[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Carneys Point 6-13-1990 as Ord. No. 487. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The Carneys Point Township Committee finds that certain facilities within Carneys Point Township have generated an inordinately large number of false fire alarms. Whenever an alarm is sounded, it is necessary for volunteer firemen and police authorities to respond. This results in a cost to the taxpayers of the Township. More importantly, the health and safety of volunteer fire fighters and Township policemen are placed in jeopardy as they respond to these alarms.
It is the intention of the Township Committee to place the responsibility for false alarms upon the owners of those facilities and residences which generate the false alarms. By assessing responsibility in this fashion, the Township Committee believes that owners will become more responsible in the care and maintenance of the equipment which generates the false alarms. Alternatively, a penalty will be assessed in order to recompense the taxpayers for the use of public personnel and equipment.
The following definitions shall apply to the interpretation and the enforcement of this chapter:
- 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 is designed to attract attention when activated by an emergency requiring the Fire Company to respond.
- AUTOMATIC PROTECTION DEVICE
- An electrically operated or battery-operated instrument composed of sensory apparatus and related hardware which automatically transmits any form of fire alarm or signal, including but not limited to a prerecorded voice alarm from the premises to the Police Department and/or Fire Company upon receipt of a stimulus from a sensory apparatus that has detected a physical force or condition inherently characteristic of fire.
- 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 and/or Fire Company to which police and/or Fire Company personnel respond which is not the result of a fire or similar emergency.
- Any person, firm, corporation or other entity.
All automatic protection devices which are connected to audible alarms shall be equipped with timing devices which shut off the audible alarms after a maximum period of 15 minutes. Audible alarms without such a timing device will be unlawful in the Township and must be disconnected by the owner or lessee within 60 days from the effective date of this chapter.
Automatic protection devices installed in Carneys Point Township shall meet the following requirements:
The type and content of recorded messages must be intelligible and in a format approved prior to installation by the Carneys Point Township Chief of Police.
No more than one call shall be made to the receiving authority as a result of a single activation of the automatic protection device.
The time for transmitting each recorded message shall not exceed 15 seconds.
Recorded messages may be repeated during one call, but the interval between each recorded message shall be not less than eight seconds nor more than 12 seconds.
The sensory mechanism used in connection with an automatic protection device must be adjusted to suppress false indications of intrusion so that the device will not be actuated by changing pressure in the water pipes, short flashes of light, the rattling or vibrations to the premises caused by the passing of vehicles or any other force not related to a genuine alarm.
All components comprising such an automatic protection device must be maintained by the owner or lessee in good repair to assure maximum reliability of operation.
When messages evidencing failure to comply with the operational requirements set forth in § 96-4 hereof are received and the Township concludes that the automatic protection device sending such messages is malfunctioning, the Township is authorized to require 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 this disconnection of the defective device is not accomplished within 48 hours of notification by the Township, the Township may then take appropriate action to disconnect the defective automatic protection device provided that an alternate warning system is available. For purposes of this provision, three or more false alarms within any thirty-day period shall be sufficient evidence for the Township to determine that the device is malfunctioning.
For the purpose of enforcing this chapter, the Police Chief and/or the Fire Chief, or their duly authorized designees, are hereby authorized to enter upon a lessee's or owner's premises at any reasonable time to make inspections of installation and/or operation of automatic protection devices. This section shall not apply to single-family residences.
No person shall conduct any test or demonstration of an automatic protection device without first obtaining permission from the Chief of Police or Fire Chief.
For the purpose of defraying the costs to the Township of responding to false alarms, the owner or lessee of an automatic protection device shall pay the Township $100 for each alarm in excess of two within a three-month period. This sum shall be a civil claim by the Township and does not affect the penalty provisions prescribed by § 96-9 hereof. This subsection shall not apply to any false alarm emanating from a single-family residential property.
Any owner, lessee or user of an automatic protection device which emits two or more false alarms within a period of 30 days shall be in violation of this chapter and subject to the penalty provisions prescribed by § 96-9 hereof. Any penalty assessed pursuant to § 96-9 shall be in addition to the civil claim assessed under § 96-8. This subsection shall not apply to any false alarm emanating from a single-family residential property.
Any person adjudged to be guilty of a violation of this chapter shall be subject to a fine not exceeding $1,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 30 days, or both. Each violation of this chapter shall subject the offender to a separate penalty.