[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Bath 4-3-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-588. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The purpose of this chapter is to provide standards and regulations for police, fire, ambulance, and other emergency alarm and protection devices, whether by direct line, radio, telephone, or other means actuating a device requiring a response by police, fire department, ambulance, or other governmental agencies and providing penalty guidelines for the misuse of the 911 emergency telephone system within the Borough of Bath. The Borough Council hereby finds and declares that:
The majority of emergency alarms to which police, fire department, ambulance, and emergency personnel respond are false. Such false alarms are public nuisances resulting in a waste of manpower and could cause serious injury to those police officers and other emergency personnel who may be responding to a false alarm. And while responding to false alarms, the emergency personnel are not available to protect the citizens of the Borough.
The dangers to citizens through emergency responses created by false alarms is unnecessary and hazardous.
False alarms have created conditions causing danger and annoyance to the general public.
Tax dollars are wasted through responses to false alarms.
This chapter is an effort to remedy these public nuisances by establishing and implementing a system for permits, registration, notification of activation, maintenance, shutoffs, and suspensions.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ALARM SYSTEM
- Any device designed or used for detection of fire, smoke, carbon dioxide, or any other gas; or of intrusion into a building, property, structure, or facility; or for the alerting about any person in the attempt or commission of a crime or any emergency situation involving potential death or injury; or any other device which summons any of the emergency service agencies, and which is directly connected to an audible alarm or the transmission of a related signal or message, which is used to evoke an emergency response by any of the emergency service agencies to any address; or separate component of any alarm system.
- EMERGENCY SERVICE AGENCIES
- The Borough of Bath Volunteer Fire Company, Ambulance Service, and the Police Department serving the Borough.
- FALSE ALARM
- The activation of an alarm system due to other than the purpose or legitimate activation for which the alarm system is designed. Any activation of an alarm system due to any malfunction, whether caused by a violent, natural catastrophic condition, including electrical storms or power outages, or conditions beyond the control of the permittee, shall nevertheless constitute a false alarm. A false alarm shall also include the accidental activation of alarm systems by employees, permittees, cleaning services, or any other persons permitted on the property by the permittee.
- Any company, corporation, or individual, which has contracted to engage or engaged in the act of installing fire, intrusion, water alarm, medical systems, etc., or any other alarm system where the alarm system is designed to require a response from any of the emergency service agencies.
- MISUSE OF THE 911 EMERGENCY TELEPHONE SYSTEM
- Includes the following:[Amended 9-2-2014 by Ord. No. 2014-647]
- A. Misdials. Calls received at the Northampton County Control Center that are the result of the caller attempting to dial any other number, or has mistakenly placed the call using preprogrammed speed dial for 911, fax machines or other mechanical activation, or other means of erroneously calling 911 without the need for emergency response. Mechanical or technical misdials shall be the sole responsibility of the property owner, or in the case of a business premises, the owner, manager, or agent employed or on the premises at the time of the occurrence.
- B. Hang-up calls. Calls received at the Northampton County Control Center that are the result of the caller disconnecting after mistakenly calling 911, calls placed from minors as the result of lack of parental supervision, or other means of erroneously calling 911 without the need for emergency response.
- C. Prank calls. Calls received at the Northampton County Central Center that are the direct result of the caller intentionally disclosing false information, calling 911 as a joke and hanging up, calls placed from minors as the result of lack of parental supervision, or other means of calling 911 without the need for emergency response.
- Written permission duly granted to an applicant by the Borough upon payment of the required fee.
- An individual, person, and/or entity who has secured a permit in accordance with this chapter.
- Including any natural person, partnership, joint stock company,
unincorporated association of society, or cooperation of any character
whatsoever.[Amended 9-2-2014 by Ord. No. 2014-647]
- The Police Department serving the Borough.
Every owner and operator of, and individual, person, and/or entity responsible for, an alarm system is required to see that a permit is obtained, and maintained for the alarm system, including existing systems.
