TITLE 24

Professions and Occupations

CHAPTER 12. SECURITY ALARM SYSTEMS AND PROTECTIVE SERVICES [EFFECTIVE OCT. 15, 2017]

Subchapter II. False Alarms [For application of this subchapter, see 81 Del. Laws, c. 73,§ 7] [Effective Oct. 15, 2017]


(a) The purpose of this subchapter is to encourage security alarm system users and security alarm businesses to properly use and maintain the operational effectiveness of security alarm systems in order to improve the reliability of security alarm systems and reduce or eliminate false alarms.

(b) This subchapter governs security alarm systems intended to summon law-enforcement response, requires registration by security alarm system users, establishes a system of administration, and provides for the enforcement of penalties for violations of this section.

76 Del. Laws, c. 179, § 4; 81 Del. Laws, c. 73, §§ 5-7.;

The following words and phrases, when used in this subchapter, shall have the meaning ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:

(1) "Alarm" means a security alarm system signal that is created by the activation of a security alarm system.

(2) "Arming station" means a device that allows control of a security alarm system.

(3) "Automatic voice dialer" means any electrical, electronic, mechanical, or other device capable of being programmed to send a prerecorded voice message, when activated, over a telephone line, radio or other communication system, to a law-enforcement authority, public safety or emergency services agency requesting dispatch.

(4) "Cancellation" means the process where response to a security alarm system dispatch request is terminated when a security alarm business for the security alarm system site notifies the responding law-enforcement agency, prior to arrival at the security alarm system site, that there is not an existing situation at the security alarm system site requiring law-enforcement authority response.

(5) "Conversion" means the transaction or process by which a security alarm business begins the servicing and/or monitoring of a previously unmonitored security alarm system or a security alarm system previously serviced and/or monitored by another security alarm business.

(6) "Duress alarm" means a silent security alarm system signal generated by the entry of a designated code into an arming station in order to signal that the security alarm system user is being forced to turn off the system and requires law-enforcement response.

(7) "False alarm" means a security alarm system dispatch request to a law-enforcement authority, when no emergency of actual or threatened criminal activity requiring immediate response exists. This definition includes signals activated by negligence, accident, and mechanical failure; signals activated intentionally in nonemergency situations; and signals for which the actual cause is unknown. There is a rebuttable presumption that an alarm is false if personnel responding from a law-enforcement authority do not discover any evidence of unauthorized entry, criminal activity, or other emergency after following normal police procedures in investigating the incident. An alarm is not false if the security alarm system user proves that:

a. An individual activated the alarm based on a reasonable belief that an emergency or actual or threatened criminal activity requiring immediate response existed;

b. The security alarm system was activated by a violent condition of nature, including but not limited to tornadoes, floods, earthquakes and lightning, or by an electrical surge that caused physical damage to the system, as evidenced by testimony of a licensed security alarm system contractor who has conducted an on-site inspection and personally observed the damage to the system;

c. If the security alarm system user experienced a power outage, causing the alarm to activate upon restoration of power, as evidenced by written documentation provided by Delmarva Power or other applicable provider; or,

d. Where there has been a cancellation as defined in paragraph (4) of this section.

(8) "Holdup alarm" means a silent alarm signal generated by the manual activation of a device intended to signal a robbery in progress.

(9) "Law-enforcement authority" means any authorized representative of a law-enforcement agency.

(10) "Local security alarm system" means any security alarm system, which is not monitored, that annunciates an alarm only at the security alarm system site.

(11) "Monitoring" means the process by which a security alarm business receives signals from a security alarm system and relays a security alarm system dispatch request for the purpose of summoning law enforcement to the security alarm system site.

(12) "Monitoring station" means an office or entity whereby a security alarm business conducts monitoring of security alarm systems for purposes of dispatch and notification. A monitoring station shall provide a toll-free, 24-hour telephone number for use by a responding law-enforcement agency.

(13) "Panic alarm" means an audible security alarm system signal generated by the manual activation of a device intended to signal a life threatening or emergency situation requiring law-enforcement response.

(14) "Person" means an individual, corporation, partnership, association, organization, or similar entity.

(15) "Responder" means an individual capable of reaching the security alarm system site within 30 minutes and having access to the security alarm system site, the code to the security alarm system, and the authority to approve repairs to the security alarm system.

(16) "Security alarm business" is as defined in § 1201 of this chapter.

(17) "Security alarm system" is as defined in § 1201 of this chapter.

(18) "Security alarm system administrator" means a person designated by the State with authority to administer, control and review false alarm reduction efforts and administer the provisions of this section.

