[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of the Township of Tredyffrin 1-27-1986 by Ord. No. HR-99 (Ch. VI, Art. 5, of the 1979 General Laws of the Municipality of Tredyffrin). Amendments noted where applicable.]
Building construction — See Ch. 80.
Fire prevention — See Ch. 111.
The following definitions shall apply in the interpretation and enforcement of this chapter:
- ALARM SUPPLIER
- The business by any individual, partnership, corporation or other entity of selling, leasing, maintaining, servicing, repairing, altering, replacing, moving or installing any alarm system or causing any alarm system to be sold, leased, maintained, serviced, repaired, altered, replaced, moved or installed in or on any building, structure or facility.
- ALARM SYSTEM
- Any assembly of equipment, mechanical, electrical or battery-operated, arranged to signal the occurrence of a police, fire, hazard or medical emergency requiring urgent attention and to which police or fire units are expected to respond.
- ANSWERING SERVICE
- A service whereby trained employees, in attendance at all times, receive prerecorded voice messages from automatic dialing devices reporting an emergency at a stated location, where such employees have the duty to relay immediately by live voice any such emergency message over a trunk line to the communications center of the Police or Fire Department.
- AUDIBLE ALARM
- Any device, bell, horn or siren which is attached to the interior or exterior of a building, structure or facility and emits a warning signal audible outside the building, structure or facility and is designed to attract attention when activated by a criminal act or other emergency requiring Police or Fire Department response.
- AUTOMATIC DIALING DEVICE
- A device which is interconnected to a telephone line and is programmed to transmit a signal by a voice or coded message that indicates that an emergency condition exists and the need for an emergency response is required.
- CENTRAL STATION
- A protective system or group of such systems operated privately for customers by a person, firm or corporation which accepts recorded messages from automatic dialing devices at a central station having operators and guards in attendance at all times who have the duty to take appropriate action upon receipt of a signal or message, including the relaying of messages to the communications center of the Police Department or Fire Department.
- COMMERCIAL PROPERTY
- Any structure intended to be used wholly or in part for the purposes
of carrying on a trade, business, or profession; any structure intended to
be used wholly or in part for educational, religious, charitable, or public
uses; and/or any structure that is used as an apartment building with three
or more apartments included.[Added 12-3-2007 by Ord. No. HR-365]
- An individual appointed by and accountable directly and solely to the Superintendent of Police.
- A police, fire, hazard or medical emergency.
- A. An alarm activated in the absence of an emergency, whether willfully or by inadvertence, negligence or unintentional act, including the malfunction of the alarm system, to which the Tredyffrin Township Police Department or Fire Department responds. The definition excludes alarms caused by malfunctions of the Chester County DES receiving equipment if such alarm is directly connected to the alarm board; testing or repairing of telephone or electrical lines or equipment outside the premises; acts of God, such as earthquake, flood, windstorm, thunder or lightening; an attempted illegal entry of which there is visible evidence; a crime in progress; or, in case of an emergency medical alarm, an actual medical emergency requiring police, fire and/or medical personnel. If doubt exists as to the cause of the false alarm, the Superintendent of Police or his designee shall make a decision regarding the circumstances of the activation.
- B. Multiple alarms received by the Police Department or Fire Department before the system can be deactivated within a reasonable period of time shall be considered a single alarm.
- C. The definition of a false alarm also includes the intentional activation of a holdup alarm for other than a holdup in progress, the intentional activation of a burglary alarm for other than a burglary, the intentional activation of a medical alarm for other than medical emergency or the intentional activation of a fire alarm for other than a fire hazard.
- FIRE DEPARTMENT
- The Berwyn Fire Company, Paoli Fire Company or Radnor Fire Company.
- FIRE EMERGENCY
- A fire.
- HAZARD EMERGENCY
- An explosion, leak of toxic gas, liquid or solid, or a potential explosion or leak.
- A central station protective system or an answering service, as herein defined.
- To use a telephone line and equipment for transmitting a message, either directly or indirectly, by an automatic dialing device.
- MEDICAL EMERGENCY
- An emergency involving the health of a person.
- Written permission duly granted to an applicant by the township upon payment of the required fee.
- POLICE AND FIRE COMMUNICATIONS CENTER
- The police and fire communications rooms and other rooms which house communications equipment and the police radio dispatcher.
- POLICE DEPARTMENT
- The Police Department of the Township of Tredyffrin.
- POLICE EMERGENCY
- An incident requiring prompt response by the Police Department.
- RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY
- Any structure intended for use primarily as a single-family residence
or apartment building with two or fewer apartments included.[Added 12-3-2007 by Ord. No. HR-365]
- SUPERINTENDENT OF POLICE
- The administrative head of the Tredyffrin Township Police Department.
