Borough of Alpine, NJ
Bergen County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Alpine as Ch. III (Ord. No. 80) of the 1970 Revised General Ordinances. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Departments — See Ch. 15.
Police Department — See Ch. 45.
Fire prevention — See Ch. 119.

§ 25-1 Creation.

The Fire Department of the Borough is hereby created and established with jurisdictional boundaries coextensive with the boundaries of the Borough.

§ 25-2 Composition.

The Fire Department of the Borough shall consist of one Chief, one Assistant Chief, one Captain, one First Lieutenant, one Second Lieutenant, and all other officers and firemen as may be deemed necessary by the Fire Department, and selected thereby with the approval of the Council.

§ 25-3 Membership.

A. 
Qualifications. Persons who are members of the Alpine Fire Department as of the date of adoption of this Code are hereby recognized as members of the Fire Department. After this date each applicant for membership shall have the following qualifications at the time of his application:
[Amended by Ord. No. 226; Ord. No. 234]
(1) 
Be a citizen of the United States.
(2) 
Residency or employment; former membership.
[Amended 6-24-1998 by Ord. No. 546]
(a) 
Applicants shall be required to be resident of the Borough of Alpine or a resident of municipality in the State of New Jersey which borders the Borough of Alpine or is a full-time employee of a business based in the Borough of Alpine or an employee of the Borough of Alpine.
(b) 
Any fire fighter who was a former member of a volunteer company affiliated with a local relief association and who resigned before serving the required seven years for exempt status, within one year of his/her resignation from his/her formed company he/she may become a member of this Department if the above residency or employment requirements are met.
(c) 
If the application for membership reinstatement in the Alpine Fire Department is made after one year of the applicant's resignation from his/her former company, the applicant must be considered a new applicant and shall be within the age limits as determined by the New Jersey State Fireman's Association and shall pass a physical examination.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Former § 3-3.1c, which immediately followed this subsection, was repealed 6-24-1998 by Ord. No. 546.
(3) 
Be in good health and of sound body, to be evidenced by a certificate to that effect signed by a licensed practicing physician of the State of New Jersey.
(4) 
Be of good moral character.
(5) 
Be approved for membership by filing on the State Fireman's Association approved form a written application for membership in the Department, which application shall be approved by the Chief of the Department before the application shall be voted upon.
B. 
Classifications of members. Members shall be divided into six classifications as follows:
[Amended by Ord. No. 234; 6-24-1998 by Ord. No. 546; 5-24-2000 by Ord. No. 571]
(1) 
Active member.
(a) 
An active member shall meet the qualifications of Subsection A for membership and shall complete the course of instruction entitled "Fire Fighter-1" at the Bergen County Fire Academy or its equivalent. He shall also attend all required training and retraining seminars as mandated by law and the Board of Fire Officers. He shall attend at least a minimum 25% annually of all fire calls, drills and work nights computed using the following weighted percentage formula:
Fire calls = .6
Drills = .2
Work nights and Chief calls = .2
.6F+.2D+.2W=%
(b) 
Fire fighters attaining 25% shall be entitled to the following benefits when and if made available: jury duty exemption and credits for LOSAP (Length of Service Awards Program). A member attaining a 60% record utilizing the above formula shall be also entitled to the following additional benefits when and if made available: free membership in the Alpine Swim and Tennis Club and clothing allowance payment.
(2) 
Life member. Life member status shall be bestowed on all active members of the Department after serving 25 years of active service.
(3) 
Exempt. An active member of the Fire Department who worked for his exemption certificate and has served seven years of active duty as required by N.J.S.A. 40A:14-56.
(4) 
Honorary. A titular membership. A person honored shall not actually be a member of the company honoring him, nor a member of the Fire Department, and he shall not participate in any activities of the Fire Department.
(5) 
Probationary. A probationary member shall meet the membership requirements of Subsection A. He shall be considered a probationary member for at least six months during which time he shall attend the course "Fire Fighter-1" at the Bergen County Fire Academy or its equivalent. If he cannot complete the course of instruction within six months the probationary period may be extended to 24 months. A probationary member will not be entitled to active member benefits described in Subsection B(1).
(6) 
Fire police. Members of the Alpine Volunteer Fire Company may be appointed upon the recommendation of the Fire Chief and approval by resolution of the Mayor and Council to perform certain duties at fires and fire drills, for a term of office not exceeding five years from the date of appointment. The appointed members shall, before entering upon their duties, qualify by:
(a) 
Successfully completing a basic fire police training course formulated or approved by the Division of Fire Safety.
(b) 
Taking and subscribing an oath that they will justly, impartially and faithfully discharge their duties according to the best of their ability and understanding. The oath shall be administered by the Municipal Clerk and shall be filed with the Municipal Clerk and the copy thereof filed with the Secretary of the Fire Company making the appointment.
