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Borough of Catasauqua, PA
Lehigh County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Catasauqua 8-6-2001 by Ord. No. 1124 (Ch. VI, Part 2A, of the 1962 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Fire prevention — See Ch. 130, Art. IV.
Pensions, retirement and benefits — See Ch. 55.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
ACTIVE FIRE FIGHTERS
Members of the Catasauqua Fire Department who have at least one year of training by the Fire Department, including on-job training, and who, in the opinion of the Fire Chief, have qualified to fight fires and perform other emergency services normally associated with a fire department. In addition to the above, active fire fighters must have completed their Pennsylvania Fire Academy "Essentials of Fire Fighting" program.
BOROUGH MANAGER
The Borough Manager of the Borough of Catasauqua.
CHIEF OF POLICE
The Chief of Police of the Borough of Catasauqua.
COMPANY
Any fire company in existence at the time of the passage of this chapter or, in the event of the establishment of a centralized fire station, those companies designated by the Fire Chief.
COUNCIL
Council of the Borough of Catasauqua.
FIRE CHIEF
The Fire Chief of the Borough of Catasauqua.
FIRE DEPARTMENT
The Borough of Catasauqua Fire Department.
FIRE POLICE
Duly appointed members of the Catasauqua Fire Police.
OFFICERS
Any qualified active fire fighter duly appointed or elected as an officer of the Catasauqua Fire Department.
ROG
The Catasauqua Fire Department Recommended Operating Procedures.
A. 
The Catasauqua Fire Department shall be composed of the active fire fighters of the following fire and rescue companies: the East End Hose and Chemical Company No. 1; the Southwark Hose Company No. 9; the Phoenix Fire Company No. 1; and the Catasauqua Rescue Squad.
B. 
The Borough may, at any time, however, by the amendment of this chapter change the composition of the Catasauqua Fire Department by recognizing the active fire fighters of one or more additional fire companies located either within or outside of the Borough as members of the Fire Department or by removing any fire company from the list of those comprising the Fire Department.
C. 
In the event that the Borough should establish a centralized fire station, the names of all the above-mentioned fire companies shall be dissolved and the apparatus of each company shall be numbered by the Fire Chief according to the unit numbers assigned by the Lehigh County Communications Center.
The function of the active members of the Catasauqua Fire Department shall be as follows:
A. 
To answer any type of fire alarm or call whether it be a general alarm, private call, investigation of a reported fire or any emergency call of any type within the limits of the Borough of Catasauqua or outside of the limits as provided by mutual aid agreement, service agreements or other agreements executed by Borough Council.
B. 
To engage in any type of drill, training, ceremony, practice tests, parades or other duty when duly called or authorized by the Fire Chief or, in his absence, a duly appointed designee.
The chief executive officer of the Catasauqua Fire Department shall be the Fire Chief who shall be appointed yearly by and serve at the pleasure of Borough Council. In case of a vacancy in the office of Fire Chief, Borough Council shall appoint an Acting Fire Chief until another Fire Chief can be selected. The Fire Chief shall receive such compensation as Borough Council may establish from time to time.
A. 
Powers and duties of the Fire Chief. The powers and duties of the Fire Chief shall be as follows:
(1) 
The Chief shall attend all fires and alarms answered by the Catasauqua Fire Department and supervise and direct the operations of the companies belonging to the Fire Department except in any case where the Chief shall be absent from the Borough for legitimate reasons. In the event that the Chief shall be absent from the Borough, the Chief shall notify the Assistant Chief who shall serve as Acting Fire Chief and shall perform all the duties and exercise all of the authority vested with the Fire Chief. In the event of the absence of the Fire Chief and the Assistant Chief, the Deputy Chief shall serve as Acting Fire Chief. In the event of the absence of the Fire Chief, Assistant Chief or Deputy Chief, the first Captain to arrive at the scene of a fire or emergency call will serve as the Acting Fire Chief.
(2) 
The Chief shall assign the duties of the Assistant Chief to Training Officer, Communications Officer and Quartermaster; the duties of the Deputy Chief to Safety Officer, Fire Prevention Officer and Personnel Officer.
(3) 
The Chief shall have full authority over all of the active fire fighters, all apparatus belonging to the Catasauqua Fire Department and shall issue and enforce such orders which, in the Chief's judgment, are necessary for the protection of lives and property.
(4) 
The Chief shall enforce all of the rules and regulations of the Fire Department and all orders pertaining thereto.
(5) 
The Chief shall annually, in the month of January, submit a full report of the activities of the Fire Department to Borough Council for the preceding year which shall include a list of all fires within and outside the Borough, the costs of the fires and the losses resulting therefrom.
(6) 
The Chief shall inform the Borough Manager of any conditions in the Borough which, in his opinion, constitute a safety and fire hazard.
