Township of Willingboro, NJ
Burlington County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Added 3-13-2007 by Ord. No. 2007-3]

§ 3-123 Establishment. [1]

The Township Council hereby establishes a paid and part-paid Fire Department and force and provides for the maintenance, regulation and control thereof and, except as otherwise provided by law, appoints such members, officers and personnel as shall be deemed necessary, determines their terms of office, fixes their compensation and prescribes their powers, functions and duties and adopts and promulgates rules and regulations for the government of the Department and force and for the discipline of its members. The Township Manager shall be the appropriate authority as provided in N.J.S.A. 40A:14-7 et seq. and N.J.S.A. 40A:14-68 et seq.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).

§ 3-124 Fire Chief.

The Fire Chief shall be charged with the overall responsibility for fire protection and education, fighting and extinguishing all fires, and the operation and maintenance of all firehouses, apparatus and equipment. The Fire Chief shall have sole authority at the scene of a fire pursuant to authority of N.J.S.A. 40A:14-54.1.
A. 
Appointment. The Fire Chief shall be appointed by the appointing authority pursuant to the rules and regulations prescribed by the State of New Jersey Department of Personnel.
B. 
Qualifications. The Fire Chief shall be a citizen of the United States and shall be qualified by education and training, including at least five years of experience, three years of which were in supervision of fireground suppression activities and two years of which must include managerial experience such as budget preparation and policy or procedure development. The Fire Chief, in accordance with N.J.A.C. 5:73-1.6(b) and (c) and N.J.A.C. 5:73-6.1, must possess a valid incident management certification issued by the New Jersey Division of Fire Safety, Department of Community Affairs.
C. 
Residency. The Fire Chief shall not be required to be a resident of the municipality during his/her term of appointment in accordance with N.J.S.A. 40A:14-9.1, but must be a resident in the State of New Jersey in accordance with N.J.S.A. 40A:14-9.8.
D. 
Powers and duties. The Fire Chief shall, pursuant to the polices established by the Township Manager:
(1) 
Be the executive head of the Fire Department, subject to the direction and supervision by the Director of Public Safety, and shall be responsible to the Township Manager, through the Director of Public Safety, for the efficiency and routine day-to-day operations of the Department and the supervision of all its activities, including the performance of all functions assigned to the Fire Chief under any collective bargaining agreements applicable to employees with the Fire Department;
(2) 
Be responsible for the observation and enforcement of all laws of the state and ordinances within the jurisdiction of the Fire Department and shall perform such other duties as shall be prescribed by ordinance or by directive of the Township Manager and/or Director of Public Safety;
(3) 
Administer and enforce rules and regulations and special emergency directives for the disposition and discipline of the Fire Department and its officers and personnel;
(4) 
Have, exercise and discharge the functions, powers and duties of the Fire Department;
(5) 
Prescribe the duties and assignments of all subordinates and other personnel;
(6) 
Delegate any authority that the Fire Chief may deem necessary for the efficient operation of the Department, to be exercised under the direction and supervision of the Fire Chief;
(7) 
Ensure that all persons connected with the Fire Department are properly instructed in their duties and shall give particular attention to the training and instruction of new members thereof;
(8) 
Have control of all records and property of the Fire Department and designate any member of the Fire Department to prepare reports and keep the records in the manner that the Fire Chief may prescribe, as well as to take charge of any property coming into the custody of the Fire Department;
(9) 
Furnish to the Director of Public Safety and/or Township Manager in such form as shall be prescribed by the Director of Public Safety and/or Township Manager complete monthly and yearly reports on the operation of the Fire Department and make such other reports as may be requested by the Director of Public Safety and/or Township Manager;
(10) 
Notify the Fire Official of and assist him/her in suppressing any crime of arson by investigating or causing to be investigated the cause, origin and circumstances of all questionable fires;
(11) 
The Fire Chief or any other line officer designated by the Fire Chief shall report to the Fire Official any suspected violation of Chapter 170, Article I, Fire Prevention Code, and shall cooperate with the Fire Official in the investigation, reporting and enforcement of any such violation.

§ 3-125 Action of Council.

Except as provided herein, the Township Council and individual Council members shall act in all matters relating to the fire function in the municipality as a body, or through the Director of Public Safety and/or Township Manager.

§ 3-126 Investigations and emergencies.

Nothing herein contained shall prevent the appointment by the Township Council of committees or commissions to conduct investigations of the operation of the Fire Department and the delegation to those committees or commissions of those powers of inquiry as the Township Council deems necessary or to conduct any hearing or investigation authorized by law. Nothing herein contained shall prevent the Director of Public Safety and/or Township Manager from examining at any time the operations of the Fire Department or the performance of any fire officer, firefighter, or member thereof. In addition, nothing herein contained shall infringe on or limit power or duty of the Township Council, the Township Manager, or Director of Public Safety to act to provide for the health, safety or welfare of the municipality in an emergency situation through special emergency directive.