C. 
Approval by Council. Upon election of a member by the Department, his name shall be submitted to the Council for its approval. Upon approval by the majority of the Council by appropriate resolution, the applicant shall then take the oath of office and become a member of the Fire Department. The Council shall indicate in writing to the Chief of the Fire Department its approval or disapproval of the applicant within 60 days after receipt of the name from the Department.
D. 
Membership certificate. Each active member of the Fire Department, after his election and approval as provided in Subsection C, shall have issued to him a membership certificate showing the date of his election to membership, signed by the Mayor and attested by the Borough Clerk, and countersigned by the Chief of the Department with the Corporate Seal of the Borough affixed. In addition, a badge of membership in the Department shall be issued to him to be worn at all times when on duty. The badge shall remain the property of the Borough and shall be returned to the Chief of the Fire Department on demand if the member ceases to be an active fireman, or is suspended, removed or dismissed for any cause whatsoever, or ceases to be a member of one of the fire companies.
E. 
Suspension. The Chief of the Department shall have the power to suspend from duty any member of any company who shall refuse or voluntarily neglect to obey or execute any orders from the officer in charge of any fire or drill, or who shall neglect or refuse to be controlled or governed by the terms of this chapter or by any of the rules and regulations of the Department, or for the good of the Department. Upon suspension of any member of any company, the Chief shall forthwith submit the suspension together with the causes thereof in writing to the Board of Fire Officers. Following receipt of the notice, the Board of Fire Officers shall hold a hearing within 10 days, giving to the suspended member at least four days' written notice thereof, which notice shall set forth the causes for suspension. Notice of the hearing shall likewise be given to the complaining member. At the hearing the Board shall either affirm, reverse or modify the suspension, which affirmation, reversal or modification shall be a majority of the members of the Board. If any member of any company shall be suspended from duty by the Board of Fire Officers, he can appeal to the Borough Council by filing a written appeal with the Borough Clerk within seven days after the decision of the Board of Fire Officers. The appeal shall state the reasons therefor and specify the particulars in which the Board of Fire Officers has erred. The Council shall hold a hearing thereon within 30 days of the filing of the appeal with the Borough Clerk, who shall give at least seven days' written notice of the hearing to the Chief and to the complaining and suspended members. Any party to the appeal, in any instance, may be represented by counsel. At the hearing before the Council, the appellant shall have the duty to proceed first with his proof. After the hearing, the Council may affirm, reverse or modify any suspension or decision appealed.
F. 
Exemption certificate. A certificate of exemption shall be issued by the Council to any member of the Fire Department who has served as an active fireman for seven years under municipal control or who, while an active member of the Fire Department, becomes incapacitated by illness and can no longer serve as an active fireman, such incapacity and inability to serve to be certified by a practicing physician whose certificate will show the member to be physically or mentally unfit for further service as an active fireman; provided, however, that before such certificate shall be issued, the Secretary and Captain of the company to which such member belongs shall certify in writing to the Council the qualifications of the member to be complete and in accordance with this subsection and the laws of the State of New Jersey.
G. 
Conditions. After the adoption of this Code, any member of the Fire Department who shall cease to meet the membership requirement of Subsection A(2) and shall have failed to meet the requirements of Subsection J below, at the option of the Board of Fire Officers, may be dropped from the rolls of the Fire Department and the membership roll of the company. Moreover, any active member who does not meet the requirements of Subsection A(2) at the time aforesaid may retain his/her active status. Further, members may be given a leave of absence for military duty with the Armed Forces of the United States of America.
[Amended 6-24-1998 by Ord. No. 546]
H. 
Inactive and honorary members. The Department may have such inactive and honorary members as may be prescribed by the constitution and bylaws, and may prescribe such qualifications and grant to each class such privileges as they desire so long as the same are consistent with the provisions of this section. However, such inactive and honorary member shall not perform any duties or have any of the powers of active firemen.
I. 
Auxiliaries. The companies may provide for the establishment of auxiliaries, provided membership therein is limited to the wife, daughter, sister, mother, aunt and niece of an enrolled fireman in the company setting up the auxiliary. An auxiliary shall be a subsidiary of and subordinate to the fire company which created it, and subject to the constitution and bylaws of such company; however, auxiliary members shall not perform any duties or have any of the powers of active firemen.
J. 
Resignations. Any person seeking to resign from the Fire Department shall make application to his company, and his resignation shall take effect upon approval by a vote of the majority of the members present and voting, and the confirmation of the Chief and the Council.

