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Chapter 9.44
ALARM SYSTEMS*

Sections:

9.44.010    Definitions – Grammatical interpretation.

9.44.020    Registration of alarm agents.

9.44.030    Alarm permits.

9.44.040    Direct dial telephone devices.

9.44.050    Prohibitions.

9.44.060    Inspection of alarm system.

9.44.070    Automatic shut-off requirement.

9.44.080    Delay device requirement.

9.44.090    Power supply.

9.44.100    Testing alarm.

9.44.110    Responsibilities of users of alarm systems.

9.44.120    Duties of alarm business when dispatching emergency personnel.

9.44.130    Finding of a false alarm.

9.44.140    False alarm – Penalties.

9.44.150    Fees.

9.44.160    Suspension of privilege to use alarm system.

9.44.170    Appeals.

9.44.180    Limitation on liability.

9.44.190    Criminal penalties.

 

*    Prior legislation: County Code §§ 310.101 – 310.115, 310.118; Ords. 26, 29, 295 and 334.

   

9.44.010 Definitions – Grammatical interpretation.

A. For the purpose of this chapter, whenever the singular or masculine is used, the same shall be deemed to include the plural, feminine or body corporate as necessary.

B. For the purposes of this chapter, the following words and phrases shall be construed as applying within the City as further set forth in this section unless it is apparent from the context that a different meaning is intended:

1. “Alarm agent” means any person in possession of a State-approved alarm company agent identification card containing said agent’s photograph and physical description and employed by maintaining, moving, repairing, replacing, servicing, responding to or causing others to respond to an alarm system in or on any building, structure or facility. This definition shall not apply to local safety officers as defined in Government Code Section 20019.4.

2. “Alarm business” means any individual, partnership, corporation, or other entity which leases, maintains, services, repairs, or causes to be leased, maintained, serviced, repaired, altered, replaced, moved or installed, any alarm system in or on any building, structure or facility, which is licensed by the California Department of Consumer Affairs.

3. “Alarm system” means any mechanical or electrical device which is designed or used for either the detection of fire, medical emergency or intrusion into a building, structure or facility or any of the above, which detection causes a local audible alarm or transmission of a signal or message, or which is used to evoke Sheriff or Fire Department response.

Alarm systems include, but are not limited to, direct-dial telephone devices. Devices which are not designed or used to evoke Sheriff or Fire response and devices which are designed so as not to be audible, visible or perceptible outside of the protected building, structure or facility are not included within this definition.

Also not included in this definition are auxiliary devices installed by a telephone company to protect its system from damage or disruption by use of an alarm system or alarm systems affixed to vehicles. Any alarm system shall be so constructed as to be immune to environmental variations and interference including, but not limited to heat, cold, moisture, electromagnetic and power fluctuations.

4. “Alarm user” means any owner, renter or lessee of a building, whether or not inhabited or occupied, in which an alarm system is installed for the detection of unlawful intrusion or fire in the City.

Any person who rents/leases any property with an alarm system shall be deemed responsible for the use or misuse of the alarm system.

Any person who owns property with an alarm system which is unoccupied shall be deemed responsible for the use or misuse of the alarm system.

5. “Appellant” means a person who submits an appeal pursuant to PMC 9.44.170.

6. “Audible alarm” means a device designed to emit a noise to alert nearby persons of fire or intrusion into a building, structure or facility.

7. “Day” means a calendar day.

8. “False alarm” means the activation of an alarm system responded to by any public agency through mechanical failure or malfunction, or accidental tripping, misoperation or misuse by the lessee or owner of the alarm system or his employee or agent. Mechanical failure or malfunction caused by negligent maintenance of the system is also included in this definition. Upon failure of the Sheriff or Fire Department to find any evidence of intrusion, fire or other need or cause for activating an alarm system, a conclusive presumption of false alarm will be made. False alarm does not include alarms caused by malfunction of telephone line circuits, or external causes beyond the control of the owner or lessee of the alarm system.

9. “Person” means a person, firm, corporation, association, partnership, individual, organization or company.