§ 3-127 Qualifications of members.

A. 
Full-time members.
(1) 
Each applicant for a full-time position as a fire officer or firefighter of the Fire Department of the Township of Willingboro shall:
(a) 
Fire officer: meet basic requirements for a position as a fire officer of the Fire Department of the Township as set forth in N.J.A.C. 5:73-1.6(b) and (c) and N.J.A.C. 5:73-6.1 and in other general statues and applicable special legislation and pursuant to the rules and regulations of the State Department of Personnel with respect to the position and meet the additional qualifications hereinafter set forth in this subsection.
(b) 
Firefighter: meet basic requirements for a position as a firefighter of the Fire Department of the Township as set forth in N.J.A.C. 5:73 Subchapter 4 and in other general statues and applicable special legislation and pursuant to the rules and regulations of the State Department of Personnel with respect to the position and meet the additional qualifications hereinafter set forth in this subsection.
(c) 
Be more than 18 and less than 35 years of age.
(d) 
Be sound in body and of good health sufficient to satisfy the State Board of Trustees of the Police and Fireman's Retirement System that such person is eligible for membership in the retirement system.
(e) 
Be able to read, write, and speak the English language.
(f) 
Be of good moral character and must not have been convicted of any crime involving moral turpitude.
(g) 
Satisfactorily serve a probationary period and successfully complete a fire training course as provided by law.
(2) 
All applicants for the position of fire officer and firefighter, who have qualified under State Department of Personnel rules and met the requirements of all internal hiring procedures, shall make written application to the Fire Chief and at the same time submit such proof as shall be requested with respect to the above qualifications.
(3) 
Residency. All full-time fire officers and firefighters shall not be required to be a resident of the municipality during his/her term of appointment in accordance with N.J.S.A. 40A:14-9.1, but must be a resident in the State of New Jersey in accordance with N.J.S.A. 40A:14-9.8.
B. 
Volunteer members.
(1) 
Each applicant for a volunteer position as a fire officer, firefighter, or fire police officer of the Fire Department of the Township of Willingboro, through the Willingboro Fire Company No. 1, shall:
(a) 
Fire officer: meet basic requirements for a position as a fire officer of the Fire Department of the Township as set forth in N.J.A.C. 5:73-1.6(b) and (c) and N.J.A.C. 5:73-6.1 and in other general statues and applicable special legislation and meet the additional qualifications hereinafter set forth in this subsection.
(b) 
Firefighter: meet basic requirements for a position as a firefighter of the Fire Department of the Township as set forth in N.J.A.C. 5:73 Subchapter 4 and in other general statues and applicable special legislation and meet the additional qualifications hereinafter set forth in this subsection.
(c) 
Fire police officer: meet basic requirements for a position as a fire police officer of the Fire Department of the Township as set forth in N.J.A.C. 5:73 Subchapter 7 and in other general statues and applicable special legislation and meet the additional qualifications hereinafter set forth in this subsection.
(d) 
Be at least 18 years of age.
(e) 
Be able to read, write, and speak the English language.
(f) 
Be of good moral character and must not have been convicted of any crime involving moral turpitude.
(g) 
Satisfactorily serve a probationary period and successfully complete a fire training course as provided by law.
(2) 
All applicants for the position of fire officer, firefighter, and fire police officer shall make written application to the Fire Chief and at the same time submit such proof as shall be requested with respect to the above qualifications.
(3) 
Membership in the Fire Company shall not exceed 150 active members, who shall be elected to the Company/Department upon favorable completion of the application. Membership shall be open to all residents of the State of New Jersey who must be 18 years of age and pass a physical examination. It shall be the duties of all active members of the Fire Company/Department to participate in drills and instruction as prescribed in this section and to aid the Fire Chief and other line officers to the best of their ability in the prevention and control of fire and the protection of life and property within the Township and wherever else the Fire Company/Department may have cause to conduct operations.
(4) 
Residency. All volunteer fire officers and firefighters shall not be required to be a resident of the municipality during his/her term of appointment, but must be a resident in the State of New Jersey.
C. 
Junior Firefighter's Auxiliary. Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:14-95 et seq., there is established the Junior Firefighter's Auxiliary of the Willingboro Fire Department.
(1) 
Any individual residing in the Township between the ages of 16 and 17 years shall be eligible for membership, provided written permission shall first be obtained from the individual's parent or guardian. The permission shall be acknowledged or proved in the manner required by law for deeds to real estate to be recorded. The original of written permission shall be filed with the Fire Chief.
(2) 
No individual shall be accepted into membership in the Auxiliary unless the individual shall first submit a statement from the individual's physician that the individual is in good health and is physically fit to serve.
(3) 
Members of the Auxiliary shall be insured with the same coverage and in the same amount provided for the regular volunteer firefighters of the Company.
(4) 
The number of members of the Auxiliary shall not exceed 20% of the total active membership of the Company provided for in Subsection B(3) of this section. The Fire Chief shall be empowered to remove a person from membership in the Auxiliary for the willful violation of the rules and regulations of the Auxiliary or for other good cause, provided that person shall be first given an opportunity for a hearing before the Fire Chief.
(5) 
The following rules and regulations shall govern the activities of the Auxiliary:
(a) 
Members shall attend training and educational programs appropriate to the fire service, including attendance at the Burlington County Emergency Services Training Center.
(b) 
No member shall be required to perform duties which would expose the member to the same degree of hazard as a regular member of the Company, except as may be required under training and supervision.
(c) 
No member shall don breathing apparatus or operate the aerialscope bucket or dangerous machinery, except as may be required under training and supervision.
(d) 
No member shall operate or drive fire equipment.
(e) 
No member shall enter or be on the roof of a burning building. When responding to an alarm, a member shall be assigned to work around a fire truck and in a safe area of the fire grounds. No member shall directly fight fire or be near a burning building or hazardous area or condition involving the handling of dangerous or poisonous acids or dyes or injurious quantities of toxic or noxious dust, gases, vapor or fumes.
(f) 
Members who respond to an alarm shall be seated and belted inside the cab of a fire truck when there is space available. No member shall respond to an alarm by riding on the back steps of the fire apparatus.

