[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of the Township of Easttown as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 11-6-1989 by Ord. No. 227-89; amended in its entirety 6-20-2011 by Ord. No. 404-11]
This article shall be known as the "Easttown Township Alarm Device Ordinance."
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- A communication to a public safety agency indicating that a crime, fire or other emergency warranting immediate action by the public safety agency has occurred or is occurring.
- ALARM DEVICE
- A device designed to automatically transmit an alarm:
- ALARM DEVICE SUPPLIER
- Any person who sells, leases and/or installs alarm devices.
- AUDIBLE ALARM
- Any device, bell, horn or siren which is attached in 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 a criminal act or other emergency requiring the public safety agency to respond.
- AUTOMATIC DIALING DEVICE
- A device which is interconnected to a telephone line and preprogrammed to transmit the coded signal of an alarm to a dedicated telephone trunk line or to dial a predetermined phone number to an alarm to a public safety agency.
- DEDICATED TELEPHONE TRUNK LINE
- A telephone line or lines which serve a public safety agency which is dedicated to receiving transmission from an automatic dialing device.
- FALSE ALARM
- The activation of an alarm device to which a public safety agency responds when a crime, fire, or other emergency has not occurred.
- To use a telephone or recording equipment to transmit a message either directly or indirectly by alarm device.
- An individual, corporation, partnership, incorporated association or other similar entity.
- PUBLIC SAFETY AGENCY
- The Pennsylvania State Police or any municipal police or fire department.
- The Township of Easttown, Chester County, Pennsylvania.
All alarm devices which are connected to audible alarms shall be equipped with timing devices which shut off the audible alarm after a maximum period of 15 minutes. Audible alarms without such a timing device will be unlawful in the Township and shall be disconnected by the owner or lessee within 60 days of the effective date of this article.
[Amended 6-2-2014 by Ord. No. 422-14]
Alarm devices shall not be keyed to the local public safety agencies but may be keyed to the Chester County Police/Fire Radio Network or any successor in interest. Permission to key the alarm devices shall be obtained in accordance with 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 7511(a), as amended.
It is permissible for owners or lessees of alarm devices to key alarms to a telephone or radio which is available to them or to a private agency, subject to the regulations set forth in this article.
Alarm devices installed in the Township that are keyed to the Chester County Police/Fire Radio Network or any successor in interest shall meet the following requirements:
The type and content of recorded messages shall be intelligible and in a format approved prior to installation by the Chester County Police/Fire Radio Network or any successor in interest.
No more than one call shall be made to the Chester County Police/Fire Radio Network or any successor in interest as a result of a single activation of the alarm 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 not be less than eight seconds nor more than 12 seconds.
The sensory mechanisms used in connection with the alarm device shall be adjusted to suppress false indications of intrusion so that the devices will not be activated 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 other force not related to a genuine alarm.
All components comprising such an alarm device shall 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 § 110-6 hereof are received by the Chester County Police/Fire Radio Network or any successor in interest and the Township concludes that the alarm 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 alarm device. For purpose of this provision, two or more false alarms within any thirty-day period shall be sufficient evidence for the Township to determine that the device is malfunctioning.
Alarm device suppliers shall conform to the requirements contained in the National Electrical Code.
For the purposes of enforcing this article, the Police Chief, Fire Marshal and/or the Township Manager, or their duly authorized designees, are hereby authorized to enter upon a lessee's or owner's premises upon written notice or in the event of an emergency at any time to make inspections of installation and/or operation of alarm devices.
No person shall conduct any test or demonstrations of an alarm device without first obtaining permission from the Township and/or the Chester County Police/Fire Radio Network or other successor in interest.
Alarm device suppliers and installers shall furnish, at or prior to the time of contracting and at their expense, a copy of this article to owners, lessees or users of the equipment or services to be supplied.