(7) 
The Chief shall perform such other duties and may exercise such other authority as shall be prescribed in this chapter or in any other ordinance which Borough Council may adopt.
(8) 
The Chief shall provide Borough Council a monthly fire report of responses, property loss and, when applicable, injuries or death to civilians or fire fighters.
The officers of the Catasauqua Fire Department shall be nominated or elected from an eligibility list in accordance with the guidelines of the Catasauqua Fire Department ROG.
A. 
Assistant/Deputy Chief. There shall be one Assistant Chief and one Deputy Chief who shall be appointed by Council. The membership of the active fire fighters shall submit nominees for Assistant Chief and Deputy Chief from the eligibility list. The nominees are to be determined by election during the month of December. The Fire Chief shall confirm the names of the persons nominated to Borough Council and may make recommendations to Council on the individuals who were nominated. Borough Council shall act on the persons submitted by the Fire Chief in the month of January at its regularly scheduled monthly meeting or at a special public meeting. Appointments are to be for the calendar year in which the appointment is made, beginning on the date of appointment and ending December 31. Unless specific action is taken by Borough Council to the contrary, all then current appointees as of December 31 will remain in their position on an interim basis until Council's regularly scheduled, or special, public meeting in January of the succeeding year. In the event that Council is dissatisfied with the persons submitted, it shall notify the Fire Chief in writing that another person(s) shall be submitted and the fire fighters shall renominate for the position(s) in question. During the interim period that a renomination is taking place, the Fire Chief shall appoint persons to serve as Acting Assistant Chief or Acting Deputy Chief. In the event of a vacancy in the position of Assistant Chief or Deputy Chief during a calendar year, the Fire Chief shall, with approval of Council, appoint any qualified active fire fighter to fill the vacancy for the remainder of the year.
(1) 
The Assistant Chief and Deputy Chief shall be under the supervision and direction of the Fire Chief.
(a) 
Assistant Chief: training. The Assistant Chief shall be responsible for training and be required to plan and administer a systematic program of training drills. The Assistant Chief shall form and head the Fire Department training committee. The Assistant Chief shall be responsible for keeping records of training activities and shall make recommendations to the Fire Chief on methods of improving the quality of training operations.
(b) 
Candidates for fire schools held outside the Borough of Catasauqua shall have prior approval of Borough Council.
(c) 
The Assistant Chief shall also be responsible for taking care of all communications equipment and assure that all such equipment is accounted for and is in proper working condition. The Assistant Chief shall serve as the Fire Department Quartermaster and be responsible to issue and maintain the personal protective equipment and shall also maintain the Fire Department supply room. The Assistant Chief may assign a fire fighter as an assistant.
(2) 
Deputy Chief. The Deputy Chief shall be the Fire Department Safety Officer and Fire Prevention Officer. The Deputy Chief shall form a Department Safety Committee and head it. The Deputy Chief may appoint a fire fighter to assist, who will be the on-scene Safety and Accountability Officer. The Deputy Chief shall administer the annual fire fighter physical program. The Deputy Chief shall form and head the Fire Prevention Education Committee and may appoint a fire fighter to assist as a fire prevention officer. The Deputy Chief shall assist the Chief and the Assistant Chief when requested with additional duties.
(3) 
The Assistant Chief and/or Deputy Chief shall assume command at fire or other emergency scene in the absence of the Chief and shall direct operations until the Chief arrives. When the Chief arrives at the fire or emergency scene, the Assistant Chief and Deputy Chief shall report and follow the orders of the Chief. They may supervise operations as directed and may give orders to subordinate officers and active fire fighters. The first officer to arrive at any fire or emergency scene shall be the active officer in charge until a higher-ranking officer arrives.
B. 
Election of Captains and Engineers for each fire company. There shall be one Captain and one Engineer for each piece of apparatus belonging to the Catasauqua Fire Department. Each Captain and Engineer shall be elected annually in the month of December, in accordance with the guidelines of the Catasauqua Fire Department ROG for the following calendar year beginning January 1 and ending December 31, by the active fire fighters of the company to which they are assigned. The names of the persons elected by each company as the Captains and Engineer shall be submitted in writing to the Fire Chief within five days after the elections take place. The Fire Chief shall confirm the names of the persons elected to Borough Council and may make recommendations to Council on the officers who were elected. Borough Council shall act on the list of elected officers which is submitted by the Fire Chief in the month of January at its regularly scheduled meeting. Appointments are to be for the calendar year in which the appointment is made, beginning on the date of appointment and ending December 31. Unless specific action is taken by Borough Council to the contrary, all then current appointees as of December 31 will remain in their position on an interim basis until Council's regularly scheduled, or special, public meeting in January of the succeeding year. In the event that Council is dissatisfied with any of the elected officers submitted, it shall notify the Fire Chief in writing that a new officer shall be elected for the position and the respective company shall have a reelection for the position in question. The name of the person who is not approved by Council may not appear on the new ballot. The name of the new person elected shall be submitted to Council by the Fire Chief no later than the February meeting of Council. In the event that Council would still be dissatisfied with the officer selected, it may appoint a person to the position in question. During the interim period that a reelection is taking place, the Fire Chief shall appoint a person to serve as the Acting Officer for the unfilled position. In the event of a vacancy in the position of Captain and Engineer during a calendar year, the Fire Chief shall, with the approval of Council, appoint any qualified fire fighter to fill the vacancy for the remainder of the year.
