[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Commissioners of the Township of Upper Pottsgrove as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Reimbursement for emergency services — See Ch. 168.
Article I False Alarms
Article II Registration of Alarm Systems; Lock Boxes
[Adopted 6-18-2007 by Ord. No. 407]
The following definitions shall apply in the interpretation and enforcement of this article.
- FALSE FIRE ALARM
- Any signal activated by an automatic protection device, any audible alarm or any other kind of direct or indirect signal given to which the fire company and/or department or emergency response agencies respond which is not the result of an attempted fire, or medical or other similar emergency, excluding weather extremes and utility interruptions which activate a protection device.
- FIRE COMPANY
- Includes the Upper Pottsgrove Township fire company, known as "Upper Pottsgrove Township Fire Company No. 1" and any other emergency rescue response agency situate within the Township of Upper Pottsgrove (i.e., ambulance, fire and rescue).
It shall be unlawful for the property owner, lessee or any person occupying or otherwise on any premises within the Township of Upper Pottsgrove to make or cause to be made a false fire alarm, directly or indirectly, to any fire company or other emergency response agency responding to alarms within the Township of Upper Pottsgrove, when the false fire alarm is caused by faulty detection of alarm equipment or by the negligence of said property owner, lessee or person.
The status of an alarm is to be determined by the Chief of the Upper Pottsgrove Township Fire Company or other affected emergency response agency. Any person who disagrees with such determination shall have a right to appeal that determination to the Upper Pottsgrove Fire Service Committee within 15 days. The decision of the Fire Committee shall be final.
Within 15 days of receipt by the Secretary of Upper Pottsgrove Township of a report of a false fire alarm by the Upper Pottsgrove Township Fire Company and/or the emergency response agency, the Township will forward a notice of the false fire alarm to the record title owner or lessee of the property where the false fire alarm where occurred and advise said property owner or lessee of the obligations of the owner or lessee to correct the alarm system and the possible penalties that could result from multiple false fire alarms as hereinafter set forth. A copy of this article shall constitute sufficient notice to a property owner or lessee that fines and penalties, as set forth hereinafter, will be imposed as well as be sufficient to inform the property owner or lessee of his, her or their responsibility to correct the alarm system.
Upon notification of a false fire alarm, a written report shall be made within 14 days by the owner or lessee to the affected emergency response agency and shall contain what steps have been taken to eliminate future false fire alarms.
Service fees for false fire alarms shall be assessed by the Township of Upper Pottsgrove as follows:
There shall be no service fee for the first two false fire alarms in any one calendar year. Thereafter, the service fees for the third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and subsequent false fire alarms shall be established by resolution of the Board of Commissioners from time to time.
Editor's Note: The current fees are on file in the Township offices.
The false fire alarm service fees shall be paid to the Township within 30 days of mailing of the notice of the false fire alarm service fee. Failure to pay the amount due within 30 days will result in a penalty of 10% and interest being collected at a rate of 6% per annum until collection. The Township shall, by resolution of the Board of Commissioners, from time to time, designate the fund which shall receive the fire service fees.
In the event that a violation of this article occurs, in addition to such other remedies as may be available under existing law, the Township of Upper Pottsgrove may institute an action in equity to prevent, restrain, correct, abate or enjoin such violation.
Any person, whether as principal or agent, who violates this article or assists or abets its violation shall, upon conviction thereof before any Magistrate, be sentenced to pay a fine of not less than $50 nor more than $600, together with the costs of prosecution, and in default of the payment of said fine and costs shall be committed to the Montgomery County Prison for a period not exceeding 30 days. Each violation shall constitute a separate offense, for which a summary conviction may be sought.
[Adopted 3-21-2016 by Ord. No. 484]
For the purposes of this article the following words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this section, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
- ALARM SYSTEM
- Any assembly or equipment — mechanical, electrical, or battery-operated — arranged to signal any emergency services dispatch of the occurrence of a fire emergency, police emergency, or hazard emergency requiring urgent attention.
- BUILDING OWNER
- The record owner of any improved real estate within Upper Pottsgrove Township.
- COMMERCIAL BUILDING
- A building, structure, or facility that is not a residential building.
- EMERGENCY SERVICES
- Any emergency medical unit dispatched to respond to a fire emergency, police emergency, or hazard emergency in Upper Pottsgrove Township, including but not limited to the Fire Department and Police Department.
- FALSE ALARM
- An alarm activated willfully, or by inadvertence, negligence, or unintentional act, and in the absence of the need for emergency services, to which emergency services in fact respond.
- FIRE DEPARTMENT
- The Upper Pottsgrove Township Fire Department, its successors, and its designated backup units.
- FIRE EMERGENCY
- Fire, smoke, or heat condition, or an activation of an automatic extinguishing system due to fire or heat condition indicating a fire.
- HAZARD EMERGENCY
- An explosion or leak of a toxic gas, liquid, or solid, or a potential explosion or leak of a toxic gas, liquid, or solid, or an electrical or other utility leak, short, or interruption of any nature that may cause a hazard to the public.
