Security and Fire Alarm Registration & Information
How to prevent False Alarms
(1) Declaration of intent. The intent of this chapter is to encourage alarm users and alarm businesses to maintain operational reliability, to promote the proper use of alarm systems and to reduce or eliminate dispatch requests for false alarms.
This chapter governs systems intended to summon police or fire response, to require permits, to establish fees, to provide penalties for violations, to establish a system for the administration and to establish criteria for limited response to alarms.
(1.1) Definitions. As used in this section, the following terms shall be defined as follows:
(a) Alarm coordinator shall mean a person or persons selected by the chief of police to administer, control and review alarm applications, permits and false alarm notifications and to provide technical assistance to alarm users in preventing false alarms from their systems.
(b) Alarm system shall mean any mechanical or electrical device sold or installed, which is designed for use for the detection of an unauthorized entry into a building, structure, facility or enclosed area, or for alerting others of unauthorized entry, or any other crime or fire emergency and which emits sound or transmits a signal or message when activated.
(c) Alarm user shall mean the person(s), firm, partnership, corporation, association, organization, company or other entity that owns the premises on which the alarm system is maintained, or the lessee of the premises, if the lessee is legally responsible for the operation and maintenance of the alarm system.
(d) Alarm business shall mean any business operated by a person for a profit which engages in the activity of altering, installing, leasing, maintaining, repairing, replacing, selling, monitoring, servicing or responding to an alarm system, or which causes any of these activities to take place.
(e) Alarm period shall mean the designated twelve-month period of January 1--December 31st of each year.
(f) Applicant shall mean any person, firm, corporation, partnership or other entity using an alarm system and which submits the required registration to the city.
(g) False alarm shall mean the activation of an alarm system for any reason other than an unauthorized entry, such as mechanical failure, malfunction, improper installation, weather related, or an action or omission of the owner or lessee of an alarm system or of his employees or agents.
(h) Limited response shall mean that the police department shall respond only to verified emergencies, i.e. crime in progress, panic button, silent alarm, call from person on-site or alarm company to report a crime.
(i) Response fee shall mean those expenses incurred by the city whenever the city dispatches personnel and equipment to the premises of a false alarm.
(2) Registration of alarm system.
(a) Required registration.
1. Before placing an alarm system into operation, every alarm user shall register the alarm system and obtain an alarm identification sticker for each alarm system he operates in the city. Applications to register an alarm system shall be made on forms provided by the police department. An incomplete application form shall be returned to the applicant for completion within thirty (30) calendar days during which time the system shall be considered unregistered. If the applicant does not register the system within the thirty (30) calendar days, the alarm system will be designated on limited response status and the alarm user is subject to penalties pursuant to section 11-1(5) of the Code.
2. The alarm system has been installed pursuant to section 11-1(4) of the Code related to alarm permit. If the alarm system has been installed without a permit, the applicant shall have thirty (30) calendar days to secure the required permit. If the applicant does not secure the required permit, the alarm system will be designated on limited response status and the alarm user is subject to penalties pursuant to section 11-1(5) of the code.
3. Alarm systems shall be registered on an annual basis by the alarm user, to ensure that the alarm user certifies that the registration information maintained in the city's records is correct. The registration shall be effective for the period of January 1 to December 31 of each calendar year. The initial registration fee shall be twenty-five dollars ($25.00), and each registration renewal fee thereafter shall be twenty-five dollars ($25.00). This fee shall offset the city's administrative costs in ensuring that required alarm response information is up-to-date, monitoring alarm activity records and implementing this section of the Code. The renewal fee shall be waived if there are no reports of a false alarm for the alarm user during the preceding calendar year; however, the alarm user shall be responsible for submitting updated registration information, if applicable.
4. Alarm users having more than one (1) alarm system, protecting two (2) or more separate structures, shall be required to register each alarm separately for each structure, unless the structures are protected by the same alarm system.
(3) Registration procedures.
(a) Registration forms will be available at the public safety building. The application form shall require the applicant to provide the following information, which includes, but is not limited to:
1. The name, address and telephone number of the applicant's property to be serviced by the alarm and the name, address and telephone numbers of the person who will be responsible for the proper maintenance and operation of the alarm system and payment of fees and fines assessed under this section of the code.
