[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Mendham as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 9-27-2016 by Ord. No. 18-2016]
Editor’s Note: This ordinance also repealed former Art. I, Private Alarm Systems, adopted by Ord. No. 20-1996 (Sec. 4-2 of the 1998 Revised General Ordinances), as amended.
The purpose of this article is to encourage alarm users and alarm companies to properly use and maintain the operational effectiveness of alarm systems in order to improve the reliability of alarm systems and reduce or eliminate false alarms.
This article governs alarm systems intended to summon emergency personnel response, requires registration, establishes fees, provides for penalties for violations and establishes a system of administration.
The provisions of this article shall apply to any person who operates, maintains or owns any alarm device designed to summon emergency personnel to any location in response to an alarm signal. Any person having a premises protected by an alarm device shall still be responsible for the registration thereof in accordance with § 82-4.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ALARM DEVICE
- Any type of alarm system actuating equipment in an alarm panel providing warning of intrusion or fire.
- ALARM INSTALLATION
- Any alarm device or combination of devices installed for one or more buildings.
- ALARM INSTALLATION AND/OR MONITORING COMPANY
- A private company which customers subscribe to for alarm installation and/or monitoring services for any type of alarm device or combination of devices to residential and commercial structures.
- ALARM REGISTRATION (or PERMIT)
- Authorization granted by the Township of Mendham to an alarm user to operate an alarm system.
- ALARM SITE
- A single fixed premises or location served by an alarm system or systems. Each unit, if served by a separate alarm system in a multi-unit building or complex, shall be considered a separate alarm site.
- ALARM SYSTEM
- A device or series of devices, including, but not limited to, hardwired systems and systems interconnected with a radio frequency method such as cellular or private radio signals, which emit or transmit a remote or local audible, visual or electronic signal indicating an alarm condition and intended to summon an emergency personnel response, including local alarm systems. "Alarm system" does not include an alarm installed in a vehicle.
- ALARM USER
- Any person, who (which) has contracted for monitoring, repair, installation or maintenance service from an alarm installation company or monitoring company for an alarm system, or who (which) owns or operates an alarm system which is not monitored, maintained or repaired under contract.
- EMERGENCY CONTACT
- An individual capable of reaching and having access to the alarm site, the code to the alarm system, and the authority to approve repairs to the alarm system.
- FALSE ALARM
- Any alarm actuated by inadvertence, negligence, unintentional or intentional act of someone other than an intruder or by fire, including alarms caused by malfunctioning of the alarm device or other relevant equipment, whereby police or fire personnel are dispatched to the alarm site and find no evidence of an actual or attempted criminal offense or real fire threat or similar hazard.
- LOCAL ALARM SYSTEM
- Any alarm system, which is not monitored, that annunciates an alarm only at the alarm site.
- Any individual, partnership, corporation, association, organization or similar entity.
Installation, alteration or repair of an alarm system shall be inspected by the Electrical Subcode Official and/or the Fire Protection Subcode Official in accordance with the regulations promulgated under the State Uniform Construction Code Act. Copies of reports of inspections shall be filed with the Township Construction Official.
Any person who owns or operates an alarm device, alarm system or a local alarm system (each to guard against intrusion, fire, or carbon monoxide, but excluding self-contained detectors with an indoor audible signal) shall make application for the continuance thereof, in writing, to the Township of Mendham, which application shall contain the name, address and telephone number of the applicant; the location of the property to be served; the name, address and telephone number of the company which will monitor the alarm system; the particular type of devices, including presence and location(s) of a video surveillance system and its provider; a gate code, if applicable; emergency contacts to be notified in the event of an alarm; and other information as may be required by the emergency personnel.
All alarm systems shall be registered annually with a registration fee of $50 due at the time an application is submitted for registration. An additional late charge of $10 shall be paid to the Township in the event that an application to renew a registration is submitted after January 1 in any year.
The aforesaid fee shall not be prorated by reason of the date upon which an application is filed, but the fee shall be refunded to the applicant in the event that a registration is not accepted. Any initial registration issued between October 15 and December 31 in any year shall be valid until December 31 of the following year without any additional fee. No alarm user shall operate, or cause to be operated, an alarm system at its alarm site without a valid alarm registration. A separate alarm registration is required for each alarm site.