(19) "Security alarm system dispatch request" means a notification to a law-enforcement authority that a security alarm system, either manual or automatic, has been activated at a particular security alarm system site.

(20) "Security alarm system registration" means authorization granted by the security alarm system administrator to a security alarm system user to operate a security alarm system.

(21) "Security alarm system site" means a single fixed premises or location served by a security alarm system or systems. Each unit, if served by a separate security alarm system in a multi-unit building or complex, shall be considered a separate security alarm system site.

(22) "Security alarm system user" means any person or entity, which has contracted for monitoring, repair, installation or maintenance services from a security alarm business for a security alarm system, or which owns or operates a security alarm system which is not monitored, maintained or repaired under contract.

(23) "Takeover" means the transaction or process by which a security alarm system user takes over control of an existing security alarm system, which was previously controlled by another security alarm system user.

(24) "Verify" means at least two attempts by a security alarm business, or its representative, to contact the security alarm system site and/or security alarm system user by telephone and/or other electronic means, whether or not actual contact with a person is made, to determine whether a security alarm system signal is valid before requesting law-enforcement dispatch, in an attempt to avoid an unnecessary security alarm system dispatch request.

(25) "Zones" means division of devices into which a security alarm system is divided to indicate the general location from which a security alarm system signal is transmitted.

76 Del. Laws, c. 179, § 4; 81 Del. Laws, c. 73, §§ 2, 5, 6.;

(a) A security alarm system user shall not operate, or cause to be operated, a security alarm system at its security alarm system site without obtaining a valid security alarm system registration. A separate security alarm system registration is required for each security alarm system site.

(b) The security alarm system registration application form must be submitted to the security alarm system administrator within 30 days after the security alarm system at a particular site has been activated or within 30 days after a security alarm system takeover. Failure to submit a timely application will result in a nonregistered security alarm system. Use of a nonregistered security alarm system shall be a violation of this chapter.

(c) Each security alarm system application must include the following information:

(1) The name, complete address (including apartment/suite number) and telephone numbers of the person who will be the registration holder and be responsible for the proper maintenance and operation of the security alarm system;

(2) The name and complete address of the security alarm system site, the classification of the security alarm system site as either residential (includes apartment, condominium, mobile home, etc.) or commercial, and the name, address and telephone number of the person responsible for that security alarm system site;

(3) For each security alarm system located at the security alarm system site, the classification of the security alarm system (i.e. burglary, holdup, duress, panic alarms, etc.) and for each classification whether such alarm is audible or silent;

(4) The mailing address, if different from the address of the security alarm system site;

(5) Any dangerous or special conditions present at the security alarm system site;

(6) The names and addresses of at least 2 individuals who are able to, and have agreed to:

a. Receive notification of a security alarm system activation at any time and who can respond to the security alarm system site and, upon request, gain access to the security alarm system site and deactivate the security alarm system if necessary; or,

b. Receive notification of a security alarm system activation at any time and who has access to the security alarm system user for purposes of deactivating the security alarm system, if necessary.

(7) Type of business conducted at a commercial security alarm system site;

(8) Signed certification from the security alarm system user stating the following:

a. The date of installation, conversion or takeover of the security alarm system, whichever is applicable;

b. The name, address and telephone number of the security alarm system inspection company or companies performing the security alarm system installation; conversion or takeover and of the security alarm system installation company responsible for providing repair service to the security alarm system;

c. The name, address and telephone number of the monitoring company if different from the security alarm system installation company;

d. That a set of written operating instructions for the security alarm system, including written guidelines on how to avoid false alarms, has been left with the applicant by the security alarm system installation company; and,

e. That the alarm installation company has trained the applicant in proper use of the security alarm system, including instructions on how to avoid false alarms.

(9) Acknowledgment that any delay in law-enforcement authority response time may be influenced by factors including, but not limited to priority of calls, weather conditions, traffic conditions, emergency conditions, staffing levels, etc.

(d) Any false statement of material fact made by an applicant for the purpose of obtaining a security alarm system registration shall be sufficient cause for refusal to issue a registration.

(e) A security alarm system registration shall not be transferable to another person or security alarm system site. A security alarm system user shall inform the security alarm system administrator of any change that alters any of the information listed on the security alarm system registration application within 5 days of such change.

76 Del. Laws, c. 179, § 4; 81 Del. Laws, c. 73, § 6.;

(a) A security alarm system user shall maintain the security alarm system site and the security alarm system in a manner that will minimize or eliminate false alarms.

(b) A security alarm system user shall maintain at each security alarm system site a set of written operating instructions for each security alarm system.

(c) A security alarm system user that is using a security alarm business for monitoring shall provide that security alarm business at least 2 different telephone numbers to verify an alarm.

