[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Mendham 2-2-1987 by Ord. No. 3-87 (Ch. 58 of the 1974 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
The purpose of this chapter is to encourage proper use and maintenance of various types of intrusion, burglar, fire and other emergency alarm equipment which produce a visual or audible signal or function by direct line, radio or telephone or which, by any other means, require a response by the Department of Police, fire service or other municipal agencies.
The provisions of this chapter shall apply to any person who operates, maintains or owns any alarm device, dial alarm or local alarm designed to produce a visual or audible signal of an emergency and designed to summon or alert the police, fire service or other municipal agencies in response to any type of alarm signal.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ALARM SYSTEM
- Equipment or a device, or an assembly of equipment and devices, to signal the presence of an emergency or hazard requiring urgent attention and to which the Department of Police, fire service or other municipal agency may be expected to respond.
- FALSE ALARM
- Any alarm or signal of an alarm actuated by inadvertence, negligence or the intentional or unintentional act of a person other than an intruder, including alarms caused by mechanical failure, malfunction or improper installation of the alarm system and related equipment.
- Any natural person or individual or any firm, partnership, association, limited partnership, sole proprietorship, corporation or any other business entity.
- Any person who owns or controls the use of property in which an alarm system is installed.
- WRITTEN NOTICE
- Notice by certified mail, return receipt requested.
[Amended 8-19-1996 by Ord. No. 9-96]
Investigations. In case of a false alarm which summons the Police Department or fire service to respond, the Police Chief or Fire Chief, as appropriate, shall report such false alarm to the Fire Official, who shall cause an investigation to be made and shall keep a record of such false alarms on file. The proprietor shall be given a warning of the provisions of this section upon the first occurrence and shall, within three days after written notice to do so from the Chief of Police or the Fire Official, complete a written report setting forth the cause or causes of the false alarm, the corrective action taken, a statement as to whether the alarm system has been inspected by an alarm service company and such other information as the Chief of Police or Fire Official may reasonably require.
Upon the occurrence of a second or subsequent false alarm in any three-hundred-sixty-five-day period, a service fee shall be assessed against the proprietor for each subsequent false alarm, according to the schedule set forth in Chapter 102, Fees.
Service fees shall be payable to the Borough of Mendham within 30 days of service of written notice of the second or subsequent false alarms. The calculation of the number of false alarms shall be without regard to whether the false alarms involved intrusion alarms or fire alarms.
Penalties. In addition to the above service fees, the occurrence of a tenth false alarm in any three-hundred-sixty-five-day period shall be deemed a violation of this section, and the Police Chief or Fire Chief, as appropriate, shall cause a summons to issue in Municipal Court, for prosecution under § 62-8 of this chapter, with a recommended penalty of 40 hours' community service.
Disconnection. In the event of a third or subsequent false alarm, an investigation shall be conducted by the Chief of Police or Fire Official, as appropriate. Where the investigation discloses continued abusive or negligent operation of an alarm system and a disregard for the taking of remedial steps to avoid false alarms, the Police Chief or Fire Inspector may require the disconnection of the device for a limited or permanent period; provided, however, that the proprietor shall be given written notice of the intended disconnection and shall have an opportunity, within 14 days of said notice, to show cause before the Public Safety Committee of the Borough Council of the Borough of Mendham why such action should not be taken. The determination of the Committee in such matters shall be based upon the effect on the general public health, safety and welfare of the continued use of the alarm system in question. Failure to remit the required service fee or to comply with a Committee determination that disconnection is required shall subject the proprietor to the penalties set forth herein. Each and every day that the proprietor fails to comply shall constitute a separate offense.
Any person testing an alarm system covered by the provisions of this chapter shall notify the police dispatcher immediately prior to the testing and immediately after the testing is completed. Failure to do so shall constitute a violation of this chapter and subject such person to the penalties set forth herein.
Every proprietor shall, by the installation of an alarm system, be deemed to have consented to each of the following:
Inspection of the premises on which said alarm devices are located at reasonable hours by the Chief of Police or Fire Inspector or their designated representatives.
Forced entry to the premises by fire and/or police personnel, as may be necessary to respond to an alarm when the premises are vacant, unless the proprietor has previously provided the Fire Chief and the Police Chief with an acceptable alternative means of gaining access.
The Chief of Police and the Fire Inspector shall cooperate in all respects in connection with the administration of this chapter, and the forms, records and other documents used by the Chief of Police and the Fire Inspector shall be as similar as possible in order to provide for uniformity of administration.
In the event that any person subject to the provisions of this chapter is directed by the Chief of Police or the Fire Inspector to correct a defect in an alarm system and fails to comply with such directive, written notice of disconnection shall be given, and the procedures set forth in § 62-4D shall be followed.