10. “Smoke detector” means a device which senses visible or invisible particles of combustion and is designed to emit upon activation a sound sufficient only to provide warning to the occupants of the building, structure or facility in which such device is situated. (Ord. 430 § 1, 1994)

 

9.44.020 Registration of alarm agents.

No person shall be employed or operate as an alarm agent in the City without having first obtained an alarm company agent identification card from the State of California, Department of Consumer Affairs which shall have affixed thereto a photograph of the agent, having been taken within 30 days of the issuance of the stated card. The card shall also contain such statistical information in regards to the agent as would currently be required upon a motor vehicle driver’s license issued by the State of California. (Ord. 430 § 1, 1994)

 

9.44.030 Alarm permits.

No person shall install, maintain, lease service, repair, alter, replace, move or use any security or emergency alarm system without first obtaining a City alarm permit. The alarm permit application shall include the alarm location, type of alarm system (silent or audible activation), type of response requested (robbery, burglary, fire or medical emergency), name of business (if applicable), name, home address, phone number of alarm location and additional names, addresses and phone numbers of responsible persons for emergency notification. The alarm permit shall be required for each building, structure or facility that uses an alarm system that could evoke an emergency response. A new permit shall be required upon installation, sale or transfer of ownership of alarm location. Alarm permits shall be required for existing systems within six months from date of the adoption of the ordinance codified in this chapter. An alarm permit shall be valid for an indefinite period unless there is a change in alarm user or address location of the alarm system. (Ord. 430 § 1, 1994)

 

9.44.040 Direct dial telephone devices.

No person shall lease, maintain, service, repair, alter, replace, move, install, or use any alarm system which directly dials any telephone number of the Department of Safety Services Offices, including the City Fire Department or Sheriff’s Department. (Ord. 430 § 1, 1994)

 

9.44.050 Prohibitions.

A. It is unlawful to install or modify an alarm system which upon activation emits a sound similar to sirens used on emergency vehicles or for civil defense purposes.

B. It is unlawful to transmit an alarm indicating that an emergency exists without being specific as to the type of emergency, such as robbery, burglary, fire or medical. (Ord. 430 § 1, 1994)

 

9.44.060 Inspection of alarm system.

Fire alarm systems shall be listed by the Office of the State Fire Marshal. The City reserves the right to inspect any systems installed within the City. (Ord. 430 § 1, 1994)

 

9.44.070 Automatic shut-off requirement.

All alarm systems shall include a device which will limit the generation of the audible sound of the system to no longer than 15 minutes after activation, and the Sheriff or his representative or responding Fire Department Supervisor shall have the right to take such steps as may be reasonable and necessary to disconnect or otherwise render inoperable any activated alarm which fails to reset. (Ord. 430 § 1, 1994)

 

9.44.080 Delay device requirement.

All burglary detection alarm systems, excluding such alarm systems that are for an immediate distress or “panic” situation, shall include a device which will provide a 30-second delay before the original alarm transmission or activation of an external bell or other sound device, and immediately upon being activated shall emit a signal in such a manner as to be perceptible to a person lawfully entering, leaving or occupying the premises. Such a device is intended to provide an opportunity for the person having lawful control of the alarm system to terminate its operation after activation but prior to the transmission of a false alarm. (Ord. 430 § 1, 1994)

 

9.44.090 Power supply.

An alarm system shall be supplied with an uninterruptible power supply in such a manner that the failure or interruption of the normal utility electric service will not activate the alarm system. The backup power supply must be capable of at least 12 hours of continuous operation without generating a false alarm. (Ord. 430 § 1, 1994)

 

9.44.100 Testing alarm.

A. Any user of an alarm system shall notify the user’s central receiving station or answering service prior to any service, test, repair, maintenance, adjustment, alteration or installation of the alarm system which might activate a false alarm and result in a Sheriff or Fire Department response. When testing an alarm results in a response by Sheriff or Fire Department, a conclusive presumption of false alarm will be made.

B. After any false alarm caused by any malfunction of an alarm system, the owner or lessee shall cause the alarm system to be repaired so as to eliminate such malfunction before reactivating the alarm system. (Ord. 430 § 1, 1994)

 

9.44.110 Responsibilities of users of alarm systems.

The user of an alarm system or systems shall provide the Director of Development Services with a current mailing address and the names, addresses and phone numbers of at least two persons to call in the event of an emergency. In the event the users mailing address or the names, addresses and phone numbers of such persons change, the user shall supply the changes to the Director of Development Services within five days of the change. The user of any alarm system shall securely lock all doors and windows of an alarmed building prior to activation of a security alarm. All locking devices shall be maintained in good condition. (Ord. 518, 1999; Ord. 457 § 2(A), 1996; Ord. 430 § 1, 1994)

 

9.44.120 Duties of alarm business when dispatching emergency personnel.

Any alarm activation important enough to dispatch emergency personnel shall also be responded to by the user or a party who has responsibility for the alarmed premises or a person sent by the alarm company. The alarm company shall notify the user or his/her designated responder. (Ord. 430 § 1, 1994)

 

9.44.130 Finding of a false alarm.

Upon failure of the responding officer of the Sheriff’s or Fire Department to find any evidence of criminal activity or fire, a presumption of false alarm will be made. If the alarm user disputes this finding he/she shall appeal it to the Director of Development Services or his/her authorized representative within 10 days. If the alarm user still disputes the decision of the Director of Development Services or his/her authorized representative, he/she will be directed to file an appeal per PMC 9.44.170. (Ord. 518, 1999; Ord. 457 § 2(A), 1996; Ord. 430 § 1, 1994)