2. The name, address and telephone number of the applicant, if different from the property to be serviced.
3. The name, address and telephone number of the alarm user, if different than the applicant. In the event that the applicant or alarm user is a corporation, the president of the corporation shall be listed.
4. The make and type of alarm.
5. Whether the alarm is for residential or for nonresidential use; if for nonresidential use, the applicant shall attach sufficient documentation to ascertain compliance with UL (Underwriter's Laboratories), FM (Factory Mutual), standards or all other appropriate licenses and certificates for burglary testing and installation.
6. The name, address and telephone number of the alarm business maintaining and/or monitoring the alarm, if any, if different from the business installing the alarm.
7. The names, addresses and telephone numbers of no less than two (2) keyholders, persons or entities to be contacted in the event of an alarm, who have access to the premises for emergencies or when multiple alarms occur within a twenty-four (24) hour period or for resetting or shutting off the alarm should the alarm be false.
8. The applicant shall be required to acknowledge that they have read and understand the requirements of this section.
(b) The alarm user shall be issued an identification sticker upon registration of the alarm system and payment of the registration fee. The sticker shall be placed on the front window closest to the front door of the premises. The sticker shall read "Premises alarmed--Registered with the Coral Springs Police Department" and shall have an identification number.
(c) The alarm identification sticker is issued by the police department and is non-assignable. The issued sticker is only effective for the registered alarm system and alarm user. An alarm user shall inform the police department, records division, of any change that alters any information listed on the alarm registration within five (5) business days. In the event that the registered alarm user changes the alarm system for the registered location, a new registration must be filed with the police department. If there is a new alarm user, the new user shall register the alarm with the police department. The fee for the new alarm user shall be the same as the initial registration fee.
(d) Alarm registrations must be renewed each year and shall be in effect from January 1 to the 31st day of December for each year. An alarm permit not renewed by January 31st of each calendar year shall be considered an expired registered alarm and the alarm system shall be placed on limited response.
(4) Requirements for alarm permit.
(a) It shall be unlawful for a person, firm, corporation, partnership or other entity to install or maintain an alarm in operational order unless it first obtains a permit to install the alarm from the city's building division, department of public works.
(b) In addition to satisfactory completion of the registration required pursuant to this section:
1. A new installation of an alarm system at a nonresidential location shall be registered only if it is demonstrated that the alarm system has been installed by an alarm business and only if the installation is of equipment approved and listed by UL (Underwriter's Laboratories) or FM (Factory Mutual) standards and has received all other appropriate licenses and certificates for burglary and testing installation.
2. An existing alarm in a nonresidential location shall be registered only if it is demonstrated that the alarm has been inspected and validated by an alarm business and only if the alarm has been certified by an alarm business that the alarm has been certified by an alarm business that the alarm meets or exceeds UL (Underwriter's Laboratories) or FM (Factory Mutual) standards for burglary testing or installation.
3. The alarm system has the capacity to prevent false alarms by the use of a backup power supply.
4. Every audible alarm system installed by a licensed contractor shall have a device to automatically terminate the audible signal within fifteen (15) minutes of activation.
5. No alarm registration identification sticker shall be issued to an alarm user if a building permit has not been issued and/or if a final inspection has not been approved by the building division, department of public works.
(5) Penalties. Alarm without permit, unregistered alarm or expired alarm registration.
(a) It is hereby determined that the occurrence of an alarm caused by an alarm system for which no permit has been issued, no registration is filed or the registration has expired, is a violation of this section.
(b) The fine for an alarm without a permit issued, unregistered alarm or expired alarm, shall be fifty dollars ($50.00).
(6) Response to alarm; determination of false alarm.
(a) Whenever an alarm is activated in the city, thereby requiring a response to the location by the police department and/or the fire department, a law enforcement officer and/or fire official on the scene of the activated alarm system shall inspect the premises protected by the system and shall determine whether the city's response was due to a false alarm.
(b) In making said determination, the investigating officer or fire official shall presume that the alarm was a false alarm when there is no sign or physical evidence of an unauthorized entry or an attempted unauthorized entry and where there is no sign or physical evidence of a fire.
