Use of emergency alarms for homes and businesses in Essex and Essex Junction are governed by local ordinance. Please review the following ordinance details below and if you have any questions, please feel free to contact our records department at 802-878-1337.

Chapter 5.08 Fire, Burglar & Emergency Alarms


  • 5.08.010 Permit-Requirements.
  • 5.08.020 Permit-Fees.
  • 5.08.030 Failure to pay fees or comply-Penalty.
  • 5.08.040 Installation conditions.
  • 5.08.050 Audible alarm restrictions.
  • 5.08.060 Applicant-Cost responsibilities.
  • 5.08.070 Applicant-Employee training.
  • 5.08.080 Changes of location or equipment.
  • 5.08.090 Applicant-Response to alarm.
  • 5.08.100 Response to alarms-Liability limitations.
  • 5.08.110 False alarms-Designated-Penalty.
  • 5.08.120 Violation-Penalty.

5.08.010 Permit-Requirements.

Any person who shall be in possession of or in charge of any premises equipped to transmit a fire, burglary, holdup or other alarm to police headquarters by automatic device, either by direct leased phone line or by conventional phone line, shall first secure a permit therefor on a form of application as provided by the town. Said applicant shall provide information which details the premises protected, the type of alarm, the type of detection system in use, and the method of transmitting the alarm to police headquarters. No permit shall be required for an alarm system which does not transmit an alarm signal or notification to police headquarters or other town of Essex facility. (Section 1 of Ordinance passed 10/18/93: Section 1 of Ordinance passed 10/20/86)

5.08.020 Permit-Fees.

Fees payable to the town of Essex shall be in addition to any fees or costs mentioned in Section 5.08060, and shall be set by the board of selectmen. (Section 2 of Ordinance passed 10/18/93: Section 2 of Ordinance passed 10/20/86)

5.08.030 Failure to Pay Fees or Comply-Penalty.

Failure to make prompt payment of fees required in connection with this application and permit, or failure to comply with Sections 5.08.010 and 5.08.020 above, within a reasonable time, may result in disconnection of the system and/or disregard of alarms received, after written notification, and penalties as provided by law in addition to those in Section 5.08.110. (Section 6 of Ordinance passed 10/18/93: Section 6 of Ordinance passed 10/20/86)

5.08.040 Installation Conditions.

The system installed must be of an approved type in good mechanical or electrical/electronic order so as to prevent false alarms being transmitted under normal circumstances. Alarms, which when activated, transmit a prerecorded voice message over the telephone line to police headquarters shall not be allowed. In addition, no alarm shall utilize an emergency "911" telephone line to transmit a signal. (Section 3 of Ordinance passed 10/18/93: Section 3 of Ordinance passed 10/20/86)

5.08.050 Audible Alarm Restrictions.

Security alarms which are transmitted to police headquarters or any other monitoring location shall not also have an audible alarm on the premises. If an audible alarm is utilized, in violation of the foregoing without transmission capability, the owner shall be liable for any false alarm penalties consistent with the provisions of Section 5.08.110. Whether or not a permit is required, the chief of police, at his discretion, may order the disconnection of any audible alarm which is determined to be intrusive upon reasonable expectations of noise levels of property owners within the general vicinity of the audible alarm. This provision shall pertain to security alarms only and not to fire alarms. (Section 10 (part) of Ordinance passed 10/18/93: Section 10 of Ordinance passed 10/20/86)

5.08.060 Applicant-Cost Responsibilities.

The applicant shall be solely responsible for any purchase fees, lease or rental fees, installation fees, maintenance costs, as may be required to be paid the equipment owner, sales agency, telephone company or any other persons or firms. (Section 5 of Ordinance passed 10/18/93: Section 5 of Ordinance passed 10/20/86)

5.08.070 Applicant-Employee Training.

The owner must implement training and procedures as necessary to insure that false alarms are not transmitted by any employee or other authorized person who may lawfully have access to the premises during opening or closing or at any other time. (Section 4 of Ordinance passed 10/18/93: Section 4 of Ordinance passed 10/20/86)