Any false statement of a material fact made by an applicant for the purpose of obtaining an alarm registration shall be sufficient cause for refusal to issue a registration.
An alarm registration cannot be transferred to another person or alarm site. An alarm user shall inform the Township Police of any change that alters any of the information listed on the alarm registration application within five business days of such change.
All fines and fees owed by an applicant must be paid before an alarm registration may be issued or renewed.
Every registration is due on or before November 1 for the following calendar year and shall expire on December 31.
An alarm user shall:
Obtain an alarm registration for the alarm system as required in § 82-4. The issuance of a registration acceptance pursuant to this article shall not relieve any person from the requirements of the State Uniform Construction Code Act and regulations promulgated thereunder for a permit under the Electrical Subcode and/or Fire Protection Subcode to install, alter or repair an alarm system.
Maintain the alarm site and the alarm system in a manner that will minimize or eliminate false alarms.
Not activate an alarm system for any reason other than an occurrence of an event that the alarm system was intended to report.
An alarm user shall adjust the mechanism or cause the mechanism to be adjusted so that an alarm signal audible on the exterior of an alarm site will sound for no longer than 15 minutes after being activated.
An alarm user shall not use automatic voice dialers.
An alarm user shall not connect any alarm devices or systems to police headquarters.
This section applies to all persons who have installed and/or monitor their own alarm system.
The central station shall notify the police dispatch center on a dedicated alarm telephone line of an alarm activation. The station will supply its company information, operator name or number, type of alarm activation and subscriber information when the call is placed. The central station shall also be responsible for making initial notification to the subscriber or subscriber designee.
Local alarm systems having an audible alarm installed out of doors shall be designed to limit the operation of a bell or sound-producing instrument to a maximum of 15 minutes after activation. If the duration of an activated audible device of a local alarm system exceeds 15 minutes, the warnings and penalties provided by § 82-7B of this article shall apply as though a false alarm had been activated.
In case of a false alarm, any person having knowledge thereof shall immediately notify police dispatch. In addition, the Fire Chief(s) or the Chief of Police shall cause an investigation to be made and keep a record of said alarms on file. The appropriate fire officer in charge of an incident shall gather all information required to report a false alarm and provide such report as prescribed to the Township Fire Official.
In the event of multiple false fire alarms caused by a given alarm system in a given calendar year, the Fire Chief(s) may choose to have the alarm user issued a summons or warning by the Fire Official or the Police Chief or his designee. It will be the Fire Chief's (Chiefs') responsibility to track such false alarms and report them as necessary with the appropriate information to the authorized authority issuing the summons.
In the event that more than one false burglar alarm shall be caused by a given alarm system in any given calendar year, the alarm user of the system shall be issued a summons by the Police Chief or his designee.
The fine issued for either a false burglar or fire alarm shall be in accordance with the following:
An alarm user with an alarm registration shall be subject to fines, depending on the number of false alarms within any calendar year, based upon the following schedule:
For the second false alarm, a fine shall be paid to the Township in the amount of $75.
For the third and for each subsequent false alarm in the same calendar year, the fine shall be increased to $100 and by increments of $100 for each occurrence thereafter, with no cap on the amount of the fine, and shall be paid to the Township.
An alarm user without alarm registration shall be subject to fines, depending on the number of false alarms within any calendar year, based upon the following schedule:
For the second false alarm, a fine shall be paid to the Township in the amount of $150.
For the third and for each subsequent false alarm in the same calendar year, the fine shall be increased to $200 and by increments of $100 for each occurrence thereafter, with no cap on the amount of the fine, and shall be paid to the Township.
Buildings and other facilities owned by the Township of Mendham are exempt from the enforcement provisions and fines pertaining to false alarms.
Alarm activations that are a direct result of severe or major weather events and/or power outages/surges are exempt from a warning or summons being issued under this article.