(c) All residential or commercial intrusion/burglary alarms that have a central monitor shall have a central monitoring verification call made to the premises generating the alarm signal, prior to alarm monitor personnel contacting the police department for alarm dispatch.
(7) Report of false alarm; notice to alarm user. If the law enforcement officer and/or fire official at the scene determines that the alarm is false, the false alarm shall be documented by the police department.
(a) For the second false alarm in the designated twelve-month alarm period, notice shall be provided to the alarm user by first-class mail or by personal service. If by mail, there shall be a presumption of receipt within five (5) calendar days of mailing. This notice shall include a listing of documented false alarms during the twelve-month alarm period and include a warning to the alarm user that in the event of a third false alarm within the twelve-month alarm period, at the same location, the alarm user shall be required to reimburse the city for the cost of the city's response to said false alarm or attend alarm school.
(b) For the third or subsequent false alarm in the designated twelve-month alarm period, notice shall be provided to the alarm user by first-class mail. This notice shall include a listing of documented false alarms during the twelve-month alarm period and include the amount of fee due to the city. For the third false alarm, the alarm user shall have the option to attend alarm school.
(8) Cost reimbursement to city for false alarms. The city shall maintain records for all false alarms. In the event of a third false alarm within the designated twelve-month alarm period, the alarm user shall be responsible to the city for the cost of the third and each succeeding false alarm within the twelve-month alarm period according to the following schedule:
(a) Police department: Fifty dollars ($50.00) for the third false alarm or attendance at the city sponsored alarm school, one hundred dollars ($100.00) for the fourth false alarm and two hundred dollars ($200.00) for the fifth and subsequent false alarms.
(b) Fire department: One hundred dollars ($100.00) for the third and fourth false alarm and one hundred fifty dollars ($150.00) for the fifth and subsequent false alarms within the twelve-month alarm period.
(c) The false alarm response fee shall be paid within thirty (30) calendar days of the incident of alarm or the alarm user must contest the charge within thirty (30) calendar days of the incident of alarm. Failure to pay the fee or contest the charge within the thirty (30) calendar days of the incident of alarm shall result in a limited response by the police department and prosecution of the case before a special master pursuant to the requirements of Section 162.09, Florida Statutes, as amended from time to time.
(9) It is the intent of this section that the twelve-month alarm period during which the alarm user shall be responsible for cost reimbursement for the third and each succeeding false alarm shall be the period January 1 to December 31st of each calendar year.
(10) Violations. Response fees shall be paid within thirty (30) calendar days from the date of receipt of the notice. Failure to make payment within thirty (30) calendar days from the date of receipt of the notice shall constitute a separate offense against the city. The penalty for this violation shall be a fine of not more than five hundred dollars ($500.00).
(11) Multiple alarms within a twenty-four hour period. For locations which have multiple alarms within a twenty-four (24) hour period (midnight to midnight), it shall be the responsibility of the monitoring company for the second or subsequent alarm during this period to require a key-holder (person who has access to the alarmed premises and has the ability to operate the alarm system) to meet the officer on-site, unless there is evidence of a verified emergency. If an alarm is not monitored, the keyholder listed on the alarm registration shall be responsible for meeting the officer on-site unless there is evidence of a verified emergency. If a keyholder is not available to meet the officer on-site, the city has the option not to respond to the alarm unless there is evidence of a verified emergency.
(12) False alarm user awareness school. The alarm coordinator shall oversee the creation and implementation of a false alarm user's awareness school. Alarm users with a third false alarm shall have the option to attend the class in lieu of the fifty dollar ($50.00) response fee. The class shall include, but not be limited to, information to inform the alarm users of the problems created by response to false alarms and assist in instructing the alarm users on how to better operate and maintain their alarm systems so as to eliminate generating false alarms.
(13) Limited response.
(a) An alarm system may be placed on limited response for one or more of the following occurrences:
1. Alarm systems with six (6) or more false alarms, and corrective action prescribed by the alarm coordinator has not been completed; or
2. The alarm user has response fees which are overdue for sixty (60) or more calendar days; or
3. The alarm system is unregistered and the applicant has not registered or obtained a permit within thirty (30) calendar days after notification.