Any alarm, other than fire alarm systems, sounding an audible signal shall have built into its mechanism a device that shall automatically shut off the audible signal within 30 minutes.
The Chief of Police, Fire Chief and Fire Inspector, jointly, may, from time to time, promulgate rules and regulations in furtherance of the administration of this chapter. Said rules and regulations shall become effective upon approval by resolution of the Borough Council.
[Amended 11-6-1995 by Ord. No. 26-95; 8-19-1996 by Ord. No. 9-96; 4-2-2007 by Ord. No. 3-07]
Any individual who intentionally, willfully or maliciously destroys or injures any of the posts, alarm boxes or other alarm apparatus owned by the Borough of Mendham or who intentionally, willfully or maliciously interferes with the operation of the same or any part thereof; or who hinders or impedes any of the operations intended to be accomplished thereby; or who intentionally causes or assists in causing a false alarm or an emergency to be given in any manner; or who fails to pay the service charges provided for and within the time period set forth in § 62-4B of this chapter shall be subject, upon conviction, to the penalties provided in § 1-15 of this Code. In default of any fine imposed hereunder, any person convicted of a violation of this section may, in the discretion of the Municipal Judge, be imprisoned in the county jail for a term not exceeding 90 days.
[Added 5-3-2004 by Ord. No. 9-04]
It is the purpose of this section to allow the Fire Department and its personnel to gain immediate and reliable access to structures within the Borough in order to ensure proper life-saving and other fire-fighting purposes, where access to such structures is unduly difficult because of secured external or internal openings or other hazards.
Every owner or lessee shall, by the installation of an alarm system, be deemed to have consented to installation of mandatory key boxes in all structures subject to this provision or set forth in Subsection C(1).
Key box entry; duties and responsibilities of owners and lessees.
All properties within the Borough of Mendham, whether privately or publicly owned, including but not limited to all commercial buildings and schools, shall be subject to this section. Any owner or lessee of a property having an automatic fire alarm or fire-suppression system and that has received a warning for a second false alarm shall, within 90 days' notice from the Fire Department of the Borough of Mendham, be required to install a rapid-entry key box system approved by the Fire Chief, with the exception of single-family residential dwellings, owner-occupied one- and two-family dwellings, and buildings or structures protected by on-site, twenty-four-hour, seven-days-a-week guard service, where the guard service has full access to all keys to all areas.
The Fire Department of the Borough of Mendham shall have jurisdiction to enforce any requirements of this section.
The Fire Chief or his designee shall be the enforcing officer.
The Fire Chief shall have the authority to designate the type of rapid-entry key box system to be implemented within the Borough of Mendham.
Owners and lessees of properties subject to this section shall obtain from the Fire Department of the Borough of Mendham application information and minimum specifications and shall be required to directly purchase from an approved vendor a rapid-entry key box system.
The key box shall contain the following labeled keys:
Keys to locked points of egress, whether in the interior or exterior of such buildings;
Keys to the locked mechanical rooms;
Keys to locked elevator rooms and elevator controls;
Keys to any fence or secured areas;
Keys to any other areas that may be required by the Fire Chief or his designee;
List of all responsible parties and phone numbers, including emergency numbers and contact persons for each occupancy;
List of location and type of automatic suppression systems located within structure;
Alphabetical list of all chemicals, room numbers, location and approximate quantity or strength;
Copy of any emergency response plan;
Floor plans of the rooms within the building or structure; and
Where required by law to maintain hazardous materials MSDS (material safety data sheets), keys to a locked MSDS book cabinet to be installed in an accessible area approved by the Fire Chief or his designee, and containing all updated information for first responders on any fire or hazardous materials incident.
Owners of properties subject to this section shall notify the Mendham Borough Fire Department within two days of any changes and make arrangements to update the key box contents.
Any person who violates any provision of this section shall be liable, upon conviction, to a penalty of not less than $100 nor more than $1,250 for each offense, imprisonment for not more than 90 days or a period of community service for not more than 90 days, or any combination thereof. Each day that the violation continues shall be deemed a separate offense.
Duties and responsibilities of Fire Chief to secure key.
The master key shall be maintained in a key box installed in an area designated by the Fire Chief.
The Fire Chief shall designate the manner in which fire personnel from the Fire Department of the Borough of Mendham may have access to the master key in the event of an alarm.
In the event the system fails to operate, a master key for access to the key box installed shall be maintained by the Chief of Police or his designee at Police Headquarters.
The Chief of Police and the Fire Chief or his designee shall cooperate in all respects in connection with the administration of this chapter, and the forms, records and other documents used by the Chief of Police and the Fire Chief or his designee shall be as similar as possible in order to provide for uniformity of administration.