City of Martin Ordinance for Alarm Systems
Section 099-03-1 Definitions.
As used in this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires:
Alarm system means a device or system of interconnected devices, including all hardware and related mechanical or electrical equipment, designed to give warning of activities indicative of felonious and criminal conduct requiring urgent attention and to which the police department is expected to respond, or of fire, smoke, heat or other hazardous conditions requiring urgent attention and to which the fire department is expected to respond, or of both, but does not include alarms installed in motor vehicles.
Alarm user mean the person, firm, partnership, association, corporation, company or organization of any kind in control of any building, structure or facility or portion thereof wherein an alarm system is maintained.
Annunciator means that part of an alarm system, other than an automatic dialer, which communicates the fact that the system has been triggered.
Audible annunciator means an annunciator which gives alarm by means of a bell, siren, buzzer or similar sound-producing device mounted at some location other than totally within the building where the activities or conditions are occurring which is clearly audible at a distance of fifty (50) feet or more outside of the building when activated.
Automatic dialer means a device, which is programmed to select a telephone number and deliver a warning message or signal over standard telephone lines using telephone voice communication equipment.
Chief means the chief of police of the City of Martin or any employee of the police department designated by the chief of police to exercise any power or duty conferred under this chapter.
False alarm means any activation of an alarm system because of which a communication is made to the city that an alarm has been triggered, except alarms resulting from one of the following causes:
- Criminal activity or unauthorized criminal entry if the communication has been made to the police department;
- The presence of excessive heat, smoke, or fire if the communication has been made to the fire department;
- Earthquake causing structural damage to the protected premises;
- Tornadic winds causing structural damage to the protected premises;
- Flooding of the protected premises due to overflow of natural drainage;
- A lightning bolt causing physical damage to the protected premises; or,
- A telephone line malfunction, if verified in writing by a telephone company supervisor.
If the alarm is clearly identified to the police and fire communications section before an officer is dispatched to the protected premises as resulting from a non-criminal cause or a non-hazardous condition, it shall not be considered as a false alarm. If an alarm results from a system test authorized in advance by the communications section, it shall not be considered as a false alarm. If an officer responding to an alarm checks the protected premises according to standard police department procedures and does not discover any evidence of unauthorized criminal entry or criminal activity, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that the alarm was a false alarm. If an officer responding to an alarm checks the premises according to standard fire department procedures and does not discover any evidence of the presence of excessive heat, smoke, or fire, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that the alarm was a false alarm. Entries in the police and fire department’s daily communications radio log and in the Tennessee Fire Incident Report shall be prima facie evidence of the facts stated therein with regard to alarms and responses.
Fire department means the City of Martin Fire Department.
Hearing officer means an employee of the City of Martin designated by the Chief to act as an impartial decision maker at hearing related to the enforcement of this chapter.
Officer means an employee of the fire department in the event of a fire alarm and an employee of the police department in the event of a criminal conduct alarm.
On-premises annunciator means an annunciator which is designed to give notice or warning only to a person or persons on the protected premises and which is neither an
Audible annunciator or remote annunciator as those terns are defined in this section. An on-premises annunciator may be a visual annunciator.
Permit Year means a twelve month period beginning with July 1 and ending June 30 of the following year.
Police department means the City of Martin police department.
Protected premises means all of a contiguous area, including buildings, protected by a single alarm system and under common ownership and use.
Remote annunciator means an annunciator not located at the protected premises.
Sensor means that part of an alarm system which is designed to detect the happenings of some event or existence of some condition indicative of criminal activity or unauthorized criminal entry or the presence of excessive heat, smoke, or fire.
Visual annunciator means an annunciator which gives an inaudible warning by means of a flashing light, strobe light, or other visible signal.
Section 099-03-2. Classification of alarm systems.
(a) A Class I alarm system is one which incorporates a remote annunciator or an automatic dialer.