The Township shall comply with Pennsylvania law on false alarm enforcement. The Township hereby authorizes certain local public safety agencies, the Fire Chief for the Berwyn Fire Company and/or his designees, the Fire Chief for the Paoli Fire Company and/or his designees and the Chief of Police for the Easttown Township Police Department and/or his designees to be added to the list maintained by Magisterial District Court 15-1-02, or any other Magisterial District Court that may in the future have jurisdiction over the Township, of persons permitted to issue citations for the violation of 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 7511(c)(1), as may be amended, and directs that this article be provided to the Magisterial District Court, or courts having jurisdiction, for inclusion in that Court's database.
[Amended 10-7-1996 by Ord. No. 293-96]
Any person who violates or permits a violation of this article shall, upon being found liable therefor in a civil enforcement proceeding commenced by the Township before a Magisterial District Judge, pay a fine of not more than $600, plus all court costs, including reasonable attorneys' fees, incurred by the Township in the enforcement of this article. No judgment shall be imposed until the date of the determination of the violation by the Magisterial District Judge. If the defendant neither pays nor timely appeals the judgment, the Township may enforce the judgment pursuant to the applicable Rules of Civil Procedure. Each day a violation exists shall constitute a separate offense. Further, the appropriate officers or agents of the Township are hereby authorized to seek equitable relief, including injunction, to enforce compliance herewith.
This article shall be known as "Emergency Communication Systems." The Board of Supervisors finds that the ability of the police, fire, ambulance, and other emergency providers and personnel to communicate with each other within buildings and structures, and to communicate from within structures and buildings to personnel and locations outside the building and structure, is of vital public importance. A breakdown in communications among emergency providers and personnel creates a serious risk of harm to and is a serious threat to the safety and welfare of emergency personnel, the citizens of Easttown Township and the public in general. Therefore, pursuant to the police power, the Board enacts this article to protect the public health, safety and welfare.
The following words and terms shall, for the purposes of this article and as used elsewhere in this Code, have the meanings shown herein.
- Association of Public Safety Communications Officials International.
- Chester County Department of Emergency Services.
- Federal Communications Commission.
- GROSS FLOOR AREA
- The total area of the floor measured to the outside finished surfaces of permanent outer building walls, without any deductions. All enclosed area on the floor, including basements, attic, garages, mechanical equipment floors, penthouses, and the like, shall be calculated as a part of gross floor area.
- National Public Safety Planning Advisory Committee.
Except as otherwise provided, no person shall erect, construct, alter, refit, change the use of, or provide an addition of more than 20% of the existing gross floor area to any building or structure or any part thereof, or cause the same to be done, which fails to support adequate radio coverage for CCDES, the Berwyn and Paoli Fire Companies, and the Easttown Township Police Department. For the purposes of this article, adequate radio coverage shall include all of the following:
A minimum signal strength of -95dBm available in 95% for the gross floor area of each floor of the building.
A minimum signal strength of -95dBm received at the closest CCDES radio communications site when transmitted from 95% of the gross floor area of each floor of the building.
The frequency range which must be supported shall be between 763 MHz and 861 MHz.
A 90% reliability factor.
Signal strength measurements, for the purpose of measuring the performance of a bi-directional amplifier, shall be based on one input signal adequate to obtain a maximum continuous operating output level.
The provisions of this article shall become applicable upon notification to the property owner that unacceptable performance levels exist. The property owner shall have 90 days from date of notification to enhance radio coverage and bring it within the acceptable limits of these provisions.
Buildings and structures which cannot support the required level of radio coverage shall be equipped with either a radiating cable system or an internal multiple antenna system with or without FCC type accepted bi-directional 700/800 MHz amplifiers as needed. If any part of the installed system or systems contains an electrically powered component, the system shall be capable of operating on an independent battery and/or generator system for a period of at least 12 hours without external power input. The battery system shall charge in the presence of an external power input.
Acceptance test procedure.
