[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors (now Board of Commissioners) of the Township of Pocono 5-18-1998 by Ord. No. 82. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be known as the "Pocono Township Emergency Response and Reimbursement Ordinance of 1998."
Terms used in this chapter which are defined in the Pennsylvania Hazardous Material Emergency Planning and Response Act, 35 P.S. § 6022.101 et seq., or any amendments thereto, shall have the same meaning as set forth in that Act unless expressly defined differently herein.
Terms used in this chapter which are defined in the 1992 and 1994 amendments to the Pennsylvania Insurance Company Law, Acts 1992-98 and 1994-93, respectively, or any subsequent amendments thereto, shall be presumed to have the same meaning as set forth in that Act, unless expressly defined differently herein.
Editor's Note: See 40 P.S. § 638.
Specifically defined terms. As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Any siren, bell, horn or other device which is attached to the interior or exterior of a structure and emits a warning signal audible outside the structure, or transmits a prerecorded voice alarm or other signal and is designed to attract attention, or transmits a message to an emergency communication center, when activated by a criminal act or other emergency requiring emergency response agencies to respond. The term "alarm" shall include automatic protection devices and sensory devices.
- ALARM REGISTRATION
- Documentation pertaining to any alarm system which identifies the owner or lessee of the system; the address of the property which is protected by the system; the identity of individuals authorized to respond to the alarm in order to gain access to the property and deactivate the system; the identity of the firm or individual who installed the system and can provide emergency repair service; and any other data required by Pocono Township.
- AUTOMATIC PROTECTION DEVICE
- An electrically operated instrument composed of sensory apparatus and related hardware which automatically transmits a prerecorded voice alarm or other similar message over telephone line, by direct or indirect connection to an emergency communication center, upon receipt of a stimulus from sensory apparatus that has detected a physical force or other stimulus inherently characteristic of a fire intrusion.
- The Board of Commissioners of Pocono Township.
- EMERGENCY COMMUNICATION CENTER
- A protection system or group of such systems, operated privately for customers or publicly by a person, firm, corporation or governmental entity which maintains, supervises or accepts recorded messages from automatic protection devices at a central station having operators that have the duty to take appropriate action upon receipt of a signal or message.
- EMERGENCY INCIDENT
- An occurrence involving a risk of harm and/or imminent threat to private or public property, life or a potential threat to the environment or public health, safety, including but not limited to fires; petroleum, chemical or hazardous materials spills and releases; and building, well, trench or sinkhole collapses.
- EMERGENCY RESPONSE AGENCIES
- Fire companies, ambulance corps, paramedics, police and other emergency providers serving the residents of the Township or responding to requests for and/or assistance pursuant to any mutual aid agreement duly authorized by the Township, and Township employees responding to an emergency incident at the request of any emergency response agency.
- (1) All direct and indirect costs and expenses incurred or expended by the Township or any emergency service agency, or both, in connection with any emergency incident, including but not limited to the following:
- (a) The costs of labor calculated by determining the actual hourly wage rate plus the hourly cost of fringe benefits (and including overtime rates, if applicable) normally paid by the Township to Township personnel involved in responding to any emergency incident times the number of hours worked in response to any emergency incident or, in the case of emergency response agency volunteer personnel, the reasonable hourly value of the volunteer personnel, as determined by the Township Board of Commissioners from time to time, taking into account the funds expended to train and properly equip each such volunteer, times the number of hours worked by each such volunteer in response to any emergency incident; and
- (b) The cost of all nonreusable materials and all contaminated or consumed materials utilized in connection with any emergency incident; and
- (c) The cost of all equipment, calculated by estimating the number of hours of the useful life of such equipment and dividing the same into replacement cost plus the maintenance cost of said equipment and then multiplying the result by the number of hours such equipment was in service in response to any emergency incident; and
- (d) The administrative cost of recordkeeping, information processing and compilation of a bill of costs; and
- (e) The reasonable attorney's fees and costs (including witness fees) of pursing any and all enforcement or collection actions for emergency service costs against responsible parties.
- (2) In no event shall the emergency service cost assessed and collected for any single emergency response agency as a result of any individual incident exceed $500 under the terms and provisions of this chapter, except in the case of emergency incidents involving hazardous materials, in which event the full emergency service cost shall be assessed and collected.
- FALSE ALARMS
- Any alarm or signal activated by an automatic protection device, or any other kind of direct or indirect signal given to an emergency communication center, or any signal given from a sensory device, to which police or firemen respond, which is not the result of weather extremes, burglary, robbery, fire or similar emergency.
