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Spokane Municipal Code Ch. 10.48 - False Alarms

Title 10 Regulation of Activities

Chapter 10.48 False Alarms

Section 10.48.050 Alarm Sites Must be Registered

  1. Police response to private alarm sites in the City of Spokane, except as specified in SMC 10.48.090, is a privilege available only to those alarm users who have alarm systems registered with the City.
  2. No alarm business providing monitoring service to security alarm sites in the City of Spokane shall activate alarm monitoring service or initiate alarm dispatch requests relative to any alarm site in the City that is not properly registered.
  3. Failure by an alarm monitoring or installation company to provide its updated customer information at least once a month to the City of Spokane in accordance with SMC 10.48.130(A) is a class one civil infraction.

Section 10.48.060 Registration Terms and Fees

  1. Alarm registration is valid for one year.

B.     Alarm registration is issued to a person or persons (“alarm user”) having bona fide ownership or control of an alarm site (i.e., home owner, business owner, renter, leaseholder, etc.) and specifically for that alarm site or address.

  1.  
    1. Alarm registration remains in the name(s) of the alarm user of record until a change of ownership or control of the alarm site occurs.

C.     Alarm registration is attached to the alarm user and the alarm site registration and is not transferable.

  1.  
    1. A new alarm site registration must be issued whenever there is a change of ownership or control of an alarm site.
  2. The initial registration application shall be given to the alarm user at the time of alarm installation and shall be submitted to the alarm administrator or designee within thirty days.

E.     A signed copy of the disclosure statement required in SMC 10.48.130 shall be submitted to the alarm administrator along with the initial registration application.

  1.  
    1. Receipt of the disclosure statement is a precondition of registration.

F.      Registration information is determined by the alarm administrator and shall include, but not be limited to, the following:

1.      Name and address of the alarm user (i.e., the person financially responsible for operation of the alarm system being registered).

2.      Home, business and cellular telephone number(s) of the alarm user.

3.      Name, address and telephone number of the alarm business providing monitoring service to the system.

4.      Alternate telephone number for verification (cell phone or other telephone designated by the alarm user).

  1.  
    1. Signature of the alarm user verifying that he has read and understood the City of Spokane public disclosure statement and agrees to pay the fees associated with false alarms.
  2. On receipt of the application, fees and copy of the signed disclosure statement, the alarm administrator (or designee) shall issue a security alarm registration number to the alarm user.
  3. The security alarm registration number assigned to an alarm user remains the same for as long as the alarm user continuously maintains registration for the alarm site.

I.       Registration may be renewed under the following conditions:

1.      The alarm site has no past-due fees.

2.      The alarm site’s registration is not suspended for excessive false alarms.

3.      The alarm user either updates his registration information or verifies that the current registration information is still correct.

  1.  
    1. The appropriate annual registration fee is paid.
  2. Renewal information and fees are submitted to the alarm administrator (or designee) on or before the initial registration anniversary date each year.

K.    The rates for security alarm registration fees are in SMC 8.02.088.

  1.  
    1. The established rates shall assure that the alarm administrator position and all other costs related to administration and enforcement of the security alarm ordinance are supported entirely by registration fees.

Section 10.48.080 Only Licensed Alarm Businesses may Initiate Alarm Dispatch Requests

Effective January 1, 2006, and thereafter, the department shall respond only to alarm dispatch requests from alarm businesses that possess a valid City of Spokane business license and control number.

Section 10.48.090 Verified Response Required in Certain Circumstances

A.    Effective January 1, 2006, and thereafter, the department shall respond to the activation of:

1.      unmonitored security alarm systems;

2.      alarm systems monitored by unlicensed security alarm businesses;

3.      unregistered alarm systems; and

4.      alarm systems with a suspended registration

only if independent reporting indicates that a crime is in progress or has been attempted at the involved alarm site (i.e., verified response).

B.     No alarm user or alarm business shall presume, anticipate or expect that a police response will result solely from the activation of:

1.      any unmonitored security alarm system;

2.      an alarm system monitored by an unlicensed security alarm business;

3.      an unregistered alarm system; or

  1.  
    1. an alarm system with a suspended registration.

Section 10.48.110 Differentiation and Reporting of Alarm Activations

  1. Effective January 1, 2006, and thereafter, no person shall operate a security alarm system in the City of Spokane that fails to differentiate burglary/property/intrusion alarm activations from robbery/hold-up/panic/duress alarm activations, or that fails to accurately report such activations independently.
  2. Effective January 1, 2006, and thereafter, no person shall operate a security alarm system in the City of Spokane that fails to differentiate police incidents (i.e., burglary/property/intrusion alarm activations, robbery/hold-up/panic/duress alarm activations) from fire, medical or other non-police incidents, or that fails to accurately report such incidents independently.

Section 10.48.120 Alarm Dispatch Requests

  1. Alarm dispatch requests shall be made in the manner prescribed by the alarm administrator and approved by 911 and police dispatch.

B.     Alarm dispatch requests may include, but are not limited to, the following information:

1.      Alarm site registration number.

2.      Location of the alarm activation.

3.      Type of alarm activation (i.e., burglary/property/intrusion, robbery/panic/hold-up/duress or roll-over/airbag deployment).

4.      Alarm business’ incident number (or other official incident identifier).

  1.  
    1. Alarm business’ assigned control number.
  2. Alarm dispatch requests made to the department (or its designee) shall be for police incidents only, and shall accurately indicate the type of alarm activation (i.e., burglary/property/intrusion, robbery/hold-up/panic/duress) that is the proximate cause for the alarm dispatch request.
  3. No alarm business shall initiate an alarm dispatch request if it knows, or reasonably should know, that doing so would cause an employee of the City to respond to an alarm site containing a protective/reactive alarm system.
  4. No dispatch request and subsequent police response to a robbery alarm (as defined in SMC 10.48.020(AB) may be cancelled by the alarm user. In every case at least one officer shall respond to affirm that the alarm user is not under duress of any kind.