- A high-security key box system manufactured by the Knox Company of Irvine, California, designed to give emergency services access to locked buildings and other secured areas.
- LOCK BOX
- A Knox-Box® or other lock box of similar quality and design which meets or exceeds the specifications of the Knox-Box® 3200 series.
- POLICE DEPARTMENT
- The Upper Pottsgrove Township Police Department, its successors, and its designated backup units and/or departments.
- POLICE EMERGENCY
- Any activation of an alarm system, automatic, manual, or by any other means, that would generate a request for immediate police response.
- RESIDENTIAL BUILDING
- Detached one-family and two-family dwellings and multiple single-family dwellings which are not more than three stories in height with a separate means of egress, and includes accessory structures.
Building owners shall register with the Township all alarm systems located within the Township. All alarm systems subject hereto within the Township and active as of the effective date of this article shall be registered with the Township within 60 days thereof. All alarm systems subject hereto and installed or, if previously installed, activated after the effective date of this article shall be registered with the Township within 21 days of installation or activation, as applicable.
There shall be no fee for any registration occurring within the applicable time period. Late registrations shall require a fee as set from time to time by resolution of the Board of Supervisors of Upper Pottsgrove Township.
Registration shall require all of the following:
Name and street address of the owner, lessee, or occupant of any building containing an alarm system.
Name, address, and telephone number of an adult nonresident able to respond to the premises within 30 minutes in the event of an emergency and who has the authority and ability to enter the premises.
An acknowledgment by the registrant that, in the event of an alarm, emergency services may forcibly enter the premises if warranted, as determined by the officer in charge, and that there shall be no liability for damages or injuries resulting from the response to the alarm, forcible entry, and search of the premises.
Any location with an alarm system shall have its street number clearly posted so that the same will be visible at night from the street.
After the effective date of this article, building owners shall be required to install a lock box, the number and location of which shall be prescribed by the Township or its designee, when:
Any Commercial Building connected to an alarm system which experiences two false alarms within 12 consecutive months.
An alarm system is installed in any Commercial Building. A certificate of occupancy shall not be issued until said lock box is installed and placed into service.
Any Commercial Building undergoes a change in the use-occupancy.
Hazardous materials capable of producing a hazardous emergency are handled, used, or stored within any Commercial Building.
The building owner of any structure subject to this article is required at all times to keep a key in the lock box that will allow access to the structure. The lock box shall contain the following:
Keys to locked points of egress, whether in the interior or exterior of such buildings;
Keys to locked mechanical rooms;
Keys to locked elevator rooms and controls;
Keys to any fence or secured areas;
Keys to any other area that may be required by the Township or its designee after written notice;
A card containing the emergency contact persons and phone numbers for such building;
Keys to areas of the building where alarm system panels and fire-protection systems are located;
An inventory of the keys posted inside the lock box; and
If hazardous materials are handled, used, or stored within any building or structure on the subject property, the emergency services material safety data sheets (MSDS) or hazardous chemical inventory forms under the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986 (SARA Title III).
With respect to Commercial Buildings, in lieu of having the interior keys in an exterior lock box, a second interior lock box may be located within the main lobby of the building to hold the interior keys.
Any building owner subject to this article shall immediately notify the Township or its designee when any lock relevant hereto is changed or rekeyed and provide the Township or its designee a new key. The new key shall be secured in the lock box.
Any building owner subject to this article shall ensure that emergency services have completely unobstructed access to the lock box at all times.
The building owner subject to this article, or a designated agent, shall be present whenever emergency services access any lock box except when emergency services have responded to a fire emergency, police emergency, or hazard emergency at the building.
Emergency services shall maintain a written record of when any lock box is accessed and when any keys are removed or used for entry, including the name of the individual removing the key or keys, as well as the time and date of the access, and the reason for such removal of the key or keys.
The Township or its designee may establish uniform rules and regulations governing all buildings subject to this article with regard to the type, location, installation, use, maintenance, and replacement of any lock boxes within the Township.
Any building owner subject of this article that is found to be in violation of the requirements herein shall be subject to the fines mentioned in this section.
Any building owner subject to this article who shall violate any section herein shall, upon conviction in a summary proceeding, be punishable by a fine of not less than $50 or more than $1,000 together with the costs of prosecution or to imprisonment for a period of 90 days, or both. Each day or portion thereof that such violation continues, or is permitted to continue, shall constitute a separate offense. This article shall be enforced by action brought before a Magisterial District Court in the same manner provided for the enforcement of summary offenses under the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure.
Fines and costs imposed under the provisions of this article shall be payable to Upper Pottsgrove Township.
The rights and remedies of the Township as prescribed by the article or otherwise by law with respect to lock boxes, and the criminal sanctions herein provided, shall be cumulative, and the pursuit of one shall in no way preclude simultaneous or subsequent pursuit of another.