- FIRE LOSS
- Any loss occurring after the effective date of this chapter and covered under a policy of fire insurance, including all endorsements or riders to the policy.
- Any company, corporation or individual which has contracted to engage or has engaged in the act of installing fire, intrusion, water or other alarms or alarm systems, which are designated to require a response from any emergency response agency.
- INSURING AGENT
- Any fire or casualty insurer which provides reimbursement for emergency response agency costs or expenses in the event of an emergency incident.
- To use a telephone line and equipment for transmitting a message either directly or indirectly by an automatic protection device.
- RESPONSIBLE PARTIES
- The following person(s) or legal entities shall, for the purposes of this chapter, be deemed responsible parties:
- (1) The owner of any petroleum, petroleum distillate or by-product, hazardous material or chemical and any carrier, including any pipeline owner, of any such material which is spilled, released, dumped, deposited or stored and to which there is a response by an emergency response agency.
- (2) The owner of the real property on which any petroleum, petroleum distillate or by-product, hazardous material or chemical is spilled, released, dumped, deposited or stored and to which there is a response by an emergency response agency.
- (3) The owner of real or personal property on or in which there occurs an unfriendly fire; a building, well, trench or sinkhole collapse requiring rescue efforts or otherwise threatening life, property or the environment; or vehicular accidents involving fire, personal injury or loss of life, to which there is a response by an emergency response agency.
- (4) All person(s) and legal entity or entities found to be legally responsible in any court of competent jurisdiction for causing of any emergency incident.
- SENSORY DEVICES
- A device attached to the interior of a structure which is not tied to an emergency communication center and is or is intended to be audible on the exterior of the structure to which it is attached.
- The Township of Pocono.
Payment of municipal claims and lienable amounts.
Certificates of municipal claim. The Township's designated officer shall, upon the written request of the named insured specifying the tax description of the property, name and address of the insuring agent and the date agreed upon by the insuring agent and the named insured as the date of the receipt of a loss report of the claim, furnish the insuring agent with either of the following within 14 days of the request:
A certificate to the effect that, as of the date specified in the request, there are no delinquent taxes, assessments, penalties or user charges against the property and that, as of the date of the Township's certificate, the Township has not certified any amount as total costs incurred by the Township for the removal, repair or securing of a building or other structure on the property;
A certificate and bill showing the amount of delinquent taxes, assessments, penalties and use charges against the property as of the date specified in the request that have not been paid as of the date of the certificate and also showing, as of the date of the Township's certificate, the amount of the total costs, if any, certified to the Township that have been incurred by the Township for the removal, repair or securing of a building or other structure on the property. For the purposes of this clause, the Township shall provide to the Township Treasurer the total amount, if any, of such costs, if available, or the amount of costs known to the Township at the time of the Township's certificate; or
For purposes of this section, a tax, assessment, penalty or user charge becomes delinquent at the time and on the date a lien could otherwise have been filed against the property by the Township under applicable law.
Upon the receipt of a certificate and bill pursuant to § 230-3A(1)(b) of this chapter, the insuring agent shall return the bill to the Township Treasurer and transfer to the Township an amount from the insurance proceeds necessary to pay the taxes, assessments, penalties, charges and costs as shown on the bill or the full amount of the insurance proceeds, whichever is the lesser amount. The Township shall receive the amount and apply or credit it to payment of the items shown in the bill. Further, the terms of § 230-3A(2)(b)[c] shall be followed, if applicable. Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the ability of the Township to recover any deficiency.
Upon receipt of a certificate pursuant to § 230-3A(1) of this chapter, the insuring agent shall pay the claim of the named insured in accordance with the policy terms, except that if the fire loss agreed upon by the named insured and the insuring agent equals or exceeds 60% of the aggregate limits of liability on all fire insurance policies covering the building or other structure, the following procedures shall be followed:
The insuring agent shall transfer from any insurance proceeds to the Township Treasurer the sum of $2,000 for each $15,000 of the policyholder's claim and for each fraction of that amount of a claim. If the total claim is $15,000 or less, the amount transferred to the Township shall be $2,000; or
If, at the time of a fire loss report, the named insured has submitted a contractor's signed estimate of the costs of removing, repairing or securing the building or other structure in an amount less than the amount calculated under § 230-3A(2)(b) above, the insuring agent shall transfer to the Township from the insurance proceeds the amount specified in the estimate.
The transfer of proceeds to the Township shall be on a pro rata basis by all companies, associations or exchanges insuring the building or other structure. Policy proceeds remaining after the transfer to the Township shall be disbursed in accordance with the policy terms.