In the interest of public safety, all information contained in and gathered through the alarm registration applications and records relating to specific alarm activations shall be held in confidence by all employees or representatives of the Township with access to such information.
Alarm registration is not intended to, nor will it, create a contract, duty or obligation, either expressed or implied, or a response. Any and all liability and consequential damage resulting from the failure to respond to a notification is hereby disclaimed, and governmental immunity as provided by law is retained. By applying for an alarm registration, the alarm user acknowledges that a response by emergency personnel may be influenced by factors such as: the availability of police and/or fire units, priority of calls, weather conditions, traffic conditions, emergency conditions, staffing levels and prior response history.
It shall be a further condition precedent to the issuance of an alarm registration that each permittee, alarm contractor and licensee agree, in writing, to indemnify and save harmless the Township of Mendham, its agents, volunteers, servants and employees, including the members of the Police Department of the Township, from and on account of any and all damages arising from or as a result of any forced entry into unattended premises occurring during an alarm response.
The Township Committee may from time to time promulgate rules and regulations supplementing this article in order to provide for recordkeeping and efficient management of said system.
The elementary school and the middle school shall each be allowed five false alarms per calendar year, at no cost to the Board of Education. After a particular school has exceeded the number of no-cost false alarms permitted above, the Board of Education shall pay an administrative fee of $50 per false alarm for that facility. The Board of Education shall not be required to appear in Municipal Court to pay any fines assessed, and to the extent any dispute arises regarding a false alarm violation, the Board of Education and the Township Committee, or their designees, shall resolve the issue.
The provisions of this article are severable. If a court determines that a word, phrase, clause, sentence, paragraph, subsection, section, or other provision is invalid or that the application of any part of the provision to any person or circumstance is invalid, the remaining provisions and the application of those provisions to other persons or circumstances are not affected by that decision.
[Adopted by Ord. No. 15-1991 (Sec. 28-2 of the 1998 Revised General Ordinances)]
[Amended 6-9-2003 by Ord. No. 12-2003; 5-12-2014 by Ord. No. 6-2014]
No owner of a structure within the Township of Mendham used or intended for use for residential purposes by not more than two households shall sell, lease or otherwise permit a new occupancy for residential purposes without first obtaining from the Township Fire Official a certificate evidencing compliance with the requirements of N.J.S.A. 52:27D-198.1 for smoke-sensitive alarm devices within the structure. A fee as provided in Chapter 160, Fees, shall be paid to the Township of Mendham to cover the inspection and issuance of the certificate by the Township Fire Official. In the event that a reinspection shall be necessary, an additional fee shall be paid. All fees shall be paid prior to the issuance of the certificate.
[Added 5-12-2014 by Ord. No. 6-2014]
Each structure, other than a seasonal rental unit, shall also be equipped with at least one portable fire extinguisher in conformance with rules and regulations promulgated by the Commissioner of Community Affairs pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act, P.L. 1968, c. 410 (N.J.S.A. 52:14B-1 et seq.).
[Added 5-12-2014 by Ord. No. 6-2014]
For the purposes of this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- PORTABLE FIRE EXTINGUISHER
- An operable portable device, carried and operated by hand, containing an extinguishing agent that can be expelled under pressure for the purpose of suppressing or extinguishing fire, and which is:
- SEASONAL RENTAL UNIT
- A dwelling unit rented for a term of not more than 125 consecutive days for residential purposes by a person having a permanent residence elsewhere, but shall not include use or rental of living quarters by migrant, temporary or seasonal workers in connection with any work or place where work is being performed.
[Amended 5-12-2014 by Ord. No. 6-2014]
An owner who sells, leases, rents or otherwise permits to be occupied for residential purposes any premises subject to the provisions of this article, when the premises does not comply with the requirements of this article, shall be subject to a fine of not more than $500 in the case of a violation for an alarm device, or a fine of not more than $100 in the case of a violation for a portable fire extinguisher, which may be collected and enforced by the local enforcing agency by summary proceedings pursuant to the Penalty Enforcement Law of 1999, P.L. 1999, c. 274 (N.J.S.A. 2A:58-10 et seq.).