§ 3-128 Powers and duties of members.

The rights, privileges, powers and duties of the fire officers and firefighters of the Fire Department, including fire police officers, shall be those prescribed by the laws of the state governing municipal fire departments generally, by the Charter and ordinances and resolutions of the Township of Willingboro and such rules and regulations which may from time to time be established by the Fire Chief with the approval of the Director of Public Safety and/or Township Manager.

§ 3-129 Hours of employment.

Each member of the Fire Department shall devote his or her time and services thereto, except as provided in § 3-132. Although certain hours will be allotted for the performance of regular tours of duty, fire officers and firefighters are considered at all times available for duty and must act promptly at any time their services are required, except when on an authorized leave or in the event of disability.

§ 3-130 Promotions.

No member of the Fire Department shall be promoted to or hold any superior rank within the Fire Department until the fire officer and firefighter has served at least three years in the Fire Department.

§ 3-131 Relief from duty.

The Fire Chief, with the consent of the Director of Public Safety and the approval of the Township Manager, shall have the power to relieve from duty any member of the Fire Department for the violation of any provision of this article or any rule governing the Fire Department until such time as complaint and charge against such member have been disposed of by formal hearing.

§ 3-132 Outside employment.

Each full-time fire officer and firefighter appointed to the Fire Department of the Township of Willingboro may pursue other employment outside of the duty hours as prescribed by the Township Manager and subject to the approval of the Township Manager.

§ 3-133 Mutual aid to neighboring communities.

The Fire Chief is authorized to extend aid to neighboring communities, upon request, for fire protection or to establish a mutual aid plan pursuant to N.J.A.C. 5:75A et seq.

§ 3-134 Equipment.

The following regulations shall govern the purchase, use and storage of fire apparatus and equipment in the Township of Willingboro:
A. 
Recommendations for the purchase of apparatus and equipment required to maintain the effective operations of the Fire Department and to properly protect life and property from fire shall be made by the Fire Chief to the Director of Public Safety and/or Township Manager. Such recommendations shall be considered by the Fire Chief in negotiating annual capital requirements with the Township Manager.
B. 
All Township equipment of the Department shall be safely and conveniently housed by the Fire Department. Such places shall be adequately heated during winter months.
C. 
Suitable arrangements shall be provided for the proper testing and functioning of the fire alarm system.
D. 
No person shall, without authority or permission from the Fire Chief, use for private purposes, conceal, handle, or remove from any place of storage any fire apparatus or equipment.
E. 
No unauthorized person shall enter any place where fire apparatus is housed unless accompanied by, or having the special permission of, a fire officer or authorized member of the Company/Department.
F. 
No apparatus of the Township shall be permitted to leave the Township without the consent of the Fire Chief, except in response to a call for aid from a neighboring community, in which case the Fire Chief or the next highest ranking officer available will be required. Such assignment of equipment shall be made only when the absence of the equipment will not jeopardize fire protection in the Township.