- The Township of Tredyffrin, Chester County, Pennsylvania.
- TRUNK LINE
- A telephone line leading into the communications centers of the Police and Fire Departments that is for the purpose of handling calls on a person-to-person basis and which is identified by a specific listing among the white pages in the telephone directory issued by the telephone company.
On and after the effective date of this chapter, owners or users of audible alarms must equip such audible alarms with a timing mechanism that will disengage the audible alarm after a maximum of 15 minutes. Audible alarms without such a timing mechanism shall be unlawful in the township and must be disconnected by the owner or user within 60 days from the effective date of this chapter.
On and after the effective date of this chapter, all automatic dialing devices that transmit recorded messages directly to the Police Department or Fire Department shall be keyed to the Chester County Department of Emergency Services Radio Room.
Within 90 days from the effective date of this chapter, every alarm supplier who has installed an alarm system in the township with the Police Department or Fire Department shall furnish to Chester County DES and the Superintendent of Police the following information:
The name, residence and telephone number of the owner or user.
The address where the device is installed and the telephone number at that address.
The name, address and telephone number of any other person or firm who is authorized to respond to an emergency and gain access to the address where the device is installed.
The name and telephone number of any person, firm or corporation, if any, other than the alarm supplier, who is responsible for maintenance and repair of the system.
The type of system, i.e., holdup, burglary, fire or medical emergency.
Users of alarm system devices whose devices were installed prior to the effective date of this chapter shall, within 60 days after such enactment, supply the Superintendent of Police with the information specified in Subsection A.
All information furnished pursuant to this section shall be kept confidential and shall be for the authorized use of the Police Department only.
On and after the effective date of this chapter, no one except an alarm supplier holding a valid license from the township shall sell, install or service any alarm system within the township.
The coordinator shall issue an alarm supplier's license to an alarm supplier meeting the requirements of this § 68-5 upon the filing of the required application and payment of a fee as set from time to time by resolution of the Board of Supervisors. Each license shall bear the signature of the coordinator and be for a one-calendar-year period. A copy of the license shall be physically upon each of the premises using the alarm system and shall be available for inspection solely by the Superintendent of Police or by the coordinator.
Each alarm supplier that installs one or more alarm systems in the township shall make service available directly or through an agent on a twenty-four-hour-per-day basis, seven days a week, to repair such devices and to correct malfunctions as they occur. Any person using an alarm system shall make arrangements for service to be available for such device on a twenty-four-hour-per-day, seven-day-per-week basis.
No corporation, sole proprietor, partner, joint venturer, trustee, executor, administrator, employee, fiduciary or stockholder with a five-percent or greater interest in a corporation (except a corporation whose stock is publicly traded and registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission or with a State Securities Commission) applying for a license shall have been convicted of a felony or pleaded Nolo Contendere to a felony charge or indictment.
The applicant shall furnish an insurance certificate annually confirming that the applicant has in force general liability insurance coverage in an amount of not less than $3,000,000 for each occurrence. An applicant who self insures such coverage shall furnish evidence of financial ability.
The licensee shall pay an annual license fee as set from time to time by resolution of the Board of Supervisors.
The licensee fails to meet the requirements necessary to obtain a license;
The license fee is not paid;
The Superintendent of Police has reason to believe the licensee's installations are the cause of false alarms; or
Licensee fails to provide emergency service as required by this chapter.
The user's fee for an alarm system permit shall be as set from time to time by resolution of the Board of Supervisors, and said permit shall be obtained by or on behalf of the owner of the premises upon which the alarm system is installed from the Police Department prior to the installation of the alarm system.
The permit shall bear the signature of the Superintendent of Police or the coordinator and be valid for the period that the owner owns the premises upon which the alarm system is installed or until revoked by the Superintendent of Police or the coordinator. The permit shall be physically present upon the premises using the alarm system and shall be available for inspection by the Superintendent of Police or the coordinator.
The permit shall contain the address of the property, the name of the business (if applicable), the name of the owner, tenant or agent responsible for the property, the alarm supplier or other entity responsible for maintaining the system (if applicable), the type of alarm (burglary, holdup, medical), how the alarm signal will be received by the communications center (tape, central station, etc.), at least two alternate emergency numbers of persons to be contacted to secure the property and any additional information as may be determined to be necessary. It shall be the owner's responsibility to amend the foregoing information whenever the information changes.
Exception. An alarm user who is over the age of 65 and is the primary occupant of a residence, and if no business is conducted at the residence, may obtain a user's permit from the township without paying the above-stated fee.
Users who fail to obtain a permit within 60 days after the alarm system is activated or within 60 days after the effective date of this chapter, if later, shall be liable to pay a late charge penalty, as set from time to time by resolution of the Board of Supervisors, for each calendar year that the permit is not obtained.
