[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Commissioners of the Township of Cheltenham as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Article I Establishment and Organization
Article II Defense and Indemnification
[Adopted 12-29-1977 by Ord. No. 1431 as Ch. 9, Art. I of the Cheltenham Code]
The Board of Commissioners of Cheltenham Township do ordain that the Fire Department of Cheltenham shall consist of the following volunteer fire companies:
Each fire company shall operate in a separate district as follows:
District No. 1: Glenside Fire Company No. 1, bounded on the north by township dividing line at the northernmost corner of Cheltenham Township, dividing Abington Township, Cheltenham Township and Springfield Township and extending southeastward along the division line between the Townships of Abington and Cheltenham to the Borough of Jenkintown; thence southwestward and southeastward along the dividing line between the Borough of Jenkintown and Cheltenham Township to Washington Lane; thence extending southwestward along Washington Lane to Church Road; thence northwestward along Church Road to Greenwood Avenue; thence southwestward along Greenwood Avenue to Limekiln Pike; thence southwestward along Limekiln Pike to Cheltenham Avenue; thence northwestward along Cheltenham Avenue to corner in Springfield Township line; thence northeastward along Springfield Township line to the first-mentioned point and place of beginning, division line of Abington-Cheltenham and Springfield Townships.
District No. 2: La Mott Fire Company No. 1, bounded on the southwest by Cheltenham Avenue, beginning at the intersection of Old York Road and extending northwestward along Cheltenham Avenue to Limekiln Pike; thence northeastward along Limekiln Pike to Greenwood Avenue; thence northeastward along Greenwood Avenue to Church Road; thence southeastward along Church Road to Washington Lane; thence southwestward along Washington Lane to Ashbourne Road; thence southeastward along Ashbourne Road to Old York Road; thence southwestward along Old York Road to the first-mentioned point and place of beginning, Cheltenham Avenue.
District No. 3: Elkins Park Fire Company, bounded on the southwest by Cheltenham Avenue, beginning at the intersection of Old York Road and extending southeastward along Cheltenham Avenue to New Second Street; thence extending northeastward along New Second Street to Township Line Road; thence northwestward along Township Line Road to Forrest Avenue; thence southwestward along Forrest Avenue to York Road; thence still southwestward along York Road to the first-mentioned place and point of beginning, Cheltenham Avenue.
District No. 4: Cheltenham Hook and Ladder Company No. 1, bounded on the northeast by Cottman Avenue, beginning at the intersection of Hasbrook Avenue and extending northwestward along Cottman Avenue and Township Line Road to New Second Street; thence extending southwestward along New Second Street to Cheltenham Avenue; thence southeastward along Cheltenham Avenue to the southernmost corner of Cheltenham Township; thence in a general northeasterly direction along its various courses along the Newtown-New York Branch of Reading Railroad and township line to a point of intersection of Hasbrook Avenue and Old Soldiers Road; thence still northeastward along Hasbrook Avenue to the first-mentioned point and place of beginning, Cottman Avenue.
District No. 5: Ogontz Fire Company, bounded as follows: beginning at the intersection of Old York Road and Forrest Avenue and extending southwestward along Old York Road to Ashbourne Road; thence extending northwestward along Ashbourne Road to Washington Lane; thence extending northeastward along Washington Lane to Township Line Road; thence extending southeastward along Township Line Road to Forrest Avenue to the first-mentioned point and place of beginning, Old York Road.
[Amended 12-15-1998 by Ord. No. 1932-98]
Each volunteer fire company which is a member of the Department shall maintain an active fire-fighting force of at least 20 members and shall be subject to the control and jurisdiction of the Board of Township Commissioners. All active members of the fire companies who are 16 years of age or older shall be members of the Fire Department.
There shall be a Fire Board consisting of nine members; five members shall be the Fire Chiefs of the individual fire companies, one member shall be the Chairman of the Public Safety Committee of the Board of Commissioners, and three members shall be members of the Board of Commissioners.
[Added 11-21-1995 by Ord. No. 1846-95]
Meetings. The Fire Board shall meet monthly, in the Township Building on the third Wednesday of the month. If the regular time or place of meeting is to be changed, it must be done at a prior meeting, and all members shall receive at least two weeks' written notice thereof prior to said meeting. Special meetings may be called by the Chairman or by request of three Fire Chiefs to the Chairman, and written notice thereof shall be given all members and alternatives at least five days prior to said special meeting.
