Alarm Ordinance Watch

SSN Staff  - 
Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Highland Park, Texas
In a letter to alarm installers working in the town, Highland Park announced a new alarm ordinance. Effective immediately, all alarm systems installed in Highland Park must include a fire alarm system that complies with NFPA standards. Further, any alteration to an existing alarm system must bring the system up to NFPA codes. All installation must be done by a licensed alarm business, and the employee doing the burglar/medical alarm must also have a license issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety, Public Security Bureau, or a license from the Texas Department of Insurance, State Fire Marshall's Office for the fire work. Before occupancy occurs, the system must be inspected by the Alarm Systems Coordinator, and the installer who performed the work must be present for the inspection.

Rochester Hills, Mich.
The City Council here has passed a new ordinance, effective April 1, 2007, that will impose fines for false security alarms, reported the Oakland Press. First, all system owners must register systems or face a $25 fine is police respond to an unregistered system. Second, a fine structure has been put in place that charges $25 for an initial false alarm, with an additional $25 tacked on for each subsequent false alarm in a calendar year, with fines topping out at $500. Allowances are made for systems set off by weather and fines for broken alarm systems can be recouped if proof is shown of fixing the system. Police report this will save the department 1,900 man hours in the next 12 months.

Knoxville, Tenn.
The News Sentinel reported last month the introduction of an alarm ordinance here, effective July 1. Any owner of a residential or commercial fire or burglar alarm system that produces three false alarms in a calendar year will be fined $25. The ordinance also requires enhanced call verification, which the police department and industry members estimate will eliminate 60 percent of false alarms right off the bat. NBFAA board secretary John Knox, owner of Life & Property Security System, was involved in crafting the ordinance.

Center Harbor, N.H.
The police and fire chiefs here are teaming to craft an alarm ordinance, at the order of the Board of Selectmen. The chiefs met with the selectmen last month to outline a possible remedy to increasing false alarms and to mandate a specially designed lock box containing a key for rescue personnel to gain access to every building with an alarm system. Three false alarms would trigger a fee of some sort, the chiefs told the Citizen of Laconia. Penalty appeals would go to the Board of Selectmen.

Roseville, Calif.
City officials here have added a new wrinkle to the fire ordinances. New buildings standing taller than 55 feet must have a fire equipment storage room on an upper level, according to the Sacramento Bee, along with a smoke management system and a computerized fire alarm system with recorded voice instructions. Officials estimate the additional features would cost as much as $311,000 in a 158,000-square-foot building. The development community is reportedly unhappy with the new ordinance, which goes into effect July 1.