Township of Muhlenberg, PA
Berks County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Commissioners of the Township of Muhlenberg 3-20-1989 by Ord. No. 255. This ordinance superseded former Ch. 45, Alarm Systems, adopted 7-10-1978 by Ord. No. 140, as amended in its entirety 8-2-1982 by Ord. No. 192. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Fire companies — See Ch. 11.
Uniform construction codes — See Ch. 61.
Fire prevention — See Ch. 69.
Fire damage drains — See Ch. 83.

§ 45-1 Definitions.

For purposes of this chapter, the following terms are defined as follows:
ALARM
A communication indicating or warning that a crime, fire or other emergency situation warranting immediate action by the Township police or local fire companies has occurred or is occurring.
ALARM DEVICE
A privately owned and operated electronic, electrical, mechanical or similar device designed to transmit an alarm by wire, telephone, radio, audible signal (bell, siren or buzzer) or other means to the Township police, any person or firm who or which is instructed to notify the Township police or any person who is within the sound transmission distance limits of such an audible signal.
FALSE ALARM
An alarm (excluding those operated by internal alarm devices) to which the Township police or local fire companies respond, resulting from the activation of an alarm device when it appears that a crime, fire or other emergency warranting immediate action by the Township police or local fire companies has not occurred at the premises where the alarm was transmitted.
INTENTIONAL FALSE ALARM
A false alarm resulting from the intentional activation of an alarm device by an individual under circumstances where the individual had no reasonable basis to believe that a crime, fire or other emergency warranting immediate action by the Township police or local fire companies has occurred or was occurring.
PERMIT HOLDER
A person to whom the Township police have issued an alarm device permit.
PERSON
An individual, corporation, partnership, incorporated association or other legal entity.

§ 45-2 Permit required; application; fee; issuance or denial; revocation.

[Amended 4-20-2009 by Ord. No. 468]
A. 
It shall be unlawful for a property owner, lessee of property or a person otherwise occupying a premises in the Township to put an alarm device into operation on his or its premises, or to allow an alarm device to be put into operation on his or its premises, without first obtaining an alarm device permit from the Township police.
B. 
In order to apply for an alarm device permit, a person shall submit an application to the Township Chief of Police, stating the following:
(1) 
His or its name.
(2) 
His or its home address and/or principal business address and the telephone number of each.
(3) 
The location at which the alarm device will be installed and operated.
(4) 
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, or, in lieu thereof, the name, address and telephone number of a security service company which provides alarm services at the premises and which has on file with it the names of such authorized key holders.
(5) 
A complete description of the alarm device, including a copy of operating instructions and whether the same is coordinated with any other antipersonnel device(s) or, in lieu thereof, the name, address and telephone number of a security service company which has in its possession knowledge or data describing the alarm device and its operation instructions.
(6) 
If the alarm device is to be leased or rented from or is to be serviced pursuant to a service agreement by a person other than the person making application for an alarm device permit, the name, address and telephone number of that person. 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 the Township of Muhlenberg 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 said premises by employees of the Township 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 employees, circumstances appear to warrant a forced entry.
"Further, I(we) hereby agree that periodically, and upon five days' written notice, representatives of the Township police shall be allowed to enter my(our) premises between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on weekdays for the purpose of inspecting my(our) alarm device installation in order to determine whether or not it is in accordance with the operational standards set forth herein."
(7) 
The Township police shall furnish forms upon which any person wishing to apply for an alarm device permit may submit his application.
C. 
A person applying for an alarm device permit shall submit a fee, in an amount set by resolution of the Board of Commissioners from time to time, along with his application to cover the cost of issuing the permit.
D. 
The Township Chief of Police shall, within 10 weekdays from receipt of an application for an alarm device permit, either grant an alarm device permit to the applicant or notify the applicant, in writing, that his or its application has been denied and the reason, or reasons, why it has been denied.
E. 
An application for an alarm device permit may only be denied for the following reasons:
(1) 
The application submitted by the applicant does not conform to Subsection B or C of this section.
(2) 
The applicant's alarm device does not conform to the operational standards set forth in § 45-3 of this chapter.
F. 
Notwithstanding the language contained in Subsection A of this section, it shall not be unlawful for a person to continue to operate an alarm device on his premises without an alarm device permit for a period of 90 days after the effective date of this chapter, provided that said alarm device was in operation on the effective date of this chapter. Thereafter the provisions of this section shall apply.
G. 
The Township Chief of Police 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. Said written notice shall be:
(1) 
Delivered personally to the permit holder, in which case the revocation shall be effective immediately upon delivery; or
(2) 
Mailed to the permit holder, at his last known address, by regular mail, postage prepaid, in which case the revocation shall be effective three days after mailing.
H. 
An alarm device permit may only be revoked for the following reasons:
(1) 
Failure of an alarm device to conform to the operational standards set forth in § 45-3 of this chapter.
(2) 
Failure of a permit holder to pay a false alarm charge assessed to him by the Township police under the provisions of § 45-4A of this chapter within 30 days of the mailing to him of a notice of the assessment of a false alarm charge.
(3) 
The occurrence of an intentional false alarm caused by the permit holder or by an individual over the age of 15 who resides on the premises where the alarm device is located.
I. 
A person who has had his alarm device permit revoked under Subsections G and H of this section 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 charge, the Township Chief of Police 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 on the basis of an occurrence of an intentional false alarm may not reapply for an alarm device permit for one year from the effective date of the second revocation.