(b) A Class II alarm system is one which incorporates an audible annunciator but which does not incorporate an automatic dialer or any other type of off-premises notification device.
(c) An on-premises annuniciator is not by itself classified as an alarm system under this chapter.
(d) The city will not monitor Class I or Class II alarm systems beginning January 1, 2000.
(e) A Class III alarm system is one which incorporates a remote annunciator at the police department. A Class III alarm system permit is available only if the specific use or business is required by federal law to have the system monitored by the police department.
Section 099-03-3. Audible annunciators.
(a) Each alarm system shall be so programmed that each audible annunciator will automatically be silenced within fifteen (15) minutes after being activated and so that it will not sound again unless a new act or circumstance triggers a sensor.
(b) No test of an audible annunciator shall be conducted between the hours of 8:00 p.m. of any day and 7:00 a.m. of the following day.
Section 099-03-4. Alarm systems requirements, generally.
(a) No alarm system shall be installed, used, or maintained in violation of any of the requirements of this Code, or in violation of any applicable statute, law, or administrative regulation of the United States of America, the State of Tennessee, or of any administrative rule-making bodies thereof.
(b) The alarm user shall be responsible for training and retraining all employees, family members, and other persons who may make regular use of the protected premises and who may, in the normal course of their activities, be in a position to accidentally trigger a sensor. Such training shall include procedures and practices to avoid accidental alarms and steps to follow in the event the system is accidentally triggered.
(c) The alarm user shall, at all times, be responsible for the proper maintenance and repair of the system and for the repair or replacement of any component, method of installment, design feature or like condition which may give rise to a false alarm. Failure to repair an alarm system which has produced a false alarm as a result of an equipment malfunction shall constitute grounds for revocation of the permit.
(d) All alarm systems shall have a back-up power supply that will become effective in the event of power failure or outage in the source of electricity from the utility company.
(e) The application for an alarm system permit shall list the name and phone number of at least two (2) responsible persons (in addition to the principal or a member of that household or business) having access to the protected premises who may be notified to assist in the event the alarm is activated. The principal shall immediately notify the police department of any changes in this information.
Section 099-03-5. Reports.
(a) Any person reporting to the police or fire department on any alarm from an alarm system shall give the following information:
- The principal or business name;
- The address of the protected premises, which shall be repeated a second time;
- The type of premises, e.g., retail store, and the name, if any, by which the premises are known, e.g., “XYZ Shopping Center”,
- The name and telephone number of some responsible person having access to the protected premise.
- The type of activity indicated, e.g., burglary in progress, fire, etc.; and,
- The specific location within the protected premises, if known
(b) Any alarm company is required to have and to provide all of the information listed in (a) when reporting an alarm.
Section 099-03-6. Permit required before activation of alarm system.
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to activate an alarm system without having first obtained an alarm system permit from the police department.
(b) Alarm system permits may be obtained by any person who leases, sells, offers to sell, installs, maintains, operates, or assists in the operation of an alarm system for protected premises. Persons who lease, sell, offer to sell, install, maintain, operate, or assist in the operation of an alarm system who do not obtain the alarm permit for the protected premises shall notify the owner(s) or user(s) of the protected premises in writing prior to any activation of the alarm system of this permit requirement and all other requirements of this chapter. Failure to provide such written notification shall constitute a separate violation of this ordinance. This notification requirement may be met by providing a copy of this ordinance to the owner or user of the protected premises. The burden of proving that such written notification was provided shall be on the installer of the alarm system.
(c) The testing of a Class I alarm system which does not result in any notification to the police or fire departments shall not constitute activation of the alarm system within the meaning of this section.
(d) If an alarm system permit is obtained in accordance with the provisions of this chapter before the system is activated, there shall be a ten (10) day “grace period” following activation of the newly installed system during which no alarm shall be classified hereunder as a “false alarm”.
Section 099-03-7. Permits required.
