Village of Ridgefield Park, NJ
Bergen County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Commissioners of the Village of Ridgefield Park 12-27-1983 by Ord. No. 12-83 (Ch. 29 of the 1985 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Police Department — See Ch. 77.
Salaries and compensation — See Ch. 91.
Fire protection — See Ch. 188.
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Fire Department Ordinance of Ridgefield Park."
The Fire Department of the Village of Ridgefield Park, hereinafter referred to as the "Department," shall consist of the active members of all legally incorporated volunteer fire companies in existence in the Village at the passage of this chapter, along with the Fire Prevention Bureau and the Junior Fire Department. No social member shall be considered a member of the Volunteer Fire Department.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).
A. 
The Department shall be responsible for the protection of life and property from fire pursuant to law, including all statutes of the State of New Jersey and of the United States and all ordinances, resolutions, rules and regulations of the Village of Ridgefield Park.
B. 
All members and employees of the Department shall be subject to all laws of the State of New Jersey which have been or may in the future be enacted concerning the conduct, responsibility, benefit, privileges and protection of members of volunteer fire companies.
A. 
The member of the Board of Commissioners under whose jurisdiction the Department is placed, hereinafter referred to as the "Commissioner," shall promulgate, with the assistance of the Chief of the Department, and may from time to time amend and supplement departmental rules which shall provide for the administration and operation of the Department, including the duties and rules of conduct for the members of the Department. These departmental rules shall also contain such other matters as are necessary for the proper and effective administrative function of the Fire Department.
B. 
In promulgating, amending and supplementing the departmental rules, the Commissioner in charge of the Department shall consult with the Board of Fire Officers to determine what shall be contained in the departmental rules.
C. 
The Commissioner shall promulgate, with the assistance of the Chief of the Department, separate rules and regulations for the administration and operation of the Junior Fire Department.
A. 
Membership requirements.
[Amended 12-8-1987 by Ord. No. 25-87]
(1) 
An "active member" of a Village fire company shall be defined as follows: any citizen who is elected to membership in such company according to its constitution and bylaws while between the age of 18 and 45 years of age, whose membership has been confirmed by the Commissioners.
(2) 
Residency requirements.
[Amended 11-10-1998 by Ord. No. 98-12]
(a) 
Membership shall be open to any resident of the Village of Ridgefield Park and the neighboring communities of Bogota, Teaneck, Leonia, Palisades Park, Ridgefield, Little Ferry, Moonachie, South Hackensack, Hackensack or any other community whose boundaries are within five miles of the Village.
(b) 
Active members of the Ridgefield Park Fire Department who move outside the geographic residency area set forth in § 55-5A(2)(a) may remain on active status in the Fire Department with the approval of the member's fire company and the Board of Fire Officers. Nonresident active members of the Fire Department shall not be eligible to serve as chief officers but shall be afforded all other rights and privileges afforded to resident members of the Fire Department. The status of nonresident members shall be reviewed and confirmed annually by the respective fire company and the Board of Fire Officers no later than the 1st of April of each year.
(3) 
Membership in the Fire Department also shall be open to those who work in the Village and who are willing to respond to alarms and emergency calls while employed within the Village.
(4) 
The Board of Fire Officers shall have the right to approve appropriate rules and regulations relating to the membership of individuals who are members of the Fire Department but who are not residents of the Village of Ridgefield Park. Such rules and regulations shall become enforceable only after they have been approved by the Commissioner in charge of the Department and, if necessary, have been adopted by ordinance.
B. 
Any active member of a volunteer fire company may be suspended or expelled as a member of the Department by the Chief of the Department or the Board of Fire Officers for failure to conform to the rules of the Department or for other improper conduct. He must be notified of such action within five days by certified or registered mail, return receipt requested.
C. 
Any active member so suspended or expelled by the Board of Fire Officers shall have the right of appeal before the Board of Commissioners.
D. 
Any active member of a volunteer fire company who may be suspended therefrom by the members thereof shall immediately cease to be a member of the Department. Notice of such suspension or expulsion shall forthwith be transmitted in writing by such fire company to the Commissioner.
(1) 
Any active member of a volunteer fire company may be suspended by the members thereof for just cause. Upon such suspension, the Board of Fire Officers and the Commissioners shall be notified in writing within five days by certified or registered mail, return receipt requested, of this action of suspension and the reasons for such suspension.
(2) 
A member suspended from a volunteer fire company shall have the right to a full hearing before the Board of Fire Officers to review such suspension.
(3) 
The individual so suspended shall have the right to counsel and to have sworn testimony taken under oath and to cross-examine all witnesses produced at the hearing.
(4) 
Upon the conclusion of such hearing, the Board of Fire Officers shall decide whether such suspension was for just cause and shall have the right to set aside the suspension or take such other action as it deems necessary.
(5) 
The decision of the Board of Fire Officers shall be subject to review by the Board of Commissioners, and an individual so suspended shall have a right to appeal the decision of the Board of Fire Officers.
(6) 
In the event the Board of Fire Officers decides to expel an individual from a fire company, the Board of Commissioners shall hold a plenary hearing on the expulsion and afford the individual who has been expelled the right to have counsel of his own choosing, to take sworn testimony under oath and cross-examine all witnesses produced at the hearing.
(7) 
All proceedings in connection with the suspension or expulsion shall be concluded within 30 days upon an individual's being notified that he has been suspended or expelled from the fire company.
(8) 
In the event that an individual is suspended by a volunteer fire company or expelled or suspended by the Board of Fire Officers, such individual shall not serve in any capacity as a member of the Fire Department until the conclusion of such proceeding.
E. 
All members shall attend at least one accredited fire school for a course in basic firemanship during their first year as an active fireman or as soon thereafter as practical in the event of scheduling problems.
F. 