After the transfer, the named insured may submit a contractor's signed estimate of the costs of removing, repairing or securing the building or other structure, and the Township Treasurer shall return the amount of the funds transferred to the Township in excess of the estimate to the named insured, if the Township has not commenced to remove, repair or secure the building or other structure.
Upon receipt of proceeds under this section, the Township shall do the following:
The Township Treasurer shall place the proceeds in a separate fund to be used solely as security against the total costs of removing, repairing or securing the building or structure which are incurred by the Township. Such costs shall include, without limitation, any engineering, legal or administrative costs incurred by the Township in connection with such removal, repair or securing of the building or any proceedings related thereto.
It is the obligation of the insuring agent when transferring the proceeds to provide the Township with the name and address of the named insured. Upon receipt of the transferred funds and the name and address of the named insured, the Township Treasurer shall contact the named insured, certify that the proceeds have been received by the Township and notify the named insured that the procedures under this subsection shall be followed.
When repairs, removal or securing of the building or other structure have been completed in accordance with all applicable regulations and orders of the Township and the required proof of such completion has been received by the Township Treasurer, and if the Township has not incurred any costs for repairs, removal or securing, the fund shall be returned to the named insured. If the Township has incurred costs for repairs, removal or securing of the building or other structure, the costs shall be paid from the fund, and if excess funds remain, the Township shall transfer the remaining funds to the named insured.
To the extent that interest is earned on proceeds held by the Township pursuant to this section, and such proceeds are not returned to the named insured, such interest shall belong to the Township. To the extent that proceeds are returned to the named insured, interest earning on such proceeds shall be distributed to the named insured at the time that the proceeds are returned.
Claim payment limitations and fire losses. No insuring agent doing business in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania shall pay a claim of a named insured for fire damage to a structure located within the Township where the amount recoverable for the fire loss to the structure under all policies exceeds $7,500, unless the insuring agent is furnished by the Township Treasurer with a municipal certificate pursuant to Section 638(a) of the Insurance Law and § 230-3A of this chapter, and unless there is compliance with Section 638(c) and (d) of the Insurance Law and with the provisions of this chapter.
Editor's Note: See 40 P.S. § 638(a), (c) and (d), respectively.
Emergency service cost reimbursement.
Invoicing procedure. The Township Treasurer shall, upon the written request of any emergency response agencies, remit invoices to the responsible party/parties involved in any emergency incident, which specify the emergency incident and request reimbursement for emergency service costs, within 60 days of the invoice date.
The responsible party/parties shall promptly remit the invoice referenced in § 230-3B(1) above to his/her/its/their insuring agent, if any, which evidences the sixty-day response date.
If the responsible party/parties' insuring agent shall not have paid the invoice remitted to it within said sixty-day period, the responsible party/parties shall be deemed responsible for immediate payment of the emergency service costs evidenced thereby.
Designated officer. The Treasurer of Pocono or the Treasurer's designee is hereby appointed as the designated officer authorized to carry out the duties and responsibilities set forth in this section.
Limitation of actions. Nothing in this section will be construed to limit the ability of the Township to recover any deficiency by lien, fine or action at law or in equity. Furthermore, nothing in this subsection shall be construed to prohibit the Township and the named insured from entering into an agreement that permits the transfer of funds to the named insured if some other reasonable disposition of the damaged property has been negotiated.
Rules and regulations. The Board of Commissioners may by resolution adopt procedures and regulations to implement Section 508 of the Insurance Law and this chapter and may by resolution fix reasonable fees to be charged for municipal activities or services provided pursuant to the Insurance Law and this chapter, including but not limited to issuance of certificates and bills, performance of inspections and opening separate fund accounts.
Penalties for violations. Any owner of property, any named insured or any insuring agent who or which violates any provision of § 230-3 of this chapter shall, upon a judicial determination thereof pursuant to proceedings before a Magisterial District Judge in the same manner provided for the enforcement of summary offenses under the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure, be fined the sum of $1,000 per violation, plus costs, and, in default of payment, imprisonment to the extent allowed by law for the punishment of summary offenses. All such sums shall be paid to the Township of Pocono. Each day of noncompliance shall constitute a separate offense.
Designation of nuisance. The occurrence of unfriendly fires; hazardous material, petroleum and chemical-type spills and releases; vehicular accidents involving fire, personal injury or loss of life; and the unexpected collapse of wells, trenches, buildings and sinkholes requiring rescues or otherwise threatening life, property or the environment, are each declared to be public nuisances and are hereby declared to be emergency incidents.
Liability of responsible party/parties. The responsible parties shall be liable for and shall reimburse the Township for all or part of the direct and indirect emergency service costs incurred or expended by any emergency response agency for labor, materials and/or equipment used in connection with any emergency incident.
