Township of Hatfield, PA
Montgomery County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Commissioners of the Township of Hatfield 11-4-1982 by Ord. No. 362 (Ch. 13, Part 1, of the 1994 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Noise — See Ch. 184.
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Hatfield Township Emergency Alarm Ordinance."
The following definitions shall apply in the interpretation and enforcement of this chapter:
ALARM EQUIPMENT INSTALLER
Any person who engages in the altering, installing, leasing, maintaining, repairing, replacing, selling or servicing of emergency police and fire alarm systems (automatic protective devices).
ANSWERING SERVICE
A service whereby trained employees, in attendance at all times, receive prerecorded voice messages from automatic protective devices reporting an emergency at a stated location and who have the duty to relay immediately by live voice only such emergency message over a designated or direct trunkline to the communications center of the Police Department or Fire Department.
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 designated to attract attention when activated by a criminal act or other emergency requiring police to respond.
AUTOMATIC PROTECTIVE DEVICE
An electrically operated instrument composed of sensory apparatus and related hardware which automatically transmits a prerecorded voice alarm over regular telephone lines by direct or indirect connection to the Police Department or Fire Department, upon receipt of a stimulus from a sensory apparatus that has detected a physical force or condition inherently characteristic of a fire or an intrusion.
BUILDING INSPECTOR
The Building Inspector of Hatfield Township.
CENTRAL STATION PROTECTIVE SYSTEM
A protective system or group of such systems, operated privately for customers by a person, firm or corporation which maintains supervisors and accepts recorded messages from automatic protective devices at a central station having trained operators and guards in attendance at all times that have the duty to take appropriate action upon receipt of a signal or message including the relaying of messages by designated or primary trunkline to the communications center of the Police Department or Fire Department.
CHIEF OF POLICE
The Chief of Police of the Hatfield Township Police Department.
DESIGNATED TRUNKLINE
A telephone line leading into the communications center of the Police Department that is for the primary purpose of handling emergency messages which originate from automatic protective devices and are transmitted directly or indirectly through an intermediary.
EMERGENCY SERVICE(S)
The Fire Department, Police Department and/or any emergency agency or provider operating within the Township of Hatfield.
[Added 8-22-2018 by Ord. No. 680]
FALSE ALARM
Any of the following:
[Amended 8-22-2018 by Ord. No. 680]
A. 
Any activation of an alarm system by inadvertence, negligence or intentional or unintentional acts or means to which the emergency services responds where it is determined that the alarm was not the result of a crime in progress, fire, medical or other similar emergency necessitating a response by the aforementioned emergency service.
B. 
A call or contact received by any emergency service that is the result of the caller attempting to dial any other number, or which was mistakenly placed using preprogrammed speed dial, contact lists, smart phones, text message, email, fax machine or any other mechanical or electronic activation, or other means of erroneously calling such emergency service without the need for emergency response.
C. 
A call or contact received by any emergency service that is the result of the caller disconnecting after mistakenly calling or contacting the emergency service without the need for an emergency response.
D. 
A call or contact received by any emergency service that is the direct result of the caller/contactor intentionally disclosing false information, that is made as a joke, that is placed by a minor as the result of a lack of parental supervision, or other means of calling or contacting any emergency service without the need for an emergency response.
FIRE COMMUNICATIONS CENTER
The North Penn Fire Alarm Center servicing fire departments, plus the Bucks County and Montgomery County radio systems.
FIRE DEPARTMENT
The fire companies servicing Hatfield Township.
FIRE MARSHAL
The Fire Marshal of Hatfield Township.
INTERMEDIARY
A central station protective system or answering service as herein defined.
KEY
To use telephone lines and equipment for transmitting a message either directly or indirectly by an automatic protection device.
PERMIT
Written permission duly granted to a qualified applicant by the Township upon payment of the required fee.
POLICE COMMUNICATION CENTER
The police communication room and other rooms which house auxiliary communication equipment.
POLICE DEPARTMENT
The Hatfield Township Police Department.
PRIMARY TRUNKLINE
A telephone line leading into the communications center of the Police Department or Fire Department that is for the purpose of handling emergency calls on a person to person basis and which line is identified by a specific listing among the white pages in the telephone directory issued by the Bell Telephone Company.
TOWNSHIP
The Township of Hatfield, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.
After the enactment of this chapter, owners or lessees must equip audible alarms with a timing mechanism that will disengage the audible alarm after a maximum period of 15 minutes. Audible alarms without such a timing mechanism shall be unlawful in the Township and must be disconnected by the owner or lessee within 60 days from the effective date of this chapter.
A. 
No automatic protection device installed after the effective date of this chapter shall be keyed to a primary trunkline.
B. 
After the effective date of this chapter, all automatic protection devices that transmit recorded messages directly to the Police Department or Fire Department shall be keyed to a designated trunkline.
C. 
Within 60 days from the effective date of this chapter, existing automatic protection devices in the Township shall be disconnected from primary trunklines.
D. 
Automatic protection devices disconnected, as provided in Subsection C above, may be keyed to a designated trunkline.
E. 
After the effective date of this chapter, a valid permit shall be required from the Township to install any automatic protection device or audible alarm within the confines of Hatfield Township.
A. 
Any person who has an automatic protection device in the Township may arrange to have such device keyed to an intermediary authorized to relay emergency messages to the Police Department or Fire Department.
B. 
The relay of messages by authorized intermediaries shall be over a designated trunkline.
C. 
Automatic protection devices keyed to an authorized intermediary may also be keyed to another telephone which the owner or lessee of the automatic protection device has available to himself or his representative at some other location.
A. 