[Amended 1-19-1983 by Ord. No. 1568; 12-15-1998 by Ord. No. 1932-98; 8-15-2006 by Ord. No. 2115-06; 11-20-2007 by Ord. No. 2144-07]
A majority of the Board shall constitute a quorum necessary to conduct any meeting. No action taken by the Board shall be effective unless such action has received the approval of 2/3 of the members present and also 3/5 of the five elected Fire Chiefs or their alternates. If a three-fifths vote occurs, any company can request a vote be taken by the entire Board.
[Amended 12-15-1998 by Ord. No. 1932-98]
The Township Manager, the Chief of Police and the Fire Marshal or their alternates shall attend all meetings upon request, but they shall not have any voting power.
[Amended 12-15-1998 by Ord. No. 1932-98]
The Fire Board shall make recommendations to the Board of Township Commissioners through the Public Safety Committee in such matters as Fire Department administration, training, fire-fighting methods, fire alarm operation, fire alarm response, fire districts, mutual aid, William Gottschalk Fire Training Area and other matters pertaining to the management of the Fire Department.
The Fire Board shall be empowered to adopt rules and regulations, subject to the approval of the Board of Commissioners, relating to mutual aid procedures, fire alarm response, cooperation between fire companies and such other matters as may be related to the operation of the Fire Department.
[Amended 7-19-1983 by Ord. No. 1568; 4-18-1989 by Ord. No. 1689; 12-15-1998 by Ord. No. 1932-98]
The Fire Board shall have the power to appoint an Executive Officer by the February meeting of each year. The Executive Officer shall act as Secretary of the Fire Board, taking minutes of all meetings and keeping records of all Fire Board business.
He shall have the powers and responsibility of carrying out the provisions of this article. He shall act in the best interests of the Fire Board and the Fire Department in between meetings and report at the next meeting of the Fire Board. He shall act as liaison between the Fire Board and Fire Marshal to see that the Fire Department Map is maintained. At the direction of Fire Board, he will act as liaison between the Mutual Aid Fire Companies. He will keep the following manuals up-to-date for the Fire Board: Special Equipment, Procedure and Training.
The Fire Board shall appraise annually the fire companies and the fire protection service in the township for the purpose of recommending to the Board of Commissioners whatever changes are necessary in organization and operational methods and practices of fire-fighting made necessary by the continued growth of the township and/or new fire-fighting techniques. In making such appraisal, consideration shall be given to the effectiveness of the Fire Department in the year immediately preceding, with proper emphasis on fire loss statistics, equipment requirements, manpower needs and methods and procedures for training firemen. The annual appraisal shall take place prior to the presentation of the annual Fire Department budget. In addition to the annual appraisal, an inspection of each fire house and equipment shall be made by the Fire Board.
The Fire Board shall make recommendations on the acquisition of new apparatus, but not replacement of existing apparatus. Apparatus shall include any and all vehicles owned and operated by the Fire Department for which a Fire Department license plate is issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Motor Vehicles.
[Amended 7-19-1983 by Ord. No. 1568]
[Amended 7-19-1983 by Ord. No. 1568; 11-21-1995 by Ord. No. 1846-95; 12-15-1998 by Ord. No. 1932-98]
Each volunteer fire company shall operate under its own bylaws. Nothing in this section is intended to restrict or hamper the internal organization of the volunteer fire companies.
The Fire Chief and subordinate officers of each volunteer fire company shall be in command of their company at fires. They shall train the members of their company. All companies shall adhere to uniform Fire Department procedures as recommended by the Fire Board of the Fire Department. They shall be responsible for the maintenance, efficiency and conduct of their respective companies.
Any activity which would take any fire company out of service must be first approved by the Fire Board. No more than two companies shall be out of service at one time. Permission to be out of service shall be granted by the Fire Board on a rotating basis.
Each fire company shall keep a record book of all fires responded to and record the following: time in service, number of men in service, amount of equipment used, address and type of fires. The Chief of each fire company shall send a report containing this information to the Fire Marshal at the end of the month.
Fire companies may have sixteen-year-old junior firemen, but they will wear identification at fires. They will follow Fire Department regulations for junior firemen.
Fire company officers and drivers shall be at least 21 years of age, except that utility apparatus may be driven by members of the Fire Department between the ages of 18 and 21 years when operated without lights or sirens.
Chief officers shall be at least 25 years of age and citizens of the United States.
There shall be a Fire Marshal and one or more Assistant Fire Marshals. They shall be appointed in accordance with regulations and procedures of the township governing the appointment of all township personnel. In appointing Fire Marshals, careful consideration will be given to recommendations of the Fire Board as to qualified applicants. The Fire Marshal shall enforce all the rules and regulations set forth in Article II of this chapter.