C. 
Duties of Captains. Each Captain shall be in charge of the fire apparatus of the company. Each Captain shall be responsible for the care and maintenance of this apparatus and all the equipment which is assigned to the company. Each Captain shall also see to it that the apparatus and the equipment are always clean and ready for immediate use at all times. Each Captain shall keep the Fire Chief informed of the condition of the apparatus and shall immediately report any mechanical defects in this equipment. Each Captain shall be responsible for getting the apparatus and equipment of the Department ready for immediate service after each time they have been in use. At fire scenes or other emergencies, the Captain shall be responsible for the proper positioning of the apparatus of the company and for the operation of the equipment of the apparatus. Each Captain shall follow the orders of the superior officers and shall delegate orders to the personnel of the company. When there is no superior officer present at a fire or emergency scene, the Captain shall assume command of the operations until the superior officer arrives.
D. 
Engineers; drivers/operators.
(1) 
Engineers. The Engineer of each company shall be responsible for assisting the Captain in charge of the apparatus of the respective company and shall be responsible for and shall keep the vehicle and equipment in good condition and ready for immediate use. If the Engineer notices any mechanical problems with the apparatus or the equipment of the apparatus, the Engineer shall immediately report the problems to the Captain. The Engineer shall drive the apparatus and shall follow the orders of all of the superior officers. While driving the apparatus on public or private thoroughfares and property, the Engineer shall exercise due caution with regard to the safety of the vehicle and the safety of other vehicles and persons. The Engineer shall operate the equipment on the apparatus in accordance with the directions of the superior officers.
(2) 
Drivers/operators. The duties of the drivers/operators of each company shall be the same as those duties of the Engineer in their absence.
(3) 
An Engineer and/or driver/operator, upon conviction of a motor vehicle violation while on duty, may be suspended by Council for a period of up to one year.
(4) 
Each Engineer and/or driver/operator must annually prepare an operator certification of violations and personal driving record. This certification must include all motor vehicle violations with the following details: the date, offense, location and type of vehicle operated. The violations to be placed on the certification list shall only include matters in which there has been a plea or finding of guilt. This certification must be made pursuant to the provisions of 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 4904 covering unsworn falsification to authorities. Additional certifications may be requested of any Engineer and/or driver/operator at any time by the Chief. Upon review of the certification, the Chief may recommend to Council that the Engineer and/or driver/operator be removed or suspended from said position. Council shall then review the matter and determine if the Engineer and/or driver/operator shall be removed or suspended (and if suspended, the length of the same).
(5) 
Any Engineer and/or driver/operator who has his motor vehicle operator's license suspended or revoked must immediately report the same to the Chief and that the Engineer and/or driver/operator shall immediately be removed from said position by Council.
It shall be the duty of all active fire fighters to obey the commands of their superior officers while in fire service, including the cleaning and maintenance of equipment. Each fire fighter shall perform other duties in the station as assigned by the superior officers in order to keep the station in a clean and respectable condition. In addition to following the orders of the officers of a designated company, each fire fighter shall also obey the orders of the Fire Chief, the Assistant Chief, Deputy Chief and superior officers of the other companies. Each fire fighter shall perform the actual work at fire scenes and other emergencies as directed by his superior officers. In the event that no officer is present at a fire scene or other emergency, the senior active fire fighter of the company shall assume command of all operations until an officer arrives.
In order to assure a sufficient number of trained driver/operators, the Fire Chief may designate, upon the recommendation of the Captain of each company, additional active fire fighters to serve as backup driver/operators in the event that the Engineer of a company cannot be present for a fire call.
The Catasauqua Fire Department is a volunteer organization. As such, each member of the Department serves in an unpaid capacity. Any payment made by the Borough of Catasauqua to any of the officers or other personnel of the Department is explicitly not as compensation for the work they are performing, but is reimbursement for expenses incurred in the performance of their duties. Borough Council may establish guidelines for payment of any reimbursement, whether requiring documentation of actual expenses or establishing a flat rate of reimbursement, and may further establish a schedule of reimbursement payments.