Cost billing and collection procedure.
The Township Treasurer shall assemble/compile a bill of costs for each emergency incident as follows:
Within 30 days after rendering services in connection with an emergency incident, or as soon thereafter as possible, the chief operating officer of each involved emergency response agency shall submit to the Township Treasurer, or his/her designee, an itemized bill of costs calculated in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.
The Township Treasurer shall review all such bills of cost, correct any errors or duplications and compile a final documented total bill of costs.
Upon compilation of a complete bill of costs, the Township Treasurer shall, within 45 days of the emergency incident or as soon thereafter as possible, render an itemized billing statement to the responsible party/parties for the total amount of all submitted bills of costs, plus 15% for administrative expense. In no event, however, shall the submitted bills of costs exceed $500 for any single emergency response agency in connection with any single emergency incident.
If the responsible parties have not paid the bill of costs within 45 days from the date the same was rendered/billed, the Township Treasurer shall take appropriate enforcement and collection actions against the responsible party/parties.
The Township may enforce this chapter by having its solicitor file a civil action(s) against any responsible parties in any court of competent jurisdiction for the recovery of any or all emergency service costs.
As an alternative to the foregoing procedure, the chief executive officer of any emergency response agency which responded to an emergency incident may prepare or cause to be prepared an itemized bill of costs compiled in accordance with this chapter for his or her emergency response agency only and submit the same directly to a responsible party/parties for payment or submission for third-party payment. However, any emergency response agency which elects to submit a direct cost billing to a responsible party/parties shall not, without the consent of the Board of Commissioners of the Township, thereafter be entitled to submit such cost billing to the Township for collection efforts in the event of nonpayment, partial payment or dispute concerning responsibility for payment or the amount of the cost billing.
Disbursement of recovered costs. All moneys received and/or recovered by the Township under the provisions of this chapter in connection with an emergency incident shall be deposited in a special Township emergency service cost recovery account and, upon completion of cost recovery efforts, the Township Treasurer shall disburse the funds recovered as follows:
Fifteen percent of the total funds recovered shall be allocated and disbursed to the Township General Fund to reimburse the Township for the administrative costs incurred in effectuating and administering the recovery of emergency service costs, except that if the Township refers a bill of costs to its Solicitor for collection, the Township shall be reimbursed, in addition to the aforesaid 15% of the total funds recovered, the full amount of all legal services, costs and fees incurred in connection with the legal services performed by its Solicitor; and
The balance of the funds recovered shall be disbursed with explanation to each emergency response agency which submitted a bill of costs, in proportion to the amounts of each such bill of costs which was recoverable and recovered, and if the total amount recovered was less than the full amount of the total of the bills of costs, the disbursement to each emergency response agency shall be as determined appropriate by the Township with explanation to each emergency response agency.
This chapter shall not be construed to require reimbursement to the Township for those municipal services normally provided to the Township residents and others as a matter of the Township's general operating procedure and for which the levying of taxes or for which the demand for reimbursement is normally made under the provisions of other Township ordinances.
Alarm registration/installation requirements.
Within 60 days from the effective date of this chapter, every owner or lessee of an alarm shall register the same with the Pocono Township Police Department, on forms provided by the Township. Such registration shall include but not necessarily be limited to the following information:
The name, residence and telephone number of the owner or lessee.
The address where the device is installed and the telephone number of that address. In the case of a multiple building/premises site at which an alarm will be installed, the owner or lessee shall also provide information concerning how the alarm for each building/premises will be distinguishable from other alarms at the other buildings/premises.
The names, addresses and telephone numbers of at least two persons who are authorized to respond to an alarm and gain access to the address where the device is installed.
The name, address and phone number of the installer of the alarm.
Any applicable registration fee as established from time to time by the Board of Commissioners.
In the event an owner or lessee of an alarm is currently registered and is the holder of a valid alarm permit issued by the Township pursuant to Pocono Township Ordinance No. 42 and all of the information provided as part of that registration is current and correct, it shall not be necessary for that owner or lessee to reregister as a result of the enactment of this chapter.
Editor's Note: Ord. No. 42, Alarm System, was superseded by the ordinance adopting this chapter.
After the enactment of this chapter, owners or lessees must equip alarms with timing mechanisms that will disengage the alarm after a maximum period of 30 minutes. Alarms without such timing mechanism shall be unlawful in the Township and must be equipped with a timing mechanism or disconnected by the owner or lessee within 60 days from the effective date of this chapter.
Within 60 days after the effective date of this chapter, all persons owning or operating existing or new automatic protection devices that transmit recorded messages directly to an emergency communication center shall contact the Monroe County Control Center for the proper transmission procedure.