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to activate, operate, use or maintain any alarm system without a current valid permit for it. If city fire or police respond to an alarm from a system without a valid permit, the alarm user shall be subject to a fifty dollar ($50.00) fine.
(b) City fire or police may refuse to respond to an alarm from a system without a valid permit.
(c) In the event the fire or police investigate an alarm, the permit holder or an agent shall cooperate by promptly coming to the protected premises upon request. If a permit holder refuses to come to the protected premises upon request, the permit holder shall be subject to a fifty dollar ($50.00) fine. Refusal shall constitute grounds for suspension or revocation of a permit.
(d) If an alarm user has more than one (1) alarm system protecting a structure, a separate permit will be required for each alarm system.
(e) A separate permit is not required for each separate tenancy protected by single alarm system within a single building, structure, or facility, e.g., a sprinkler system serving multiple spaces. In such circumstances, the alarm system permit shall be obtained by the person in control of the building, structure, or facility. If such unified control is lacking, the alarm system permit shall be obtained, and the provisions of this ordinance complied with, by the person controlling the tenancy where the alarm system originates.
Section 099-03-8. Permit application
(a) Each application for an alarm system permit or a renewal permit shall be made on the City’s form, and shall contain the following information:
- The name, address and telephone number of the principal of the protected premises;
- The type of premises (home, office, furniture store, etc.) and any business name by which the premises is known;
- The address of the protected premises including, if it is a residential, commercial or industrial complex (office building, apartment house, shopping center, etc.), any name by which the complex is commonly known.
- The names and telephone numbers, including home phone; and if available, pager and mobile numbers, of at least three (3) responsible persons with access to the protected premises who can assist the fire or police in the event the alarm is activated; and,
- The name, address and telephone numbers of the selling and/or monitoring alarm company.
(b) The application shall be accompanied by the fee prescribed under section 099-03-8.
(c) Changes in emergency telephone numbers shall be kept current by the alarm permit holder and failure to provide updated information shall constitute grounds for revocation of the permit.
Section 099-03.-9. Issuance of permit and decal.
(a) Upon receipt by the police department of the permit application and fee, the police department shall issue to the applicant a permit bearing an identifying number, specifying the class of alarm system for which it is issued, and setting forth the expiration date of the permit. The city shall not, by the issuance of any alarm system permit, be obligated to respond, or to give any priority, to an alarm from such system.
(b) A decal with the alarm user’s permit number will be issued with the alarm permit. This decal must be permanently posted on or near the front entrance to the premises so that the decal permit number is visible from the outside of the structure.
Section 099-03-10. Permit fees.
(a) The fees for alarm system permits and renewals shall be as follows:
Class I $36.00 for three years
Class II $36.00 for three years
Class III $250.00 three years
(b) Alarm systems owned, maintained and monitored by any government agency to protect their premises and alarm systems protecting property of the City of Martin are exempt from the fee provisions of this chapter.
Section 099-03-11. Term of permit and renewal.
All permit classifications have a three year permit period. All permits issued in the first year of the period will be for $36, all second year permits $24 and all third year permits $12.. All permits will expire on June 30 2002 and will be due for renewal on July 1 2002. Each permit period will continue in three year intervals. An alarm system permit shall automatically terminate upon any change of ownership of the protected premises or class of alarm system. No permit may be transferred to another owner or to a different class of system. No refunds will be given on termination or suspension of any permit for any reason.
(a) If an alarm system permit holder wishes to change the location of the protected premises, a new application may be required but the existing permit will be transferred with an additional fee of $5.00.
(b) The renewal permit will not be issued until the fee is paid. A renewal notice and renewal permit application will be mailed to the alarm system permit holder at least thirty (30) days in advance of expiration. A late charge of five dollars ($5.00) per calendar day not to exceed fifty dollars ($50.00) will be assessed on all permit holders who do not pay the renewal fee prior to expiration of their existing permits.