§ 45-3 Operation standards.

A. 
If an alarm device is designed to transmit a recorded message, the duration of such recorded message shall not exceed 15 seconds. The contents of said message shall be intelligible and in a form approved by the Township police and/or the Township fire company representative.
B. 
Except in the case of fire, smoke and personal safety alarm devices, an alarm device shall be designed so that a thirty-second delay occurs between the time the alarm device receives a triggering stimulus and the time the alarm device transmits an alarm.
C. 
If an alarm device is designed to cause an exterior bell, siren or sound-making device to be activated on or near the premises on which the alarm device is installed at the time it gives an alarm, said alarm device shall be designed to deactivate the bell, siren or other sound-making device after 20 minutes of operation.
D. 
At the time of installation, all alarm devices shall meet the applicable standards of the Underwriters' Laboratories and/or the National Fire Protection Association and/or other recognized industry standards. The applicant for a permit may be required to submit evidence of the reliability and suitability of the alarm device.
E. 
The sensory mechanism used in connection with an alarm device must be adjusted to suppress false indications of fire or intrusion, so that the alarm device will not be activated by impulses due to transient pressure change in water pipes, short flashes of light, wind noises such as the rattling or vibrating of doors or windows, vehicular noises adjacent to the premises or other forces unrelated to genuine alarm situations.
F. 
The alarm device must be maintained by the permit holder in good repair to assure reliability of operation.

§ 45-4 False alarms; charges.

[Amended 4-20-2009 by Ord. No. 468]
A. 
Intentional false alarms. It shall be unlawful to cause an intentional false alarm.
B. 
False alarm charges.
(1) 
A permit holder shall pay to the Township a charge for each false alarm emanating from his alarm device, in an amount set by resolution of the Board of Commissioners from time to time.
(2) 
When a false alarm occurs, the Township Chief of Police or his designee, within 10 days from the date of each false alarm, shall notify the permit holder of the alarm device from which the false alarm emanated that a false alarm charge is due and the amount thereof, if any. Such notice shall be in writing and shall be mailed to the permit holder at his last known address by regular mail, postage prepaid. Failure of the Township Chief of Police to mail notice of assessment of a false alarm shall preclude the Township from assessing a false alarm charge for said false alarm.
(3) 
A false alarm charge shall be due and payable at the office of the Township police 30 days from the date of the mailing of the notice of assessment of the false alarm charge.
(4) 
Failure of a permit holder to pay a false alarm charge on or before the due date shall subject such permit holder to revocation of permit under § 45-2 of this chapter and shall be a violation of this section, punishable under § 45-7, and in the case of a business shall result in revocation of business license under § 134-68.
(5) 
In the case of a new installation of an alarm device, a thirty-day testing period shall apply to allow the security service company and the applicant to adjust the system as necessary to prevent a false alarm. During this thirty-day period, a false alarm charge shall not be assessed.

§ 45-5 Liability of Township.

The issuance of any permit shall not constitute acceptance by the Township of any liability to maintain any equipment, to answer alarms or for any other responsibility in connection therewith.

§ 45-6 Appeals.

Whenever under the provisions of this chapter the Township Chief of Police is empowered to make a decision with respect to the installation, operation, maintenance of or abuse of use of any alarm device, or with respect to the denial or revocation of any permit relating thereto, any applicant for a permit or permit holder aggrieved by said decision may, within 10 days following said decision, file a written appeal therefrom with the Board of Commissioners of the Township, whereupon said Board shall promptly conduct a hearing and affirm, modify or reverse the decision appealed from. The decision of the Board of Commissioners of the Township shall be final.

§ 45-7 Violations and penalties.

[Amended 4-20-2009 by Ord. No. 468]
Any person, including living persons, or a firm, corporation or other legal entity who has committed an unlawful act under any provision of this chapter shall, upon conviction, be subject to a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $1,000 for each offense. In default of payment of the fine and costs, such person may be sentenced to imprisonment in the Berks County prison for a period not exceeding 30 days. Every day that a violation of this chapter continues shall constitute a separate offense.