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(a) Purpose. The purpose of this section is to protect the public health and safety by encouraging proper installation and maintenance of automated burglar and fire alarm systems and by preventing excessive false alarm calls to the police and fire departments.
(b) Definitions. The following words, terms, and phrases shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, except where context clearly indicates a different meaning.
Alarm call means any automatically dialed message or signal, or any verbal, visual, or audio, or electronic message designed to alert public safety agencies to a potential emergency.
Alarm device means any type of alarm system designed to actuate equipment providing warning of intrusion, robbery, fire, smoke, flood, or other public safety peril.
False alarm means any alarm call which, upon a response by the police department and/or fire department, is discovered not to be based on an actual instance of intrusion, robbery, fire, smoke, flood, or other public safety peril. False alarms shall include all alarms and alarm calls caused by malfunctions or improper settings of alarm devices, but do not include alarm calls generated by a verified electrical power outage, alarms activated by verified adverse weather, and alarms generated during a test of an alarm device if the emergency communications center and the affected police or fire department is notified in advance.
(c) Alarm device registration. All persons who utilize an alarm device designed to summon the police and/or fire department to an apparent public safety emergency or problem shall maintain with the appropriate department an up-to-date registration of the owner or user's name, address, and telephone numbers, as well as the name and telephone numbers of at least two (2) other persons who are qualified and authorized to deactivate the alarm.
(d) Alarm device installation. No person shall, after the date this section becomes effective (February 5, 2002), install an alarm device designed to summon the town police or fire department to a premises without informing and obtaining the approval of the chief of that department. All such installations shall be made by a qualified installer licensed to conduct business in the town and shall be registered with the appropriate police and/or fire department. At the time of review and approval of that request, the police and/or fire department shall furnish the person initiating the installation with a copy of these regulations.
(e) Alarm device maintenance. The owner and the operator of any property on which an alarm device is installed each has responsibility to insure that such equipment is properly installed and is maintained in a manner which prevents unnecessary false alarms. Deactivation of alarm devices shall be the responsibility of the alarm owners and/or users.
(f) False alarm notices. Notices of all false alarms shall be sent to the person in whose name the alarm device is registered with the town, a copy shall be maintained by the department issuing the notice, and a copy shall be furnished to the department charged with enforcing this section. Such notices shall describe the circumstances under which false alarms are considered excessive and shall advise the registered owner or user of the potential penalties.
(g) Excessive alarms. False alarms shall be considered excessive if they result in more than the following number of false alarms from the same premises:
(1) More than two (2) false alarms in one (1) month;
(2) More than three (3) false alarms in a six-month period;
(3) More than five (5) false alarms in a twelve-month period.
(h) Penalties. Excessive false alarms shall constitute a public nuisance, punishable as a misdemeanor under G.S. ch. 14 and/or with civil penalties as follows:
(1) First excessive false alarm: $100.00 fine.
(2) Second excessive false alarm: $250.00 fine.
(3) Third and additional excessive false alarms: $500.00 fine.
If the owner or user of an alarm device fails to take action to repair a device which is chronically malfunctioning, the chief of the police department and/or fire department may request that the emergency communications center suspend the owner or user's privilege to send calls to the communications center until necessary maintenance is performed.
(i) Enforcement. This section shall be enforced by the police department for security/burglar alarms and by the fire department for fire/smoke/co alarms.
(Ord. No. 2002-4, 2-5-02; Ord. No. 2020-01, § I, 3-3-20)