the county). Notification of an activated alarm system to the Pierce County Emergency Dispatch Center shall be accomplished only by person-to-person communications either directly from the alarm user or an observer or by means of a central monitoring station or answering service.
No alarm system shall be tested or demonstrated without first obtaining approval from the telecommunicator on duty at the Pierce County Emergency Dispatch Center. No alarm system shall be tested to determine the response time or adequacy of any public safety agency.
When the service provided by an alarm business to an alarm user is disrupted for any reason by the alarm business or the alarm business becomes aware of such disruption, it shall promptly notify the alarm user by telephone that protection is disrupted. If, however, the alarm business has written instructions from the alarm user not to make such notification by telephone during certain hours, the alarm business may comply with such instructions.
[Amended by Ord. No. 93-7]
When any public safety agency responds to an alarm that is determined to have been activated falsely, accidentally or negligently, the alarm user is subject to forfeitures as set forth below. After response to the third false alarm within any six-month period, written notice of that occurrence shall be mailed to the alarm user within 10 days of the occurrence.
Forfeitures for violation of this chapter shall be assessed in any six consecutive months as follows:
If Pierce County is notified of the date of installation of a new alarm system, this chapter is effective for that alarm system 30 days after the date of installation. If Pierce County is not notified of the installation of an alarm system, this chapter is effective immediately for that alarm system.
The forfeitures in this chapter are in addition to any charges levied by the responding agency for actual costs incurred.
This chapter does not apply to the following:
When an alarm is activated by unforeseeable climatic conditions.
When an alarm is activated by the interruption of utility services.
When a law enforcement officer finds fresh evidence of an unauthorized entry or attempted entry or finds a person on the premises not authorized to be there.
When a fire department finds smoke or fire on the premises or the activation of an automatic sprinkler system.
Pierce County, its officers, employees or agents, disclaims any liability or obligation to an alarm user or any other person for claims arising from the installation, maintenance of, operation of or defects in any alarm system, any delays in or failure of transmission of an alarm system or for responding to, delay in responding to or not responding to any alarm system in the county.