In the event any of the information provided as part of the registration shall change, the owner or lessee shall provide corrected information to the Pocono Township Police Department, in writing, within five days of the change.
All information furnished pursuant to these sections shall be kept confidential, shall not be subject to public inspection and shall be solely for the use of the emergency response agencies and Monroe County Control Center.
Alarm operation requirements. Alarms installed in the Township that are keyed to an assigned trunk line in the Monroe County Control Center shall meet the following requirements:
No more than two calls shall be made to the Monroe County Control Center as a result of a single activation of the automatic protection device.
The sensory mechanisms used in conjunction 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, rattling or vibrating of doors and windows, vibrations to the premises caused by the passing of vehicles, weather extremes or any other similar force not related to emergencies requiring protection.
All components comprising an automatic protection device must be maintained by the owner or lessee in good repair to assure maximum reliability of operation.
Each owner or lessee shall be required to provide external visible and legible identification of the installing company on the protected structure on or near the main entrance. This identification shall include a twenty-four-hour emergency telephone number where someone can be reached to deactivate the system.
Automatic protection devices: technical information. Each installer who sells or leases an automatic protection device in the Township which is keyed to an emergency communication center or intermediary, after the effective date of this chapter, shall furnish to the owner or lessee a set of operating instructions; a circuit diagram; a maintenance manual; and written information as to how service may be obtained, including a telephone number of the installer or agent responsible for service.
Automatic protection devices; repair service.
Each installer who installs an automatic protection device in the Township shall make service available to the owner or lessee of the same, directly or through an agent, within 24 hours of a request by such owner or lessee for repair or service. Such service shall be made available to such owner or lessee at his or her election and expense.
The owner or lessee of an automatic protection device shall be responsible for having any device rendering a false alarm disconnected or repaired within one hour of the commencement of the first such false alarm.
Automatic protection devices: disconnection. When messages evidencing failure to comply with the operational requirements set forth in any section of this chapter are received by the Monroe County Control Center, the automatic protection device sending such messages shall be disconnected in order to relieve the emergency service providers from responding to false alarms. Any designated Township code enforcement officer is hereby authorized to demand that the owner or lessee of the device, or his representative, disconnect the device until it is made to comply with the operational requirements hereof.
Registration and user fees.
The Board of Commissioners may establish reasonable registration fees for registrations and installations following the enactment of this chapter.
Each property owner or lessee utilizing any alarm (excepting public institutions) shall be charged a fee for service by the Township for the fourth, and each subsequent, false alarm which occurs in any consecutive twelve-month period and results in action by an emergency response agency. Public institutions utilizing any alarm shall be charged a fee for service for the sixth, and each subsequent, false alarm which occurs in any consecutive twelve-month period. The user fees shall be assessed as follows:
The base fee for service shall be $75.
The fee for service required for each false alarm which results in a fire company call out shall be $300.
If any property owner desires to appeal from the imposition of any fee for service, the appeal shall be directed, in writing, to the Board of Commissioners within 30 days of the date the fee is assessed or imposed.
Penalty and remedies for violation.
This chapter shall be enforced by action brought before a Magisterial District Judge in the same manner provided for the enforcement of summary offenses under the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure. Any person, partnership, corporation or other entity who or which violates or permits a violation of any provision of § 230-5 of this chapter shall, upon conviction in a summary proceeding, pay a fine of not more than $1,000, plus the costs of prosecution, and, in default of the payment of the fine and costs of prosecution, shall be imprisoned for a period not exceeding 30 days. All such sums shall be paid to the Township of Pocono.
In the event that more than three false alarms resulting in action by emergency response agencies are received within any 12 consecutive months from any alarm, the owner, lessee or user of such alarm shall, upon a judicial determination thereof pursuant to proceedings before a Magisterial District Judge in the same manner provided for the enforcement of summary offenses under the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure, be fined $100 for the first offense; $200 for the second offense; $300 for the third and each subsequent offense, plus costs, and, in default of payment, imprisonment to the extent allowed by law for the punishment of summary offenses. All such sums shall be paid to the Township of Pocono. Each false alarm in excess of three within 12 months, or, in the case of a public institution, each false alarm in excess of five within 12 months, shall constitute a separate violation and shall be deemed a separate offense.
Upon adoption of this chapter, an exact copy of § 230-3 hereof shall be filed with the Pennsylvania Department of Community Affairs, or its successor, together with the name, position and phone number of the Township Treasurer, as required by 40 P.S. § 638(i).
Editor's Note: Now Department of Community and Economic Development.