An inactive member on medical leave for over 30 consecutive calendar days will not be returned to active duty unless his physical eligibility for return to active status is certified by the Fire Department Physician.
A. 
The line officers of each volunteer fire company shall be chosen according to the constitution and bylaws of such company, but no person shall enter upon the duties of office until he has:
(1) 
Completed four years of active service in the fire service. Time spent as an active member of other fire departments shall be accredited towards this requirement.
(2) 
Attended and completed a course in company training.
(3) 
Been confirmed for that purpose by the Commissioners.
B. 
The officers of the Department shall consist of a Fire Chief, First Assistant Chief, Second Assistant Chief, Fire Marshal and Assistant Fire Marshal, who shall be members in good standing of the Department and shall be elected by ballot of all members of the Department in the manner prescribed by the Department rules. Upon confirmation by the Commissioner, they shall enter upon the performance of their duties and hold office until their successors are appointed and qualify.
C. 
In the event that a vacancy shall occur during the term of the Chief, First Assistant Chief, Second Assistant Chief, Fire Marshal or Assistant Fire Marshal, the Department rules and regulations shall take effect. Vacancies in any office of any volunteer fire company shall be filled as prescribed by its constitution and bylaws.
A. 
The Fire Chief shall be the chief executive officer of the Department, subject to the direction and control of the Commissioner. He shall be responsible for all functions of the Department, including but not limited to the Fire Prevention Bureau, the Junior Fire Department, the fire apparatus and equipment used by the Department, and for the conduct, discipline and efficiency of the members of the Department, and for the enforcement of the Department rules and regulations.
B. 
The Board of Fire Officers shall consist of the three Chiefs and the Captain of each company. It shall be the duty of this Board to rule on and hear such cases as may be provided in this particular chapter and also to assist the Chiefs in such matters as the Chiefs may deem advisable.
[Amended 3-26-1985 by Ord. No. 6-85]
C. 
The First Assistant Chief shall perform the duties of Fire Chief in the absence of the Chief and such other duties as prescribed by the Department rules. It shall be the responsibility of the First Assistant Chief to ensure the thorough and efficient training of all companies and members of the Department, including but not limited to company and Department drills, Department schools and recognized fire schools and seminars.
D. 
The Second Assistant Chief shall perform the duties of Fire Chief in the absence of the Chief and First Assistant Chief and such other duties as prescribed by the Department rules. It shall be the responsibility of the Second Assistant Chief to oversee all departmental purchasing and acquisitions along with upkeep and maintenance of all departmental equipment.
E. 
Under the direction of the Chief of the Department, the Fire Marshal and Assistant Fire Marshal shall head the Fire Prevention Bureau and shall be responsible for the enforcement of all ordinances for the prevention of fires and laws, rules and regulations concerning the prevention of fires and shall have all of the powers and duties prescribed therein or thereby. The Fire Marshal and Assistant Fire Marshal shall also be responsible for the investigations of all fires and for the education of the general public for the betterment of fire prevention.
F. 
The Village Clerk shall act as Clerk of the Department and shall keep all records necessary for the proper and efficient administration of the Department, together with such other data as directed by the Commissioner or prescribed by the Department rules.
G. 
The Commissioner may appoint any licensed physician of the State of New Jersey, resident in the Village, to be Fire Department Physician. The Fire Department Physician shall perform such medical services as the Commissioner shall determine. The Commissioner may terminate the appointment of the Fire Department Physician at any time, without cause or hearing.
A. 
The active members of the respective volunteer fire companies shall be responsible for the operation and care of the fire apparatus and equipment entrusted to them by the Village and shall observe all Department rules regarding such operation and care.
B. 
No one but a member of the Department, duly licensed under the laws of the State of New Jersey to operate a motor vehicle and approved by the Commissioner as a driver therefor, shall operate any of the fire apparatus of the Village.
C. 
Each volunteer fire company shall annually designate one of their active members to be the Mechanic of such company. Upon confirmation as such by the Commissioner, the Mechanic shall perform the duties of his office prescribed by the Department rules.
D. 
The fire apparatus and equipment of the Village shall be used only for the purpose of fire control, fire prevention or instruction of members of the Department.
E. 
Fire apparatus and equipment shall not be removed from the Village except for the purpose of fire control, fire prevention or instruction of members of the Department, and only then with the consent of the Commissioner or in accordance with Department rules.
F. 
All "authorized emergency vehicles" as defined in N.J.S.A. 39:1-1, when operated by members of the volunteer fire company, shall have attached thereto all necessary sirens, whistles, bells and lights as may be required by the motor vehicle and traffic regulations set forth in Title 39 of the New Jersey Statutes Annotated and shall be operated by all members of the volunteer fire company in accordance with the aforesaid provisions of Title 39, New Jersey Statutes Annotated, including but not limited to N.J.S.A. 39:3-64, 39:3-69, 39:4-92 and 39:4-93.
A. 
The Fire Commissioner of the Village of Ridgefield Park shall fix the compensation to be paid to members of the Department to cover any losses that any of them may incur in attending upon and putting out fires in said Village.
B. 
The Chief, First Assistant Chief, Second Assistant Chief, Company Captains and Company Mechanics shall receive additional compensation for their services, payable once a year.
C. 
The Fire Marshal, Assistant Fire Marshal and Fire Inspectors shall receive additional compensation for their services, payable once a year.
A. 
Each active member of a volunteer fire company shall receive a copy of this chapter and a copy of any subsequent amendments thereto.
[Amended 3-26-1985 by Ord. No. 6-85]
B. 
In addition thereto, each active member of a volunteer fire company shall receive a copy of the rules and regulations of the Ridgefield Park Fire Department promulgated by the Fire Department and any amendments made thereto.
C. 
Rules and regulations shall be reviewed every five years.