Chapter 15.36


15.36.010    Purpose and scope.

15.36.020    Definitions.

15.36.025    Violation.

15.36.030    Fines for excessive false alarms.

15.36.040    Hearing.

15.36.050    Enforcement.

15.36.010 Purpose and scope.

A. The purpose of this chapter is to encourage fire alarm users and fire alarm businesses to assume increased responsibility for maintaining the mechanical reliability and the proper use of alarm systems to prevent unnecessary fire department emergency responses to false alarms and thereby protect the emergency response capability of the city from misuse.

B. This chapter governs fire alarm systems, provides for penalties and fines for excessive false alarms, and establishes a system of administration. Fire alarm system installation and maintenance are governed by applicable provisions of the fire code, Chapter 15.35 FMC. (Ord. 2-2004 § 1)

15.36.020 Definitions.

For purposes of this chapter, the following terms mean:

“Alarm business” means 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 to be sold, leased, maintained, serviced, repaired, altered, replaced, moved or installed any fire alarm system in or on any building, structure or facility.

“Alarm user” means the person, firm, partnership, association, corporation, company, or organization of any kind that owns, controls, or occupies any building, structure or facility in which a fire alarm system is maintained.

“Coordinator” means the individual designated by the fire chief to enforce the provisions of this chapter.

“False alarm” means an alarm signal, eliciting a response by the fire department when a situation requiring a response by the fire department does not in fact exist, but does not include an alarm signal caused by violent conditions of nature or other extraordinary circumstances not reasonably subject to control by the alarm business operator or alarm user.

“Fire alarm system” means any assembly of equipment, mechanical or electrical, arranged to signal the presence of products of combustion or the flow of an extinguishing agent through an automatic fire extinguishing system or a device manually activated by a person to signal the presence of fire requiring urgent attention and to which the fire department is expected to respond.

“Fire chief” means the chief of the fire department of the city, or designee. (Ord. 2-2004 § 1)

15.36.025 Violation.

A. No alarm user may cause or permit activation of a fire alarm when a situation requiring a response by the fire department does not in fact exist.

B. Three or more false alarms occurring within one year prior to the date of the false alarm occurrence is a Class A violation pursuant to ORS 153.018. (Ord. 2-2004 § 1)

15.36.030 Fines for excessive false alarms.

A. After the second false alarm, fines will be assessed by the coordinator for excessive false alarms occurring within one year prior to the date of the false alarm occurrence. The amount of the fine for excessive false alarms shall be set by council resolution.

B. The coordinator shall notify the alarm user and the alarm business by regular mail of a false alarm and the fine and the consequences of the failure to pay the fine. The coordinator shall also inform the alarm user of the right to appeal the validity of the false alarm to the fire chief, as provided in FMC 15.36.040. If the fine has not been received in the coordinator’s office within 30 days from the day the notice of fine was mailed by the coordinator and there is no appeal pending on the validity of the false alarm, the coordinator shall send the notice of fine by certified mail along with a notice of late fee of $25.00. (Ord. 2-2004 § 1)

15.36.040 Hearing.

A. An alarm user may appeal the validity of a false alarm determination by the coordinator to the fire chief. The appeal shall be in writing and requested within 10 days of the alarm user having received notice of the false alarm and fine from the coordinator. Failure to contest the coordinator’s determination in the required time period results in a conclusive presumption for all purposes that the alarm was false.

B. If a hearing is requested, written notice of the time and place of the hearing shall be served on the user by the fire chief by certified mail at least 10 days prior to the date set for the hearing, which shall not be more than 21 nor less than 10 days after the filing of the request for hearing.

C. The hearing shall be before a hearings officer appointed by the manager. The coordinator and the alarm user shall have the right to present written and oral evidence, subject to the right of cross-examination. The hearings officer shall determine if two or more false alarms have occurred in the year prior to the date of the false alarm in question. The hearings officer may issue written findings waiving, expunging or entering a false alarm designation on an alarm user’s record. If false alarm designations are entered on the alarm user’s record, the coordinator shall pursue fine collection as set by council resolution. (Ord. 2-2004 § 1)

15.36.050 Enforcement.

Enforcement of this chapter may be by civil action as provided by ORS 30.315 including fines set forth in FMC 15.36.030 or by administrative action wherein the coordinator may issue a citation for violation. (Ord. 2-2004 § 1)