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City Attorney

Roger Baker
Tooele City Attorney

90 North Main Street
Tooele, UT 84074

Phone: 435.843.2120
Fax: 435.843.2129

Title 3. Chapter 7. Fire Alarms

3-7-1. Purpose and scope.

(1) The purpose of this Chapter is to require owners to properly use and maintain the operational effectiveness of fire alarm systems in order to improve their reliability and eliminate or reduce false fire alarms and nuisance fire alarms. The requirements of this Chapter shall be in addition to, and not in place of, any requirements imposed by the international fire code asadopted by the city.

(2) This Chapter governs fire alarm systems designed to summon the Tooele City fire department, notices and orders regarding such alarms, the establishment of a fire watch, and the assessment of fees and costs.

(Ord. 2017-25, 11-15-2017)

3-7-2. Definitions.

As used in this Chapter, the following words and terms shall have the following meanings:

Adopted Codes – The codes adopted by Tooele City pursuant to Chapter 3-3 and Title 4 of this Code.

Disconnection, and Disconnect – The disconnection, deactivation, or taking out of service of a fire alarm system.

Enforcement Official – The fire chief and his or her designated representatives.

Fees and costs – Monetary charges, payable to Tooele City, to defray the expenses associated with responding to false fire alarms, nuisance fire alarms, inspections, testing, and fire watch.

Fire Alarm, False – The activation of any fire alarm system that results in a response by the fire department and that:

(1) is caused by the negligence or intentional misuse of the fire alarm system by the owner, tenant, or occupant of a premises, or an employee or agent thereof; or

(2) is not caused by heat, smoke, fire, or water flow.

Fire Alarm, Habitual – The occurrence of 6 or more nuisance fire alarms or false fire alarms, or a combination of the two, in any 365-day period.

Fire Alarm, Nuisance – The activation of any fire alarm system, which results in a fire department response and that:

(1) is caused by mechanical failure, lack of maintenance, malfunction, or improper installation; or,

(2) for which emergency officials cannot determine the cause of the alarm.

Fire Alarm System – A system, or a portion of a system or combination system, consisting of components and circuits arranged to monitor and/or annunciate the status of a fire alarm, suppression system activation, or signal initiating device that initiate a response.

Fire Department – The Tooele City fire department.

Fire Watch – An enforcement program whereby an enforcement official is assigned to a premises for the purpose of protecting a building or structure, or its occupants, from an emergency fire-related situation.  A fire watch may involve special actions beyond routine fire department staffing. A special action may include persons trained in fire prevention and detection, the use of fire extinguishing systems, or the activation of fire alarms.

Owner – Any person who owns the premises in which a fire alarm system is installed. In the event such premises are leased to a third party, the term Owner shall mean both the owner of the property and the tenant in possession of the premises, and any responsibilities for the fire alarm system and fees assessed hereunder shall be joint and several for both the owner and the tenant.

Premises – Any building or structure, or combination of buildings and structures, in which a fire alarm system is installed. For purposes of this Chapter, the term Premises shall not mean single-family or two-family residential buildings.

Reconnection, and Reconnect – The reconnection, reactivation, or return to service of a fire alarm system.

Serve, or Service – Personal delivery or delivery via regular U.S. mail to both the physical address of the premises and to the address of the record owner of the premises if different than the physical address of the premises. Service is deemed effective upon personal delivery or 3 days after mailing.

(Ord. 2017-25, 11-15-2017)

3-7-3. Maintenance, testing, and inspection.

(1) The owner of a premises shall ensure that all fire alarm systems on a premises are periodically maintained as dictated by the manufacturer’s specifications and the adopted codes.

(2) The owner shall ensure that all fire alarm systems on a premises are tested and inspected at least once per year and in accordance with the adopted codes.

(Ord. 2017-25, 11-15-2017)

3-7-4. Fire alarm system activation and response.

(1) The owner of a premises shall be responsible for all activations of a fire alarm system thereon.

(2) A fire department response to the activation of a fire alarm system shall be deemed to result when any officer or member of the fire department is dispatched to the premises where the fire alarm system has been activated.

(Ord. 2017-25, 11-15-2017)

3-7-5. Intentional false alarm - penalty.

A person who, knowingly or intentionally, makes a false report of a fire, activates a false fire alarm, or tampers with or removes any part of a fire alarm system is guilty of a class B misdemeanor.

(Ord. 2017-25, 11-15-2017)

3-7-6. Notice and fees for repeated false alarms.

(1) The first and second fire alarm system activations in any 365-day period, deemed by the enforcement official to be nuisance fire alarms and/or false fire alarms, shall result in the enforcement official serving a Notice of False Alarm to the owner of the premises where the fire alarm system has been activated. The notice will indicate the fire alarm system activation, direct the owner to correct the cause of the false or nuisance fire alarm, and provide a warning that subsequent alarms may result in the assessment of fees.

(2) More than 2 fire alarm system activations within any 365 day period, deemed by the enforcement official to be nuisance fire alarms and/or false fire alarms, shall result in the enforcement official serving a Notice of Repeated False Alarms to the owner of the premises where the fire alarm system has been activated. The notice will indicate the assessment of fees against the owner in the amounts stated in the Tooele City fee schedule.

(3) Should any fee assessed pursuant to this Section remain unpaid in excess of 60 days from the date of the Notice of Repeated False Alarms, a late payment penalty shall be imposed equal to 10% of the amount due. In addition, for each calendar month beyond the due date that a payment is late, compound interest of 2% shall accrue monthly until the fees, plus penalties and interest, are paid in full.