All locations in the Township of Tredyffrin equipped with alarm systems, except as stated in this chapter, must secure and possess a valid permit for the same.
A battery-powered (9-volt, 11.2-volt or similar voltage) audible alarm system or an electrically energized audible alarm system whose sole purpose is to notify the occupants of that location of an emergency situation shall be exempt from the permit requirements of this chapter if all of the following conditions exist:
The alarm is not connected to any mechanical or electrical device that automatically notifies a person or agency outside that location that the alarm system is activated.
The audible alarm does not sound outside the location (no external speakers).
The internal signal emitted by the audible alarm does not exceed 90 decibels.
The internal alarm does not cause undue annoyance or alarm to occupants of adjoining premises.
Alarm users who are not required to pay a fee or who are exempt from obtaining an alarm user's permit as above shall, nevertheless, be subject to the penalty provisions prescribed in this chapter.
After the effective date of this chapter, no one except an alarm supplier holding a valid license from the township shall install any alarm system within the confines of the township.
Each alarm supplier who, after the effective date of this chapter, sells or leases in the township an alarm system shall furnish operating instructions and manual to the buyer or lessee.
The public safety requires that the incidence of false alarms and malfunctioning automatic dialing devices be kept to a minimum so as to reduce unnecessary calls to the Police and Fire Departments and to increase the effectiveness of properly functioning alarm systems. In order to enforce this and to reduce the incidence of false alarms and malfunctioning alarm systems, it is necessary that appropriate township officials have the right to inspect the installation and operation of any alarm system installed in the township.
Application for a permit for the installation of an alarm system and subsequent installation of such a system pursuant to a permit issued or the continuance of the use of any alarm system already installed at the effective date of this chapter shall constitute consent by the owner or lessee thereof and authorization for the inspection of any such installation and/or operation by the Superintendent of Police or coordinator.
All such entries upon the premises where an alarm system is installed and all such inspection of the installation and operation of alarm systems shall be at reasonable times and upon reasonable notice, except in emergency situations.
Every alarm supplier selling, leasing or furnishing to any user, or a user who privately installs an alarm system which is located on premises within the township, shall:
Be permitted to install only equipment that is listed by Underwriters' Laboratories, Inc., as being electrically safe and meeting the township requirements for the alarm system. Wiring for the alarm system must conform with all applicable township codes.
Be required to cause each alarm system installed to be provided with standby battery power which shall automatically and immediately take over in the event of a power failure.
Be required to install equipment in such a way as to neutralize electric surges on the alarm system.
Be required to deactivate any alarm system within a reasonable period of time when multiple false alarms are received.
No person shall conduct any test or demonstration of any alarm system or other alarm system without first notifying the shift supervisor of the Tredyffrin Township Police or fire radio network, as applicable.
Alarm suppliers and installers shall furnish at their own expense, at or prior to the time of contracting, a copy of this chapter to owners, lessees or users of the equipment or services to be supplied.
[Amended 12-3-2007 by Ord. No. HR-365]
Consent to pay costs; schedule of costs.
For the purposes of defraying the costs to the Police and Fire Departments of responding to false alarms and avoiding danger to citizens and personnel of the Police and Fire Departments caused by responding to false alarms, the owner, lessee or user of any alarm system, persons using the services of an intermediary, users of audible alarms and users of any other kind of alarm systems or any other kind of direct or indirect connection with the police or fire communications center (collectively, the “alarm user”), except persons using the two-way live voice communication by telephone, shall, as a condition to installation and continued operation of such equipment or service, execute a consent in such form as may be prescribed by Tredyffrin Township (the “Township”) that such alarm user shall pay the Township for all false alarms upon the following schedule for each false alarm originating from the alarm user's premises: for each false alarm, a warning or fine as set from time to time by resolution of the Board of Supervisors.
Failure to comply. Any such alarm user who fails to execute the consent described in Subsection A(1) within 90 days from the effective date of this chapter shall, within the ninety-day period, disconnect the alarm system.
Any alarm user may revoke or refuse to consent as set forth in Subsection A(1) above only by disconnecting the alarm system. With respect to such systems installed at the effective date of this chapter, the alarm user can refuse or revoke the aforesaid consent by disconnecting such alarm system within 90 days from the effective date of this chapter.
Penalties provided for false alarms that are relayed or transmitted by an intermediary shall be the responsibility of the alarm user.
Any police officer or fire fighter responding to an alarm which is determined to be false shall promptly notify the Superintendent of Police or a designee (the “Superintendent”) of such false alarm in writing. Within 10 business days of such notification, the Superintendent shall have written notification of the false alarm deposited at the location to whose name the alarm is registered or delivered via first-class mail, postage prepaid, to the alarm user.