 

9.44.140 False alarm – Penalties.

Any person who uses an alarm system for the protection of his/her real or personal property or person which has caused any signal, message or alarm to be transmitted to the Fire Department or Sheriff, either by direct communication from an alarm agent or an alarm business, or by a person responding to an audible alarm, and which is determined to be false, shall pay a false alarm penalty to the City as follows:

A. The first two false alarms in any 12-month period shall be considered accidental. This is so the alarm user can determine and/or repair the cause of such alarm and no penalty fee charged. Subsequent false alarms within any 12-month period shall be subject to a penalty. At the time of a false alarm, the user of the alarm system shall be notified that any further false alarms may result in penalty assessments, by a card that is left on the door of the residence or business. This card will have the penalty assessment fee schedule printed on it.

B. The user of the alarm system shall be assessed the penalty fees for any false alarms above the initial two false alarms in any 12-month period as shall be established by resolution of the City Council. The penalty fees shall be paid to the City Treasurer or his/her designee for deposit in the general fund. (Ord. 457 § 2(A), 1996; Ord. 430 § 1, 1994)

 

9.44.150 Fees.

Fees prescribed in this chapter shall be in addition to any other lawful fees imposed by the City for doing business with or in the City. (Ord. 430 § 1, 1994)

 

9.44.160 Suspension of privilege to use alarm system.

A. If at any time it comes to the attention of the Director of Development Services that the user of an alarm system has violated any provisions of this chapter, rules or regulations made pursuant to this chapter, including, but not limited to, failure to pay false alarm penalties, the Director of Development Services may serve such user with a written order of suspension, which shall state the reason(s) for such suspension. The order shall be effective immediately if personally served, or 72 hours after the same has been deposited by certified mail in any branch of the United States Post Office addressed to the user of such alarm system at his/her address as set forth on the current tax assessor’s roll.

B. Immediately upon such an order becoming effective, such user shall immediately discontinue the use of any alarm system.

C. Upon failure of the user of an alarm system to pay the false alarm penalty provided for in the alarm permit and penalty fee sections, to cause the alarm system or alarm systems to be properly repaired, or to be properly used and operated, or to submit an appeal to the City Manager, as provided for in PMC 9.44.170, such user shall immediately discontinue the use of any systems. The alarm system or systems shall not thereafter be used until such payment has been made, such repairs have been effected, or such owner or lessee satisfies the Director of Development Services that such system or systems shall be properly repaired or used in the future, and the Director of Development Services shall authorize use of such system or systems. (Ord. 518, 1999; Ord. 457 § 2(A), 1996; Ord. 430 § 1, 1994)

 

9.44.170 Appeals.

A. If the user of an alarm system disputes any action of the Director of Development Services, such person may appeal to the City Manager by filing with the City Clerk, within 10 days, a statement addressed to the City Manager setting forth the facts and circumstances regarding the action of the Director of Development Services. The City Clerk shall notify the appellant in writing of the time and place set for hearing of the appeal. The City Manager or designated representative, shall within 10 days from the date on which such appeal has been filed with the City Clerk, hear the appellant with the Director of Development Services and shall consider all relevant evidence to determine the merits of the appeal. The City Manager may affirm, overrule or modify the decision of the Director of Development Services, and that decision shall be final. Any decision by the City Manager to suspend shall be effective immediately.

B. The right to appeal to the City Manager from an action of the Director of Development Services shall terminate 10 days following the deposit of a certified letter in any branch of the United States Post Office addressed to the user of an alarm system at his above mentioned mailing address or personal service of said letter, advising the appellant of the order of suspension.

C. If the user is not satisfied with the decision of the City Manager, the user may appeal to the City Council in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 2.20 PMC. (Ord. 518, 1999; Ord. 457 § 2(A), 1996; Ord. 430 § 1, 1994)

 

9.44.180 Limitation on liability.

The City is under no obligation or duty to any users of an alarm system or any other person by reason of any provision of this chapter or by reason of the exercise of any privilege pursuant to this chapter, nor shall this chapter impose any liability, obligation or duty upon the City in regards to, but not limited to, defects in a security or fire alarm system, any delay in transmission of an alarm message to any emergency unit, or damage caused by nonresponse or in responding to any alarm by any City officer, employee or agent. (Ord. 430 § 1, 1994)

 

9.44.190 Criminal penalties.

Violations of this chapter may be charged, in accordance with Chapter 1.08 PMC. (Ord. 430 § 1, 1994)

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