The Board of Commissioners of Cheltenham Township may appropriate annually to the Fire Department of Cheltenham Township such sum or sums as, in the opinion of the Commissioners, may be right and proper, such appropriation to be divided among the several volunteer fire companies composing the Fire Department as the Board of Commissioners, by resolution, shall direct. Such appropriation shall be given to each fire company on the first of June and the first of October and shall be included in the township annual budget, and each company shall be paid upon receipt of a certificate from the Chairman of the Public Safety Committee that there are no deductions on account of fines for the year preceding such annual payment, and that each fire company faithfully complied with all the rules and duties herein imposed. Each volunteer fire company shall submit to the Board of Commissioners a report of its financial condition on April 15. A budget report will be submitted to the Board of Commissioners on or before October 1 for the ensuing year by each company. The fire companies may raise funds in their district only.
A Finance Subcommittee consisting of the President and Finance Officer of each company shall be established to serve as a liaison between the Board of Commissioners and the Fire Companies. The financial records of the fire companies shall be maintained in accordance with generally accepted accounting procedures in a uniform manner established by this Committee and the Finance Director of the township. The Finance Committee shall meet twice yearly prior to April 15 and October 1 and shall have the authority to consider financial matters only. Additional meetings of this Committee may be called by the Chairman of the Fire Board.
The Township of Cheltenham shall carry liability insurance for the fire companies, to include all fire company vehicles. Also, the township shall carry worker's compensation insurance on fire company members. A certificate of insurance will be supplied to each fire company annually.
[Amended 12-15-1998 by Ord. No. 1932-98]
No company shall answer any alarm of fire unless dispatched by the Montgomery County Fire Radio.
No company is to leave its station until it has reported to the Montgomery County Fire Radio.
The District Officer where a fire occurs has authority to call for aid.
Only two township companies may be sent outside of the township at one time, unless authorized by the Township Manager, Fire Marshal or Chief of Police.
No mutual aid agreements are to be made by individual fire companies.
Editor's Note: This ordinance also repealed former § 22-7, Fire alarm system.
[Added 7-19-1983 by Ord. No. 1568]
By 1995, all fire hose couplings for all companies shall be one-inch National Standard Thread (NST), one-and-one-half-inch NST and four-inch NST. This standard shall not apply to suction hoses, hard or soft sleeve.
By 1995, the electrical standard for all companies shall be 20A, 125 volt, three-prong twist.
The Chairman of the Fire Board shall have the power to suspend or dismiss from the Fire Department any member guilty of violating any Fire Department rules. Appeal may be made, however, to the Township Commissioners, who shall give fair and impartial hearing.
The Chairman of the Fire Board shall have the power to fine any fire company for violation of the rules of the Department at least $100 and not more than $500, the same to be deducted from the annual appropriation. Appeal may be made, however, to the Township Commissioners, who shall give fair and impartial hearing.
[Adopted 8-15-1978 as Ord. No. 1448]
The Board of Commissioners of Cheltenham Township recognizes the desirability and value of services performed on its behalf by Cheltenham Township volunteer fire companies and their members and directors. The purpose of this article is to facilitate such service and to encourage its continued availability.
Upon request, the township shall provide free legal assistance to any volunteer fire company or member or director thereof when such volunteer fire company or member or director thereof is named or joined as a defendant, an additional defendant or as a third party defendant in any civil action arising out of or in connection with the performance of their duties on behalf of the township in fighting a fire, responding to an emergency or engaging in any reasonably related volunteer fire company activity undertaken for the purpose of providing protection against fire or other emergencies; however, such reasonably related activities shall not include purely social or athletic activities, or any matters relating to the membership or election thereto, of any volunteer fire company.
In any case where the township has been requested to provide legal assistance and liability results or judgment is entered against any volunteer fire company, member or director thereof, as a result of the performance of their duties as set forth in § 22-11, the township shall reimburse such volunteer fire company or member or director thereof in an amount necessary to satisfy such liability or judgment. The right of reimbursement to any volunteer fire company, member or director thereof shall not apply if such liability or judgment is the result of willful, wanton or gross negligence or the result of the breach of any financial fiduciary duty.
The provisions of §§ 22-11 and 22-12 shall apply in the event that the existing insurance coverage maintained by the township shall not include the provision of legal services as set forth in § 22-11 or insure against the liability or entry of a judgment as set forth in § 22-12, or in the event that the township's insurance carrier or carriers denies coverage, disclaims coverage or refuses to provide legal services as set forth in § 22-11 or insure against the liability or entry of a judgment as set forth in § 22-12. Also, the provisions of §§ 22-11 and 22-12 shall not apply to any claims made or incidents which have occurred before the effective date hereof.
The volunteer fire companies and the members and directors thereof shall give immediate written notice to the township in the event that any claim as covered hereunder is made or filed against any company, member or director thereof.