(d) A security alarm system user shall adjust the mechanism or cause the mechanism to be adjusted so that an alarm signal audible on the exterior of a security alarm system site will sound for no longer than 10 minutes after being activated.

(e) A security alarm system user shall not use an automatic voice dialer.

(f) Violations of subsections (a), (b), (c) and (d) of this section shall result in an assessment of a civil penalty against the security alarm system user in the amount of $50. A violation of subsection (e) of this section shall result in the assessment of a civil penalty against the security alarm system user in the amount of $100.

76 Del. Laws, c. 179, § 4; 81 Del. Laws, c. 73, §§ 5, 6.;

(a) A security alarm business shall provide written and oral instructions to each of its security alarm system users for every security alarm system site on the proper use and operation of its security alarm systems. Such instructions shall specifically include all instructions necessary to turn the security alarm system on and off and instructions on the avoidance of false alarms.

(b) A security alarm business shall be responsible for the prevention of false alarms during installations, servicing, repairs and maintenance of security alarm systems.

(c) A security alarm business shall ensure that battery backup power is installed during new installations of security alarm systems.

(d) A security alarm business shall not use an automatic voice dialer.

(e) A security alarm business providing monitoring services shall attempt to verify an activated alarm signal by contacting at least 2 different telephone numbers provided by a security alarm system user who has authority to cancel the dispatch before a security alarm system dispatch request is made, unless the security alarm system administrator has waived the 2-call dispatch requirement. This subsection shall not apply to duress and holdup alarms.

(f) A security alarm business that issues security alarm system dispatch requests must maintain for a period of at 1 year from the date of a security alarm system dispatch request, records relating to security alarm system dispatch requests. Records must include name, address and telephone number of the security alarm system user, the security alarm system zone or zones activated, the time of a security alarm system dispatch request and evidence of its efforts to verify. These records shall immediately be made available to the security alarm system administrator or any police officer at any time during normal business hours.

(g) A security alarm business providing monitoring services shall provide the relevant police department or departments with a toll-free telephone number for contacting monitoring station dispatchers and for obtaining information as provided in subsection (f) of this section.

(h) A security alarm business shall not make a security alarm system dispatch request if monitoring equipment indicates a security alarm system malfunction.

(i) After completion of the installation of a security alarm system, an employee of the security alarm business responsible for installing the security alarm system shall review with the security alarm system user a false alarm prevention checklist approved by the security alarm system administrator.

(j) A security alarm business responsible for monitoring a security alarm system at a registered security alarm system site shall not make a security alarm system dispatch request to a law-enforcement authority in response to a burglar alarm signal, excluding panic, duress and holdup signals, during the first 7 days following a security alarm system installation. The security alarm system administrator may grant a security alarm system user's request for an exemption from this waiting period based upon a determination that special circumstances substantiate the need for the exemption.

(k) A security alarm business responsible for monitoring a security alarm system at a registered security alarm system site shall:

(1) Report alarm signals by using telephone numbers designated by the security alarm system administrator;

(2) Communicate security alarm system dispatch requests to law-enforcement;

(3) Communicate cancellations to the law-enforcement authority;

(4) Ensure that all security alarm system users of security alarm systems equipped with a duress, holdup or panic alarm are given adequate training as to the proper use of the duress, holdup or panic alarm;

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

(6) Communicate the type of alarm activation (silent or audible, interior or perimeter);

(7) Provide a security alarm system user registration number when requesting law-enforcement dispatch;

(8) After a security alarm system dispatch request, promptly advise the law-enforcement authority if the monitoring company knows that the security alarm system user or the responder is on the way to the security alarm system site;

(9) Attempt to contact the security alarm system user within 24 hours via mail, fax, telephone, or other electronic means when an security alarm system dispatch is made; and,

(10) Upon the effective date of this section, monitoring companies must maintain for a period of at least 1 year from the date of the security alarm system dispatch request, records relating to security alarm system dispatch requests. Records must include the name, address and telephone number of the security alarm system user, the security alarm system zones or zones activated, the time of security alarm system dispatch request and evidence of an attempt to verify. The security alarm system administrator may request copies of such records for individually named security alarm system users. If the request is made within 60 days of an security alarm system dispatch request, the monitoring company shall furnish requested records within 3 business days of receiving the request. If the records are requested between 60 days to 1 year after security alarm system dispatch request, the monitoring company shall furnish the requested records within 30 days of receiving the request.

(11) A security alarm system installation company and/or monitoring company that purchases security alarm system accounts from another person shall notify the security alarm system administrator of such purchase and provide details as may be reasonably requested by the security alarm system administrator.