(b) Prior to being placed on limited response, except for an unregistered system, the alarm user shall be notified in writing with the date specific as to when the alarm system shall be placed on limited response. Said notice shall be sent by certified mail to the alarm user. Any unregistered system shall be automatically placed on limited response, if the applicant has not registered within thirty (30) calendar days of notification, until such time that the alarm system is registered with the city. In addition, the user of an unregistered system or a system installed without a permit may be subject to a notification to appear before a special master and/or be issued a city citation.
(c) The alarm user shall pay a reinstatement fee of two hundred fifty dollars ($250.00) to be reinstated to non-limited response status together with certification by an alarm system contractor that any and all problems with the alarm system have been corrected.
(14) Appeal of response fee and appeal of limited response status.
(a) An alarm user may appeal assessment of the response fee to the alarm coordinator by filing a written request for review setting forth the reasons for the appeal within thirty (30) calendar days of the incident of alarm. The filing of a request for an appeal stays the assessment of the response fees until the chief of police makes a final decision.
(b) The alarm coordinator shall conduct a review and consider evidence presented by the alarm user. The alarm coordinator shall make a recommendation to the chief of police on the basis of evidence presented. The chief of police must render a final decision within forty-five (45) calendar days after the request for an appeal is filed.
(c) An alarm user placed on limited response may appeal the limited response status by filing a written request setting forth the reasons for the appeal within ten (10) calendar days of receipt of notification. A special master shall conduct a hearing and consider the evidence presented. The decision of the special master is final. If an alarm user is found in violation of city code, a fine amount may be imposed not to exceed two hundred fifty dollars ($250.00) per day for the first violation and not to exceed five hundred dollars ($500.00) per day for a repeat violation. Should an appeal be heard by the special master, pursuant to Section 162.09, Florida Statutes, and the required corrective action is not taken, a lien may be imposed on the property where the violation exists and upon any real or personal property owned by the violator.
(15) Existing alarms. This section shall apply to all existing alarm systems. Alarm users with existing and installed systems shall have sixty (60) calendar days from the effective date of this section to comply with the provisions herein.
(16) This section shall not apply to the following:
(a) An alarm attached to a motor vehicle.
(b) Property owned by a governmental entity.
(Ord. No. 90-137, § 1, 6-19-90; Ord. No. 93-100, § 1, 2-16-93; Ord. No. 93-136, § 1, 8-3-93; Ord. No. 94-152, § 2, 12-6-94; Ord. No. 96-145, § 2, 11-5-96; Ord. No. 99-115, § 2, 7-6-99)
Sec. 11-2. Alarms; limitation on period that audible alarm may sound.
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person, natural or corporate, to maintain or operate any form or type of alarm or system in any place or on any premises being so placed and operated that sounds can be heard for more than fifteen (15) minutes in a residential district and more than thirty (30) minutes in a business and/or industrial district from any neighboring property, whether public or private. This restriction shall apply whether the sound is continuous or repeated over the respective fifteen-and/or thirty-minute period.
(b) Audible alarms or systems operating over fifteen (15) minutes in residential districts and over thirty (30) minutes in business and/or industrial districts are declared to be so loud, disturbing, and unnecessary as to be detrimental to the citizens of Coral Springs and a disturbance of the public peace and welfare.
(c) Every audible alarm system installed by a licensed contractor shall have a device to automatically terminate the audible signal within fifteen (15) minutes of activation.
(d) Remedies and penalties:
(1) When an audible alarm has sounded in accordance with the provisions of section 11-2 of this Code and every reasonable effort has been made to contact persons authorized to enter the premises to deactivate the alarm, or if the contacted person has failed to appear within the respective time frame, the law enforcement officer at the scene shall take the necessary steps to disconnect the system or alarm.
(2) All costs that may be incurred by the City of Coral Springs shall be paid by the alarm user. The alarm user shall also assume all liabilities that may arise from the entry to the premises and the disconnection.
(3) It shall be unlawful for any person to refuse or fail to pay any cost assessed for deactivating an alarm pursuant to this section. The refusal or failure to pay within a reasonable time shall constitute a separate offense against the City of Coral Springs. The penalty for this violation shall be a fine of not more than five hundred dollars ($500.00).
(Ord. No. 84-139, § 1, 12-4-84; Ord. No. 86-166, § 1, 1-6-87; Ord. No. 96-145, § 2, 11-5-96)