(Ord. 2017-25, 11-15-2017)

3-7-7. Disconnection of fire alarm system - occupancy - fire watch - reconnection.

(1) At the discretion of the enforcement official, and in the event that a premises experiences habitual fire alarms, a written Order to Disconnect may be served upon the owner specifying the date on which the owner shall be required to disconnect the fire alarm system. An Order to Disconnect must have the concurring signature of the Mayor.

(2) Each premises affected by the disconnection of the fire alarm system shall be required to establish a fire watch that meets the requirements of the enforcement official until the fire alarm system has been reconnected.

(3) The enforcement official shall have the authority to temporarily suspend the occupancy certificate of a premises under fire watch until all repairs are made to the fire alarm system or if the fire watch is not maintained to the satisfaction of the enforcement official. Suspended occupancy shall have the effect of temporarily closing a premises to the public and to employees but will allow restricted occupancy as detailed in the fire watch.

(4) A fire alarm system may be reconnected upon a finding by the enforcement official that the owner of the premises has taken necessary corrective action to remedy the cause of the habitual fire alarms at the premises. The owner shall have the burden of showing that adequate corrective action has been taken by making a request for reconnection.

(5) The owner shall be responsible for all inspection and/or testing fees and costs incurred in determining whether the fire alarm system is ready for reactivation. The enforcement official shall not authorize or approve of reconnection until the owner has paid such fees and costs in full.

(6) Follow service of an Order to Disconnect, reconnection of a fire alarm system shall be pursuant to an Authorization to Reconnect issued by the enforcement official.

(Ord. 2017-25, 11-15-2017)

3-7-8. Fire watch.

(1) In the event the enforcement official orders a fire watch instituted as a result of a fire alarm system being disconnected, pursuant to an Order to Disconnect, such a fire watch may be at the following levels or may provide specific fire watch requirements at the discretion of the enforcement official:

(A) Level I: Continuous monitoring of the premises for signs of smoke or fire for purposes of notifying the fire department. This may be effectively carried out through one or more approved employees of the building owner, security guards, or fire department personnel, at the discretion of the enforcement official.

(B) Level II: Continuous monitoring of the premises for signs of smoke or fire for the purpose of notifying the fire department and assisting with evacuation. This may be effectively carried out through one or more approved employees of the building owner, security guards, or fire department personnel, in the discretion of the enforcement official. These individuals must be familiar with the exiting fire alarm systems, fire protection systems, fire suppression systems, water systems, and evacuation plans relative to the premises.

(C) Level III: Continuous monitoring of the premises for signs of smoke or fire for the purpose of notifying the fire department, assisting with evacuation, and fire extinguishment/hazard mitigation. One or more fire department personnel shall be required, and an emergency action plan may also be required, in the discretion of the enforcement official.

(2) The owner shall be responsible for paying all fees and costs associated with establishing a fire watch.

(Ord. 2017-25, 11-15-2017)

3-7-9. Appeals.

(1) An owner may appeal any of the following to the enforcement official:

(A) a Notice of Repeated False Alarms;

(B) an Order to Disconnect;

(C) the refusal to issue an Authorization to Reconnect;

(D) the costs associated with an Authorization to Reconnect or a fire watch.

(2) All appeals shall be in writing and shall set forth the reasons for the appeal.

(3) All appeals shall be filed with the City Recorder within 10 days of service of the Notice or Order being appealed. Appeals filed after this deadline are untimely and shall not be heard.

(4) All appeals shall be accompanied with the payment of an appeal fee as set forth in the Tooele City fee schedule. Appeal fees will be returned to the owner if the Notice or Order being appealed is not upheld on appeal.

(5) The appeal of a Notice of Repeated False Alarms stays the assessment of fees until the enforcement official makes a final written decisionupholding the Notice. The appeal of an Order to Disconnect stays the requirement to disconnect until the enforcement official makes a final written decision upholding the Order.

(6) An appeal decision of the enforcement officer may be appealed, with 10 days of service of the decision, to the Administrative Hearing Officer pursuant to Chapter 1-28 of this Code. Appeals filed after the appeal deadline are untimely and shall not be heard.

(Ord. 2017-25, 11-15-2017)

3-7-10. Collection of fees and costs.

Tooele City is authorized to use all lawful means to collect fees, costs, penalties, and interest assessed under this Chapter, including requiring payment through the City utility bill.

(Ord. 2017-25, 11-15-2017)

3-7-11. Government immunity.

The inspection of fire alarm systems, the establishment of fire watches, or any other action provided for in this Chapter is not intended to, nor will it, create a contract, duty, or obligation, either expressed or implied, of fire department response, nor create a special relationship between an owner and the fire department. Any and all liability and damages resulting from the failure to respond to a notification or to take any other action as provided for herein is hereby disclaimed, and governmental immunity as provided by law is hereby retained. Tooele City, its officers, employees, and agents, shall not assume any duty or responsibility for the installation, operation, repair, effectiveness, or maintenance of any fire alarm system or the maintenance of a fire watch, those duties or responsibilities belonging solely to the owner of the premises.

(Ord. 2017-25, 11-15-2017)

 

Click Here for a .pdf copy of Title3 Chapter7

Please Note:  Every attempt has been made to keep this online Tooele City Code up-to-date; however, there may be discrepancies between this online code and that which is actually adopted.  If you have questions about the Tooele City Code or for the most recent update, please call (435) 843-2120 or email attorney@tooelecity.org.

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