By submitting an application for a permit for the installation of an emergency medical alarm system and the subsequent installation of such a system or by the continuation of the use of an alarm system already installed at the effective date of this chapter, the alarm user thereof shall agree that such permit application constitutes a waiver by such person of the right to bring or file any action, claim or complaint whatsoever against any police officer or firefighter who makes a forced entry in response to such an alarm into the premises on which such an alarm is installed as a result of entry into the subject premises. In the event that the owner of such premises is a person other than the permit applicant, as in the instance of a lessee or other user not the owner of the premises on which the alarm is installed, such permit application shall constitute an indemnification agreement by the applicant to hold harmless any such police officer or fire fighter, the Township, the Police Department and the Fire Department, as appropriate, from any and all damages whatsoever claimed by the lessor or owner of the premises on which the alarm is installed.
Any alarm user which has four or more false alarms within a calendar year shall be subject to permit revocation, subject to the following:
The Superintendent shall notify the alarm user of the permit revocation and direct that the user submit a report to the Superintendent within 15 days of receipt of the notice describing actions taken or to be taken to discover and eliminate the cause of the false alarms.
If the alarm user submits a report as directed, the Superintendent shall determine if the action taken or to be taken will substantially reduce the likelihood of false alarms. If the Superintendent determines that the action will substantially reduce the likelihood of false alarms, the Superintendent shall notify the alarm user in writing that his permit will not be revoked at this time, but that if one more false alarm occurs within the permit year, the user's permit may be revoked without further proceedings and without any further notice.
If no report is submitted or if the Superintendent determines that the action taken or to be taken will not substantially reduce the likelihood of false alarms, the Superintendent shall give notice by first-class mail, postage prepaid, to the alarm user that the permit will be revoked without further notice if the user does not file within 10 days a written request for a hearing.
If a hearing is requested, written notice of the time and place of the hearing shall be served on the alarm user by the Superintendent by first-class mail, postage prepaid, at least 10 days prior to the date set for the hearing, which date shall not be more than 30 nor less than 15 days after the filing of the request for hearing.
The hearing shall be before a hearing officer designated by the Superintendent. The Township’s solicitor or other Township designee will present evidence regarding the false alarms. The alarm user shall have the right to counsel, the right to present written or oral evidence, and the right of cross-examination. The rules of evidence shall not apply to such a hearing. The burden of proof shall be a preponderance of the evidence and the burden of proof shall be on the alarm user. If the hearing officer determines that four or more false alarms have occurred and that the user has not taken action which substantially reduces the likelihood of false alarms, he shall issue written findings to that effect and an order revoking the alarm user's permit. If the alarm user’s permit is revoked, such alarm user shall be liable to the Township for all costs and attorney’s fees associated with the hearing.
The Superintendent shall notify the alarm user via hand delivery or first-class mail, postage prepaid, within 30 days of an order revoking the user’s permit. An alarm user shall immediately discontinue use of his alarm system upon being notified of the revocation of his permit.
No earlier than 90 days after revocation of an alarm user’s permit, such alarm user may apply for a probationary user's permit. The Superintendent shall not be required to issue a probationary user's permit unless he is satisfied that the user's system has been properly serviced and its deficiencies corrected. The Superintendent may impose reasonable restrictions and conditions upon the user before issuing a probationary user's permit, which restrictions and conditions shall be written on the permit. A probationary user's permit shall be issued for a one-year period. If the alarm user does not have four or more new false alarms during that period, the alarm user may apply for a permanent permit under the provisions of § 68-4.
Any alarm user which has four or more false alarms within a calendar year is required to attend a Township-sponsored false alarm awareness program. The Superintendent shall administer this program. Such an alarm user must complete this program within 30 days of the fourth false alarm. Completion of this program shall be a prerequisite to the issuance of a probationary or permanent permit for the alarm user. Participants in the program on behalf of the alarm user shall include the property owner (or highest-ranking corporate executive or officer if the alarm user is a corporation or business entity); the person who activated the false alarm; and the building manager for any commercial property. The scope of the program shall be at the discretion of the Superintendent.
[Amended 10-19-1998 by Ord. No. HR-278; 10-2-2000 by Ord. No. HR-290]
Any person who violates or permits a violation of this chapter shall be guilty of a summary violation and, upon conviction, shall be sentenced to pay a fine of not more than $1,000, plus all court costs, including reasonable attorney's fees, incurred by the township in the enforcement of this chapter. Each day a violation exists shall constitute a separate offense. In default of the payment of any fine, the defendant shall be sentenced to imprisonment to the extent allowed by law for the punishment of summary offenses. Further, the appropriate officers or agents of the township are hereby authorized to seek any other available relief at law or equity, including injunction, to enforce compliance with this chapter.