Section 10.48.130 Duties of Alarm Installation Company and/or Monitoring Company

A.    All alarm installation and/or monitoring companies shall ensure that their customer information is updated with the alarm administrator or designee at least monthly. This information shall include:

1.      customer name and contact information (i.e., all phone numbers);

2.      alarm site address and billing address;

3.      monitoring company name and contact information; and

  1.  
    1. installation date or date the alarm monitoring ended.
  2. All alarm installation and/or monitoring companies shall ensure that an on-site inspection of the operating systems for the alarm system shall occur at least once every three years. The records of these inspections shall be made available to the alarm administrator upon request.
  3. The alarm installation company shall provide written and oral instructions to each of its alarm users in the proper use and operation of their alarm systems. Such instructions will specifically include all instructions necessary to turn the alarm system on and off and to prevent false alarms.

D.    Effective January 1, 2006, and thereafter, alarm installation companies shall not program alarm systems so that they are capable of sending one-plus duress alarms.

1.      Monitoring companies may continue to report one-plus duress alarms received from alarm systems programmed with one-plus duress alarms prior to January 1, 2006.

  1.  
    1. Effective January 1, 2006, and thereafter, when a takeover or conversion occurs or if an alarm user requests an alarm system inspection or modification pursuant to SMC 10.48.070, an alarm installation company must remove the one-plus duress alarm capability from such alarm systems.
  2. Effective January 1, 2006, and thereafter, alarm installation companies shall not install a device to activate a holdup alarm, which is a single action, non-recessed button.
  3. Effective April 1, 2006, the alarm installation companies shall, on new installations, use only alarm control panel(s) which meet SIA Control Panel Standard CP-01.
  4. An alarm company shall not use automatic voice dialers which call 911 or the police department.
  5. After completion of the installation of an alarm system, an alarm installation company employee shall review with the alarm user the customer false alarm prevention checklist established by department policy.

I.       The monitoring company shall make an alarm dispatch request for a police officer response to a burglar alarm signal, including panic, duress and hold-up signals.

  1.  
    1. A residential alarm user is provided one false alarm response during the first sixty days following an alarm system installation without any charge.

J.       A monitoring company shall:

1.      report alarm activations or signals by using the telephone numbers designated by the alarm administrator;

2.      attempt to verify every burglar alarm signal prior to requesting a police dispatch by making at least two phone calls to the responsible party or parties.

a.       This procedure does not apply to duress or hold-up signals;

3.      communicate alarm dispatch requests to the Spokane police in a manner and form determined by the alarm administrator;

4.      communicate cancellations to the Spokane police in a manner and form determined by the alarm administrator;

5.      ensure that all alarm users of alarm systems equipped with duress, hold-up or panic alarm(s) are given adequate training as to the proper use of the duress, hold-up or panic alarm(s).

a.       Alarm system training should be provided to every alarm user and/or additional training provided in situations where the alarm user has established a high incident rate of false alarms resulting from unintentional or accidental activation;

6.      communicate any available information (north, south, front, back, floor, etc.) about the location on all alarm signals related to the alarm dispatch request;

7.      communicate type of alarm activation (silent or audible, interior or perimeter);

8.      provide an alarm user registration number when requesting an officer dispatch;

9.      after an alarm dispatch request, promptly advise the Spokane police if the monitoring company knows that the alarm user or the responder is on the way to the alarm site;

10.  attempt to contact the alarm user or responder within twenty-four hours via mail, fax, telephone or other electronic means when an alarm dispatch request is made; and

11.  effective January 1, 2006, monitoring companies must maintain for a period of at least one year from the date of the alarm dispatch request, records relating to alarm dispatch requests.

a.       Records must include the:

                                                                                i.            name, address and telephone number of the alarm user;

                                                                              ii.            alarm system zone(s) activated;

                                                                            iii.            time of alarm dispatch request; and

                                                                            iv.            evidence of an attempt to verify.

b.      The alarm administrator may request copies of such records for individually named alarm users.

c.       If the request is made within sixty days of an alarm dispatch request, the monitoring company shall furnish requested records within three business days of receiving the request.

  1.  
    1.  
      1. If the records are requested between sixty days to one year after an alarm dispatch request, the monitoring company shall furnish the requested records within thirty days of receiving the request.
  2. An alarm installation company and/or monitoring company that purchases alarm system accounts from another person shall notify the alarm administrator of such purchase and provide details as may be reasonably requested by the alarm administrator.

Section 10.48.140 Compliance with Monitoring Standards Required

All alarm businesses engaged in monitoring alarm systems in the City of Spokane shall comply with the monitoring standards set forth in SMC 10.48.130.

Section 10.48.170 Violations

A.    The following actions constitute unlawful use of a security alarm system:

1.      Any person who activates a security alarm system with the intent to report:

a.       suspicious circumstances, or

b.      any non-criminal incident, or

c.       a need for fire, medical or other non-police services; or

2.      Any person who violates the provisions of SMC 10.48.110(A) or (B) or SMC 10.48.160(A), (B)

is subject to cost recovery fee for the improper activation of the security alarm system.

  1. Nothing in this section shall prevent the installation of a single reporting device for both types of security alarms, fire alarms and medical alarms, provided that such device complies with SMC 10.48.110 and fire code requirements.