Town of Middleborough, MA
Plymouth County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Meeting of the Town of Middleborough as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Buildings — See Ch. 115.
Fire prevention — See Ch. 161.
[Adopted 10-2-2017 STM by Art. 30, AG 1-18-2018, eff. 2-15-2018]
False alarms have a deleterious effect on the local law enforcement effort. They are costly and disruptive. Costly in the sense of the deployment of our people to non-bona fide calls; detrimental by subjecting our personnel and equipment to injury or other negative impacts when responding. They cause a drain on the allocation or personnel to designated areas by leaving certain other areas of the Town vulnerable. This is a situation that must be met, modified and dealt with in a manner consistent with the efficient and effective running of the Middleborough Police Department by specific means as set forth herein.
As used in this bylaw, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
ALARM SYSTEM
An assembly of equipment and devices or a single device, such as a solid-state unit, arranged to signal the presence of a hazard requiring urgent attention to which police are expected to respond. Fire alarm systems and alarm systems which monitor temperature, smoke, humidity, or any other condition not directly related to the detection of an unauthorized intrusion into a premises or an attempted robbery at a premises are specifically excluded from the provisions of this bylaw, unless monitored by the department. The provisions of § 104-3 of this bylaw shall apply to all users.
AUTOMATIC DIALING DEVICE
An alarm system which automatically sends, over regular telephone lines, by direct connection or otherwise, a prerecorded voice or coded signal, indicating the existence of the emergency situation that the alarm system is designated to detect.
A. 
The activation of an alarm system through mechanical failure, malfunction, improper installation, or negligence of the user of an alarm system or his employees or agents.
B. 
Any signal or automatic dialing device transmitted to the Middleborough Police Department requesting or requiring or resulting in a response on the part of the Middleborough Police Department, when in fact there has been no unauthorized intrusion, robbery or burglary, or attempted threat.
C. 
For the purpose of this definition, activation of alarm systems by acts of nature, including but not limit to power outages, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and similar weather or atmospheric disturbances, shall not be deemed to be a false alarm.
A. 
Every alarm user shall submit to the Police Chief the names and telephone numbers of at least two other persons, in addition to the user, who are authorized to respond, after notification by the Police Department, to an emergency signal transmitted by an alarm system, and who can open the premises wherein the alarm system is installed. It shall be incumbent upon the owner of said premises to immediately notify the Police Department of any changes in the list of authorized employees or other persons to respond to alarms.
B. 
All alarm systems installed after the effective date of this bylaw which are an audible horn or bell shall be equipped with a device that will shut off such bell or horn within 15 minutes after activation of the alarm system. All existing alarm systems in the Town of Middleborough must have a shut-off device installed within six months after passage of this bylaw.
C. 
Any alarm system emitting a continuous and uninterrupted signal for more than 15 minutes, which cannot be shut off or otherwise curtailed, due to the absence or unavailability of the alarm user or those persons designated by him under Subsection A of this section, and which disturbs the peace, comfort, or repose of a community, a neighborhood, or a considerable number of inhabitants of the area where the alarm system is located, shall constitute a public nuisance. Upon receiving complaints regarding such a continuous and uninterrupted signal, the Police Department shall endeavor to contact the alarm user or those persons designated by the alarm user under Subsection A of this section, in an effort to abate the nuisance. The Police Chief shall cause to be recorded the names and addresses of all complaints and the time each complaint was made.
D. 
The provisions of this bylaw shall not apply to alarm devices or premises owned or controlled by the Town, nor to alarm devices installed in a motor vehicle or trailer.
A. 
The user shall be assessed $25 as a false alarm service fee for each false alarm in excess of three occurring in a calendar year; $35 in excess of four occurring in a calendar year; and $50 in excess of five occurring in a calendar year. The Police Chief shall notify the alarm user of such violations, either by certified mail or by service in hand by a police officer. Said user shall submit payment within 15 days of said notice to the Police Department for deposit to the general fund.
B. 
The user of a system which occasions six or more false alarms within a calendar year, or who fails to pay the fine(s) after said notice, may be ordered to disconnect and otherwise discontinue the use of same by the Police Chief.
C. 
All other violations of this bylaw may be subject to a fine of not more than $50 for each offense.
[Adopted 10-2-2017 STM by Art. 30, AG 1-18-2018, eff. 2-15-2018]
False fire alarms have a deleterious effect on local fire protection efforts. They cause unnecessary deployment of Fire Department personnel and equipment and related unnecessary expense. They subject Fire Department personnel and equipment to potential injury and other negative impacts when responding to false fire alarms. The deployment of personnel and equipment in response to a false fire alarm exposes other areas of the Town to greater fire hazards. This bylaw is intended to deter record owners of buildings which are equipped with an alarm system from allowing false alarms from occurring so as to enhance the efficient operation of the Fire Department.
As used in this bylaw, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
ALARM SYSTEM
An assembly of equipment and devices or a single device, such as a solid-state unit, arranged to signal or indicate the presence or existence of a fire requiring urgent attention to which Fire Department personnel are expected to respond.
FALSE ALARM
Activation of an alarm system which produces a signal or indication received by the Fire Department or a communication from a licensed central monitoring station to the Fire Department, which signal, indication or communication indicates the presence or existence of a fire at a specific building in which the alarm system is located and which results in deployment of Fire Department personnel to the specific building, when in fact there was or is no fire at the specific building. Receipt by the Fire Department of such a signal, indication or communication which indicates the presence or existence of a fire at a specific building and which results in deployment of Fire Department personnel to the specific building shall not be a false alarm for purposes of this bylaw if such activation or communication was caused by or arose from acts of nature, including but not limited to power outages, storms, lightning, earthquakes or other weather events or atmospheric disturbances.
The record owner of a building which is equipped with an alarm system shall maintain the alarm system so as to prevent a false alarm from occurring with respect to the building's alarm system. The record owner of a building which is equipped with an alarm system shall take reasonable action to prevent a false alarm from occurring with respect to the building's alarm system.
The record owner of a building which is equipped with an alarm system shall violate this bylaw if a false alarm in excess of three false alarms occurs during a calendar year with respect to such building and alarm system.
Violation of § 104-8 of this bylaw shall be punished by a fine of not more than $300 for each violation. Each such false alarm in excess of three false alarms during a calendar year shall be a separate violation under § 104-8.
The Fire Chief shall give notice in writing to the record owner who is subject to a false alarm violation. The record owner shall pay the false alarm fine to the Town of Middleborough within 15 days after the Fire Chief gives such notice.