Before installing any alarm system, a written application for a permit shall be filed with the Secretary of the Borough, on forms provided by the Borough, stating, at minimum, the following:
Name of the applicant;
Mailing and street address of the applicant;
Telephone number of the applicant;
Description of the property or properties where the proposed alarm system is to be installed. In the case of more than one building site in which an alarm system will be installed, the applicant must provide the Borough with information concerning how the alarm of each building shall be distinguishable from the other alarms in said buildings;
Location, road, name of the development (including the office or industrial complex, and the specific location within the office or industrial complex);
Name which is conspicuously displayed on the house, building, or mailbox of the premises;
Detailed description of the type or types of alarm system to be used, including name and model number, of the manufacturer;
Name of the person or company ("installer") who will install the alarm system at the location;
Name, address and telephone number of any person or company designated and who will be available to be contacted in the event of an activation of the alarm system;
Operating instructions, a circuit diagram, a maintenance manual, and written information as to how service may be obtained, including the telephone number of the installer or other person or entity responsible for service;
Copy of a permit for electrical work from the Borough; and
Such other information as shall be determined to be appropriate or necessary by the Borough or the police.
In the event that either the name, mailing address, or telephone number of the person to be contacted in the event of alarm system activation changes, then the applicant or permittee(s) shall supply corrected or updated information to the Borough and police within five days after the change. If requested by the Borough or its duly authorized representative, including but not limited to the police, the persons designated to be available in the event of alarm system activation shall be required to be present at the alarm system location within a reasonable length of time, but not in excess of two hours, after being advised that the police or other emergency service agencies have received any signal or message of an alarm system activation.
All alarm systems shall be equipped with a mechanism that will shut off the alarm system within a maximum period of 60 minutes.
The sensory mechanism used in conjunction with an alarm system must be adjusted to suppress false indications of fire or intrusion, so that the alarm system will not be actuated by impulses due to fleeting pressure changes in water pipes, short flashes of light, the rattling or vibrating of doors or 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 alarm system must be maintained by the owner, lessee, or permittee(s) in good repair to assure maximum reliability of operation.
Permits shall not be transferable from one permittee or individual and/or entity to another, or from one location to another, without the prior express written authorization from the Borough. In the event that the premises in which the alarm system has been installed is to be conveyed or transferred to another individual and/or entity, the permittee(s) shall be responsible to notify the Borough and police of the name, address, and telephone number of the replacement person designated to be contacted in case of activation of the alarm system, within five days of any such change.
Any individual, person, and/or entity who obtains title and/or possession of premises in which an alarm system has been installed, and for which a permit has been issued by the Borough, shall within five days notify the Borough of such change in title and/or possession, and shall make application for registration of the alarm system, specifying all information required by § 212-3A of this chapter and which is necessary for the police or other emergency service agencies to respond to the alarm system activation.
Every individual, person, and/or entity applying for a permit under the provisions of this chapter shall pay an application fee of $25. The permit shall be obtained prior to the installation of any new alarm system on the premises, or modifications to any existing alarm system.
Any individual, person, and/or entity who owns or obtains title or possession to premises in which an alarm system, has already been installed, shall pay a fee of $25 to register their name, address, telephone number, and the individual designated to be contacted in case of the provisions of this chapter (§ 212-3A).
All of the aforesaid fees shall be payable to the Borough.
The fees set forth above may be revised from time to time by resolution of the Borough Council of the Borough of Bath.
Any individual, person, and/or entity who fails to submit an application or register with the Borough prior to the installation of an alarm system on the premises shall pay to the Borough a civil penalty in the amount of $100, plus costs of prosecution including filing costs and reasonable attorney's and witness fees.
Any individual, person, and/or entity who owns or acquires title and/or possession to premises in which an alarm system has already been installed, and who fails to subsequently register with the Borough within five days, shall pay to the Borough a civil penalty in the amount of $100 plus costs of prosecution for the first offense. For the second and any subsequent offenses, the civil penalty shall be in the amount of $500, plus costs of prosecution.