Within 90 days from the effective date of this chapter, every alarm equipment installer who has keyed an automatic protection device in the Township to the designated trunkline shall furnish to the Chief of Police and to the Fire Marshal a current list of such installations which shall include:
(1) 
The telephone number of the owner or lessee.
(2) 
The address where the device is installed and the telephone number of that address.
(3) 
The name, address and telephone number of a central station protective system or any other person or firm who is authorized to respond to an emergency and gain access to the address where the device is installed.
(4) 
The name and telephone number of any person, firm or corporation, if any, other than the alarm equipment installer who is responsible for maintenance and repair of the automatic protection device.
B. 
By the fifth working day of each month, following the submission of the initial list, every alarm equipment installer shall furnish the Police Department and the Fire Department with a supplemental list of any additional installation he has keyed to the designated trunklines, along with any corrections to or deletions from lists previously submitted. An alarm equipment installer who enters into the business after the effective date of this chapter shall furnish a list containing the information specified in Subsection A by the fifth working day of the month, following a first installation, and shall, thereafter, furnish supplemental lists as required by this section.
C. 
All information furnished pursuant to these sections shall be kept confidential and shall be for the use of the designated personnel of the Police Department and the Fire Department only.
Automatic protection devices installed in the Township that are keyed to designated trunklines shall meet the following requirements:
A. 
The type and content of recorded messages must be intelligible and in a format approved prior to installation by the Chief of Police.
B. 
No more than one call shall be made over a designated trunkline to the Police Department as a result of a single activation of the automatic protection device.
C. 
The time for transmitting each recorded message shall not exceed 15 seconds.
D. 
Recorded messages may be repeated during one call but the interval between each recorded message shall be no less than four seconds.
E. 
The sensory mechanism used in connection with an automatic protection device must be adjusted to suppress false indications of fire or intrusion so that the device will not be activated by impulses due to fleeting pressure changes in water pipes, short flashes of light, the rattling or vibration of doors and windows, vibrations to the premises caused by the passing of vehicles or any other force not related to genuine alarms.
F. 
All components comprising such a device must be maintained by the owner or lessee in good repair to assure maximum reliability of operation.
For the purpose of enforcing this chapter and as a condition of installing and maintaining an automatic protective device, the owner or lessee thereof shall obtain an emergency alarm permit at a fee set by resolution and execute a consent in such form as may be prescribed by the Chief of Police which will authorize the Chief of Police and/or the Fire Marshal to enter upon a lessee's or owner's premises within the Township of Hatfield, at such reasonable times and upon reasonable notice, and in the presence of the owner, lessee, user or his authorized agent to inspect the installation and operation of an automatic protective device.
No person shall conduct any test or demonstration of an automatic protective device without first obtaining permission from the Police Department and/or Fire Department. Where the equipment is keyed through an intermediary, no such permission is necessary unless the alarm or signal is to be relayed to the Police Department or Fire Department.
A. 
Anyone engaged as an alarm installer within the Township shall, within 30 days after the effective date of this chapter, apply to the Chief of Police for a license to operate such business within the Township. Application shall be made on such forms as shall be furnished by the Chief of Police and applicant shall pay such license fees as shall be set from time to time by resolution.
[Amended 12-8-2004 by Ord. No. 536]
B. 
Applicants already doing business within the Township on the effective date of this chapter may continue to do business while their license applications are being processed.
[Amended 9-28-1994 by Ord. No. 420; 8-22-2018 by Ord. No. 680]
A. 
No person shall knowingly or unintentionally cause the making of a false alarm.
B. 
For the purpose of defraying the costs to the Township of responding to a false alarm, the owner or lessee of an automatic protective device and persons using the service of intermediaries, and users of audible alarms, the users of any other kind of direct or indirect connection with an emergency service, except persons using two-way live voice communications by telephone, shall, as a condition to installation and continued operation of such equipment or service, execute a consent in such form as may be proscribed by the Chief of Police that such owner, lessee or user shall pay the Township a fee which shall be set by resolution from time to time. These sums shall be civil claims by the Township, and do not affect the penalty provisions prescribed by § 71-13 hereof.
C. 
Any such owner, lessee or user who fails to execute the consent described in Subsection B within 90 days from the effective date of this chapter shall, within the ninety-day period, disconnect the alarm, automatic protective device or any other kind of direct or indirect connection with the emergency service communications center and shall discontinue using the service of any intermediaries.
Every user shall be required to obtain a permit, and shall pay such connection and annual fees as the Township shall set by resolution from time to time. The Township may set permit fees and adopt regulations to implement this chapter from time to time.
[Amended 9-28-1994 by Ord. No. 420; 8-22-2018 by Ord. No. 680]
A. 
Any person who shall violate any provisions of this chapter shall, upon conviction thereof, be sentenced to pay a fine not exceeding $600 plus costs of prosecution and, in default of payment thereof, shall be subject to imprisonment for a term not to exceed 30 days. Each day that a violation of this chapter continues shall constitute a separate offense.
B. 
False alarm violations. Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, the following provisions shall apply to all false alarm violations:
(1) 
First offense. Upon the occurrence of the first false alarm, the responding officer shall issue the offender/caller a false alarm notice outlining the penalties regarding subsequent false alarms.
(2) 
Second and subsequent offenses. Upon the occurrence of the second false alarm which occurs within 60 days of the first offense or a subsequent false alarm which occurs within 60 days of the prior false alarm, the owner, lessee or user found guilty of such false alarm shall be liable for a fine of not less than $300 nor more than $600 plus costs of prosecution for each and every false alarm, to be collectible before any Magisterial District Justice as like fines and penalties are now by law collectible.