An active fire fighter may be removed from the list of active fire fighters by the Fire Chief upon notification from the Captain of each company that the fire fighter has not responded to alarms for a one-month period or has not attended training sessions for a one-month period without a legitimate excuse. Upon removal from the list as an active fire fighter, the individual shall, within 10 days from the written notice of his removal, return all Department and company equipment to the Captain of the company. Failure to comply will result in the appropriate legal prosecution by the Borough.
Every member of the Fire Department shall obey all the provisions of this chapter and all the orders of the superior officers at all times when the Fire Department is engaged in any authorized activity. Any member, including any officer violating or failing to conform to any of the requirements of this section, shall be subject to suspension by the Fire Chief who shall report such suspension to the Borough Manager. It shall be the responsibility of the Borough Manager to report such suspension to Borough Council after giving the suspended member at least five days' written notice to appeal for a hearing before Council which shall proceed to investigate the charges made and shall hear both sides of the case. If Council shall find such charges to be well founded, it may, by majority vote, either suspend or expel the individual member from the Fire Department.
If any company, after having been admitted to the Catasauqua Fire Department, shall for any reason wish to leave the Department or to disband its personnel, all fire apparatus and fire equipment in the possession of the company shall revert to the Borough.
All needed repairs to any apparatus of the Catasauqua Fire Department shall be reported to the Borough Manager by the Fire Chief and shall be corrected as soon as possible under the direction of the Borough Manager and the Fire Chief.
No person other than an active fire fighter shall frequent, sleep in or loiter about any apparatus or equipment area in the Borough fire stations. No person shall consume alcoholic beverages or illegal drugs, nor gamble, nor create disturbance by fighting or disorderly conduct in any of the apparatus or equipment areas. All personnel shall leave the fire station before 2400 hours, until 0700 hours unless assigned for emergency standby by the Fire Chief.
[Amended 4-1-2013 by Ord. No. 1288]
It shall be the duty of the Captain of each company to see that all of the fire apparatus belonging to the Borough and assigned to the company shall at all times be kept in a clean and proper condition for immediate use, that all equipment shall be cleaned and placed upon the truck immediately after use, that all chemical tanks are properly filled and ready for use and that the apparatus is kept in the best possible condition at all times. It shall be unlawful for any person, except the officers of the Catasauqua Fire Department, at any time, to take any of the fire apparatus from the place where the same is kept. No such fire apparatus shall be removed from its fire house except for authorized Fire Department activities. Any person violating any of the provisions of this section shall, upon conviction therefor before the Mayor or any District Justice of the Borough, be sentenced to pay a fine of not more than $100 and costs of prosecution and, in default of payment thereof, imprisonment in the Lehigh County prison for not more than 30 days. Any person found guilty of violating an ordinance shall be assessed court costs and reasonable attorneys’ fees incurred by the Borough in the enforcement proceedings.
[Amended 4-1-2013 by Ord. No. 1288]
It shall be unlawful for any person to hinder or interfere with any of the activities of the Fire Department while the Department is engaged in going to or returning from a fire in the extinguishment thereof or to disobey any of the orders of the Fire Chief or designee which are issued at the scene of a fire for the control of the fire and lessening congestion and interference thereat, or for the safety of the members of the Fire Department and the public. Any person who shall violate any of the provisions of this section shall, upon conviction thereof before the Mayor or any District Justice of the Borough, be sentenced to pay a fine of not more than $100 and costs of prosecution, and in default of payment thereof, imprisonment for not more than 30 days in the Lehigh County prison. Any person found guilty of violating an ordinance shall be assessed court costs and reasonable attorneys’ fees incurred by the Borough in the enforcement proceedings.
The Fire Police of the Borough of Catasauqua shall be under the supervision and direction of the Chief of Police. All Fire Police shall be appointed or removed by the Chief of Police and shall receive compensation as established by Borough Council. All Fire Police shall be provided with uniforms as shall be designated by the Mayor and Chief of Police.
A. 
Officers. The officers of the Fire Police shall consist of one Captain, one Lieutenant, and one Sergeant who shall be elected by the Fire Police from their own membership on an annual basis. The Fire Police shall have their election of officers in the month of November for the following calendar year subject to the approval of the Chief of Police and Borough Council.
B. 
Function. The function of the Fire Police shall be to direct and control the flow of vehicular or pedestrian traffic during fire calls or perform any other appropriate related function as designated by the Chief of Police.
C. 
Membership. All Fire Police appointed by the Chief of Police must be members in good standing with one of the fire companies.
This chapter and any additional ordinances adopted by Borough Council shall supersede any regulation or bylaw of any company comprising the Catasauqua Fire Department.