Section 099-03-12. Inspection of alarm systems.
Prior to issuing an alarm system permit, and at any time thereafter during the term thereof, the city may inspect any alarm system for which a permit is required. Such inspection shall be for the purpose of ascertaining that information furnished by the applicant or permittee is correct, that the system is being used and maintained in conformance with the provisions of this chapter, and that the system does not require repair or upgrading to reduce the number, if any, of false alarms.
Section 099-03-13. Current information required.
Within ten (10) days following any change of circumstances which renders obsolete any of the information submitted pursuant to section 099-03, the alarm user shall file an amendment to the application setting forth the currently accurate information. No additional fee shall be required unless the change has terminated the permit as provided in section 099-03. Failure to comply with this section shall constitute grounds for revocation of the permit.
Section 099-03-14. False alarm.
(a) Whenever an alarm is activated in the city, thereby requiring a response to the location by the fire or police departments, and that department does respond, an officer on the scene of the activated alarm system shall inspect the area protected by the system and shall determine whether the response was in fact required as indicated by the alarm system or whether in some way the alarm system malfunctioned and thereby activated a false alarm.
(b) If the officer at the scene of the activated alarm system determines the alarms to be false, said officer shall report the false alarm to the department’s communications section. A notification of such determination will be mailed or delivered to the alarm user, at the address of the said alarm system installation location, advising the alarm user of the false alarm.
(c) If an alarm system user is notified that a false alarm was the result of an alarm system malfunction, the user must repair or replace the malfunctioning system or system component with ten (10) days of such notification. The alarm system user shall be required to submit written proof of such corrective measures after the second false fire alarm resulted from an equipment malfunction.
Section 099-03-15. Appeals.
(a) A hearing officer shall be appointed by the chief to hear appeals form alarm users on the issue of whether the alarm system in question activated a false alarm as determined by an officer at the scene of such activated alarm and on the issue of whether an alarm system permit should be revoked.
(b) Upon receipt of any false alarm report form the city or notice of revocation, the alarm user shall have ten (10) days, to make a written request for a hearing before the said hearing officer.
(c) At the hearing, which must be scheduled and concluded within fifteen (15) days from the date the request for same is received, the alarm user shall have the right to present evidence and testimony.
(d) The hearing officer shall make written findings available to the alarm user and the chief within ten (10) days from the date the hearing is concluded.
(e) A decision by the chief to uphold or to cancel the false alarm report which is the subject of the herein section or to revoke the alarm system permit must be made within ten (10) days from the receipt of the above findings.
(f) Until all of the steps set forth in this section099-13-15 have been completed, a false alarm which has been appealed will be considered to have been genuine and will not be considered the basis for a prima facie presumption that the involved alarm system is malfunctioning.
Section 099-03-16. False alarm fee assessment.
(a) It is hereby found and determined that all false alarms constitute a public nuisance. The permit holder will be billed a twenty-five ($25.00) dollar service charge per false alarm occurrence after the second such false fire alarm and third such criminal conduct alarm in any permit year. Each service charge incurred shall be billed and payment shall be made within thirty (30) days from the date of receipt thereof. Failure to make payments within thirty (30) days from date of receipt shall result in the user’s permit being revoked.
(b) Any permit revoked shall not be reinstated until all outstanding false alarm service charges are paid in full together with a fifty dollar ($50.00) reinstatement fee. There shall be no refund of any unused portion of a permit fee.
Section 099-03-17. Notices.
(a) Notice or billing the city to any permit holder, and receipt of any payment from a permit holder, shall be deemed to have been given or rendered on the date such notice or billing is deposited in the U.S. Mail, first class postage, prepaid, addressed to the permit holder at the address shown in the city’s permit records. A certificate signed by the person who mailed the notice shall be prima facie evidence of the facts stated therein with respect to such notice.
(b) Notice to the city or payment under this chapter shall be effective when received by the police department.