When an in-building radio system is required, and upon completion of installation, it will be the building owner's responsibility to have the radio system tested to ensure that two-way coverage on each floor of the building is a minimum of 95%. Each floor of the building shall be divided into a grid of approximately 20 equal areas. A maximum of two nonadjacent areas will be allowed to fail the test. In the event that three of the areas fail the test, in order to be more statistically accurate, the floor may be divided in 40 equal areas. In such event, a maximum of four nonadjacent areas will be allowed to fail the test. After the forty-area test, if the system continues to fail, the building owner shall have the system altered to meet the 95% coverage requirement.
The test shall be conducted using the most current portable radio or its equivalent, available to the Easttown Township Police Department and the Berwyn and Paoli Fire Companies, talking through the CCDES as specified by the authority having jurisdiction. A spot located approximately in the center of a grid area will be selected for the test, then the radio will be keyed to verify two-way communications to and from the outside of the building through the CCDES. Once the spot has been selected, prospecting for a better spot within the grid area will not be permitted.
The gain values of all amplifiers shall be measured and the test measurement results shall be kept on file with the building owner so that the measurements can be verified each year during the annual tests. In the event that the measurements results become lost, the building owner will be required to rerun the acceptance test to reestablish the gain values.
Biennial tests. When an in-building radio system is required, the building owner shall test all active components of the system, including but not limited to amplifiers, power supplies and backup batteries, a minimum of once every 24 months. Amplifiers shall be tested to ensure that the gain is the same as it was upon initial installation and acceptance. Backup batteries and power supplies shall be tested under load for a period of one hour to verify that they will properly operate during an actual power outage. If within the one-hour test period, in the opinion of the testing technician, the battery exhibits symptoms of failure, the test shall be extended for additional one-hour periods until the testing technician confirms the integrity of the battery. All other active components shall be checked to determine that they are operating within the manufacturer's specifications for the intended period. A copy of the accepted tests shall be provided to the Chester County Department of Emergency Services, Berwyn and Paoli Fire Companies' Chiefs and the Easttown Township Police Chief.
Eight-year tests. In addition to the annual test, the building owner shall perform a radio coverage test a minimum of once every eight years to insure that the radio system continues to meet the requirements of the original acceptance test. The procedure set forth above shall apply to such tests. A copy of the accepted tests shall be provided to the Chester County Department of Emergency Services, Berwyn and Paoli Fire Companies' Chiefs and the Easttown Township Police Chief.
Qualifications of testing personnel. All tests shall be conducted, documented and signed by a person in possession of a current FCC technician license, or a current technician certification issued by APCO, NABER, or PCIA. All test records shall be retained on the inspected premises by the building owner and a copy submitted to the Berwyn and Paoli Fire Companies' Chiefs and the Easttown Township Police Chief.
Police and fire personnel, after providing reasonable notice to the owner or his representative, shall have the right to enter onto the property to conduct field testing to be certain that the required level of radio coverage is present.
This article does not apply to structures in Use Groups R-3 and R-4 of the International Building Code; any building constructed of wood frame; any building 35 feet high or less; as long as none of the aforementioned buildings make use of any metal construction or any underground storage or parking areas. For the purposes of this article, parking structures and stairwells are included in the definition of "building" and stair shafts are included in the definition of "all parts of a building," but elevators may be excluded.
Any nonexempt building or structure existing, under construction, or for which a building permit application is pending or has been approved as of the effective date of this article shall comply with the requirements of this article if the CCDES, Easttown Township Police Department and the Berwyn and Paoli Fire Companies determine that adequate radio coverage as set forth herein do not exist in the building or structure. The owner of the building or structure shall be notified in writing of the inadequacy of the coverage and shall have a period of 90 consecutive calendar days from the date of notice to comply with this article, including but not limited to enhancing radio coverage and bringing it within the acceptable limits of this article.
Any person who violates or permits a violation of this chapter shall, upon conviction in a summary proceeding brought before a Magisterial District Judge under the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure, be guilty of a summary offense and shall be punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000, plus costs of prosecution, including reasonable attorneys' fees. In default of payment thereof, the defendant may be sentenced to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 90 days. Each day or portion thereof that such violation continues or is permitted to continue shall constitute a separate offense, and each section of this chapter that is violated shall also constitute a separate offense.