76 Del. Laws, c. 179, § 4; 81 Del. Laws, c. 73, §§ 3, 5, 6.;

(a) The Department of Safety and Homeland Security, or its designee, shall:

(1) Designate a manner, form and telephone number for the communication of security alarm system dispatch requests; and

(2) Establish a procedure to accept cancellation of security dispatch requests, which shall be used by the security alarm system administrator to enforce the provisions of this section.

(b) The security alarm system administrator shall establish a procedure to record such information on security alarm system dispatch requests necessary to permit the security alarm system administrator to maintain records, including, but not limited to, the information listed below:

(1) Identification of the registration number for the security alarm system site;

(2) Identification of the security alarm system site;

(3) Date and time security alarm system dispatch request was received, including the name of the monitoring company and the monitoring operator name or number;

(4) Date and time of law-enforcement authority arrival at the security alarm system site;

(5) Zone and zone description, if available;

(6) Weather conditions;

(7) Name of security alarm system user's representative at the security alarm system site, if any;

(8) Identification of the responsible security alarm system installation company or monitoring company;

(9) If the law-enforcement authority was unable to locate the address of the security alarm system site; and,

(10) Cause of the alarm signal, if known.

(c) The security alarm system administrator shall establish a procedure for the notification of a false alarm to the security alarm system user. The notice shall include the following information:

(1) The date and time of law-enforcement authority response to the false alarm;

(2) A statement urging the security alarm system user to ensure that the security alarm system is properly operated, inspected and serviced in order to avoid false alarms and resulting fines.

(d) The security alarm system administrator may require a conference with a security alarm system user and the security alarm system installation company and/or monitoring company responsible for the repair or monitoring of the security alarm system to review the circumstances of each false alarm.

(e) The security alarm system administrator may require a security alarm system user to remove a holdup alarm that is a single action, nonrecessed button, if a false holdup alarm has occurred.

76 Del. Laws, c. 179, § 4; 81 Del. Laws, c. 73, §§ 4, 6.;

No security alarm system user shall cause, allow or permit the security alarm system to give 3 false alarms at a security alarm system site within a calendar year.

76 Del. Laws, c. 179, § 4; 81 Del. Laws, c. 73, § 6.;

A security alarm system user in violation of § 1227 of this title shall be subject to a civil penalty as follows:

(1) Fourth false alarm: $50 civil penalty;

(2) Fifth false alarm: $75 civil penalty;

(3) Sixth false alarm: $100 civil penalty;

(4) Seventh and any false alarm thereafter within a calendar year: $250 civil penalty for each offense.

76 Del. Laws, c. 179, § 4; 81 Del. Laws, c. 73, § 6.;

(a) Summons and notice of violation. — A summons for payment of a violation of this subchapter may be executed by mailing such summons to the security alarm system user at the address where the security alarm system is located.

(b) Payment. — Persons electing to pay a civil penalty shall make payments to the entity designated on the summons for payment. Procedure for payment under this section shall be by regulation of the Department of Safety and Homeland Security, or by regulation, code or ordinance of the applicable municipality or county.

(c) Procedure to contest a violation. — A security alarm system user receiving a summons pursuant to this subchapter may request a hearing to contest the violation by notifying, in writing, the entity designated on the summons within 30 days of the date of the mailing of the summons. Upon receipt of a timely request for a hearing, an administrative hearing shall be scheduled pursuant to regulations set forth by the Department of Safety and Homeland Security and the security alarm system user shall be notified of the hearing date by first class mail. The hearing may be informal and shall be held in accordance with the regulations of the Department of Safety and Homeland Security. Costs for such hearing shall not be assessed against the prevailing party.

(d) Appeal of administrative hearing. — Either party may elect to appeal an administrative decision to the Justice of the Peace Court, which shall have exclusive jurisdiction to hear the appeal. An appeal to the Justice of the Peace Court shall be the final right of appeal.

(e) Failure to pay and successfully contest the violation. — If the security alarm system user fails to pay the civil penalty, to respond to the summons within the time specified on the summons, and/or to successfully contest the civil penalty, the Department of Safety and Homeland Security, or its designee, may establish procedures for the collection of these civil penalties, and may enforce the civil penalty by civil action in the Justice of the Peace Court, including seeking judgment and execution on a judgment against the security alarm system user.

76 Del. Laws, c. 179, § 4; 81 Del. Laws, c. 73, § 6.;

In the interest of public safety, all information contained in and gathered through the security alarm system registration applications shall be confidential information.

76 Del. Laws, c. 179, § 4; 81 Del. Laws, c. 73, § 6.;