5.08.080 Changes of Location or Equipment.

The applicant shall provide the town of Essex with any information, in writing, as may pertain to change of location of transmitter site, type of equipment change, contact persons and phone numbers during the life of the permit. (Section 8 of Ordinance passed 10/18/93: Section 8 of Ordinance passed 10/20/86)

5.08.090 Applicant-Response to Alarm.

The applicant or representative shall respond to the site, when requested, to provide access, or to secure premises, when such response is deemed necessary by police or fire officials. (Section 9 of Ordinance passed 10/18/93: Section 9 of Ordinance passed 10/20/86)

5.08.100 Response to Alarms-Liability Limitations.

The town of Essex shall not be responsible for any claims or losses resulting from the servicing of and response to any private emergency alarm systems, and at all times the town shall only respond to private emergency alarms in a manner determined to be in the best interest of the town. In the event several emergencies occur simultaneously, it shall be the duty of the police officer in charge to determine the response priorities; however, all activated alarm systems shall be responded to and a record made thereof. (Section 10 (part) of Ordinance passed 10/18/93: Section 11 of Ordinance passed 10/20/86)

5.08.110 False Alarms-Designated-Penalty.

A. For the purposes of this section, the term "false alarm" means the activation of any emergency alarm other than during a legitimate emergency or situation that could reasonably be perceived as a legitimate emergency.

B. For response to premises at which a false alarm occurs and at which no other false alarm has occurred within the preceding six-month period, hereinafter referred to as a "first response," no penalty shall be charged, but the person having or maintaining such alarm shall, within three working days after notice to do so, make a written report to the chief of police on forms prescribed by him setting forth the cause of such alarm, the corrective action taken, whether such alarm has been inspected by an authorized serviceman, and such other information as the chief of police may reasonably require to determine the cause of such false alarm and corrective action necessary.

C. For the second and third response to premises at which a false alarm occurs and within six months after a first response, no fee shall be charged, but a written report shall be required as for a first response, and the chief of police shall be authorized to inspect or cause to be inspected, after consultation with the owner, at the owner’s expense, the alarm system at such premises, prescribe necessary corrective action, and shall give notice to the person owning or maintaining such alarm system of the conditions and requirements of this section.

D. For a fourth and fifth response to premises at which a false alarm occurs and within six months after the first response, and for the second and subsequent responses in any six-month period thereafter, a fee of fifty dollars shall be charged, and for all subsequent responses within six months of the first response, a fee of seventy-five dollars shall be charged, and if such fourth false alarm or any subsequent false alarm is as a result of failure to take necessary corrective action prescribed by the chief of police, the chief of police may order the disconnection of such alarm system, and it shall be unlawful to reconnect such alarm system until such corrective action is taken; provided, that no disconnection shall be ordered at any premises required by federal, state or local requirements or as otherwise required by town policies or regulations to have an alarm system in operation. In addition, in the event the person who shall be in possession or in charge of the emergency alarm shall not pay the penalty or penalties within thirty days of notification, the chief of police shall order the disconnection of the alarm system until such time as all outstanding fees have been paid. In the event that the alarm system in question transmits a signal to a location other than police headquarters or other town of Essex facility and said penalties are not paid within thirty days or written notification, no disconnection shall be ordered however all police response to emergency alarms shall be discontinued until such time as all outstanding penalties are paid in full.

E. Notwithstanding the above provisions, no penalties shall be charged and no false alarms deemed to have occurred during the first thirty days after the initial installation of, or additional modification to, any emergency alarm system. (Section 7 of Ordinance passed 10/18/93: Section 7 of Ordinance passed 10/20/86)

5.08.120 Violation-Penalty.

Any person who violates the provisions of this chapter may be fined as provided by law for municipal ordinance not to exceed one hundred dollars. Said fine shall be in addition to any penalty as described in Section 5.08.110. (Section 11 of Ordinance passed 10/18/93: Section 12 of Ordinance passed 10/20/86)

Chapter 5.09

Offenses shall be counted on a calendar year basis.

D. In addition to the enforcement procedures available before the traffic and municipal ordinance bureau, the town manager or designee is authorized to commence a civil action to obtain injunctive and other appropriate relief, or to pursue any other remedy authorized by law. (Ordinance passed June 3, 1996 (part))