Any individual, person, and/or entity, who owns or is responsible for an alarm system, after receiving notice from the Borough that emergency service agencies have responded to three false alarms (as defined in this chapter) during the term of any sixty-day period, shall pay a civil penalty of $300 for each and every false alarm thereafter, plus costs of prosecution.
Any individual, person, and/or entity who continues to operate an alarm system more than 10 days after the date of mailing of notice of suspension, pursuant to § 212-7A and B of this chapter, shall be subject to a civil penalty in the amount of $500, plus costs of prosecution. For each occasion on which a false alarm is activated after notice of suspension, and pending restoration of the suspended permit, the permittee shall pay a civil penalty in the amount of $500, plus costs of prosecution.
In any case under this chapter, "costs of prosecution" shall include all filing costs, reasonable attorney's and Borough Solicitor's fees, and witness expenses, including experts.
In addition to any civil penalties which may be imposed for violation of certain provisions of this chapter, the Borough may, pursuant to the provisions of this section, suspend the permit of any permittee for failure to correct any deficiencies in equipment or operation of the alarm system within 10 days after receipt of written notice of same from the Borough (permit suspension). Such permit suspension shall continue until the permittee shall have given satisfactory proof to the Borough that the alarm system has been properly repaired, and/or persons have been trained in the proper use of the alarm system, and that future false alarms will not be activated or will be kept to a very minimal frequency.
Any person, entity, or permittee(s) who receives notice of deficiencies in the equipment or operation of the alarm system, and of the Borough's intent to suspend the permit because of such deficiencies, may within 10 days appeal the suspension by requesting a hearing before the Borough Council. The request for an appeal shall be in writing and shall be set forth in detail the specific ground or grounds on which it is based. The Borough Council shall give written notice of the time and place of the hearing to be served on the permittee at least 10 days before the date set for the hearing. At the hearing, the permittee(s), or its representative, shall have the right to present evidence, or written and oral argument, or both, in support of the appeal. The permittee(s) shall be notified in writing of the Borough's decision as to the suspension of the permit within 10 days after the hearing, and such decision shall be final. Notification shall be complete and deemed to have been given upon deposit in the United States Mail, postage prepaid, addressed to permittee(s) at its last known address, of the written decision.
No permittee shall continue to operate the alarm system during the pendency of any appeal or decision thereupon.
A suspended permit shall be restored upon satisfactory proof to the Borough that either the alarm system has been properly repaired, and/or persons have been trained in the proper use and operation of the alarm system, and that no further false alarms will be activated.
[Amended 9-2-2014 by Ord. No. 2014-647]
It shall be unlawful for any person to misuse the 911 emergency telephone system as defined herein.
[Amended 9-2-2014 by Ord. No. 2014-647]
First offense. The responding officer shall issue the offender/caller a false alarm notice outlining the penalties regarding the subsequent misuse of the 911 system.
Second offense. If a second infraction is made within 60 days of the first offense, the responding officer shall file the false alarm and forward it to the appropriate authority (same procedure as for the false alarm reports) for the issuance of a citation. A fine in the amount of $25 and cost of prosecution shall be imposed.
Third offense. If a third infraction is made within 30 days of the second offense, the responding officer shall file the false alarm report and forward it to the appropriate authority for the issuance of a citation. A fine in the amount of $100 and the cost of prosecution shall be imposed.
Subsequent offense. If a fourth or subsequent infraction is received within 30 days of the third offense, the responding officer shall file the false alarm report and forward it to the appropriate authority for the issuance of a citation. A fine in the amount of $300 and costs of prosecution for each offense shall be imposed.
[Amended 9-2-2014 by Ord. No. 2014-647]
Notice of the violation shall be given to the person(s) residing on such premises. In the case of a business premises, the owner, manager, or agent employed or on the premises at the time of the occurrence of the deliberate misuse of the 911 system shall be presumed to be the person to whom notice shall be given.
This information furnished and secured to the Borough and police pursuant to this chapter shall be confidential in character and shall not be subject to public inspection, and shall be so kept in order that the contents thereof shall not be known except to Borough and police officials charged with the administration of this chapter, unless ordered otherwise by a court of competent jurisdiction.