§ 25-4 Junior fireman.

[Amended by Ord. No. 293]
A. 
Established. There is hereby created within the Fire Department the position of junior fireman.
B. 
Qualifications. Any person who need not be a resident of the Borough and who is at least 16 years of age, and less than 18 years of age, may become a junior fireman.
[Amended by Ord. No. 466]
C. 
Application. Any person desiring to become a junior fireman should make application to the Chief of the Fire Department and shall complete an application therefor, which application shall be approved by the Mayor and Council. There shall also be attached parental approval from the parents of the proposed junior fireman, and the application, together with a medical examination report, shall be referred to the Mayor and Council for their approval and designation of such applicant as a junior fireman.
D. 
Adult membership. When a junior fireman becomes 18 years old, such junior fireman shall no longer be a junior fireman but may apply to the Fire Department for membership in the Department.
E. 
Provision for training. The Mayor and Council, upon application of the Fire Department, may make provision for the training of those persons designated as junior firemen.

§ 25-5 Duties of firemen.

[Amended 6-24-1998 by Ord. No. 546; 4-25-2001 by Ord. No. 586]
All members within the six classifications aforementioned and any person who may hereinafter become a member of the Fire Department shall be required, as an integral part of their membership therein, to actively attend and participate, in addition to the duties heretofore established by rule or custom, in all parades, social functions, affairs, special events, and any and all other types of activities not specifically enumerated herein, whenever the participation by the Fire Department in such event or activities shall be ordered by the Fire Chief or the officers of the Department, as the case may be. The failure of any member to attend and participate in such event or activities shall subject the member to like disciplinary action for failure to conform to other duties herein, unless the member shall be duly excused from participation therein.

§ 25-6 Duties of fire police after appointment

[Added 5-24-2000 by Ord. No. 571]
A. 
The duties of the fire police, subject to the supervision of the aforesaid, shall be to:
(1) 
Protect property and contents.
(2) 
Establish and maintain fire lines.
(3) 
Perform such traffic duties as necessary, from the fire station to and at the vicinity of the fire, fire drill or other emergency call, until the arrival of a duly authorized police officer or at any public event where fire police services may be requested to protect the public, subject to the approval of and supervision by the chief law enforcement officer of the municipality in which the public event takes place, or the Superintendent of State Police if the municipality does not have a Police Department.
(4) 
In the absence of investigating authorities, fire police shall investigate all causes of fires and preserve all evidence pertaining to questionable fires and turn evidence over to proper investigating authorities.
(5) 
Wear the authorized fire police badge on the left breast of the outermost garment while on duty.
B. 
Provided, however, that nothing herein contained shall give the fire police or any of them the right to supersede a duly authorized police officer.
C. 
If any person shall unreasonably refuse to obey the orders of the fire police, a fire police officer may arrest him or her and keep him or her under arrest until the fire is extinguished or the drill completed. If the offender is found guilty by a municipal court or Superior Court, he or she shall be sentenced to pay a fine not exceeding $200 and costs.

§ 25-7 Officers.

A. 
Election of officers. The officers of the Fire Department shall be active members of the Department and shall be elected in accordance with the bylaws of the Department and the results of the election shall be certified to the Council at its next following regular meeting, for approval of the election results by a majority of the Council present at the meeting. No person who has not been a member for a period of at least five years and who has not served as Captain shall be eligible for the office of Chief.
[Amended 6-24-1998 by Ord. No. 546]
B. 
Term of office. The officers of the Department shall hold office for one year and until their successors shall be chosen. The term shall begin on the first day of January and vacancies shall be filled for the unexpired term only.
C. 
Duties of the Chief.
[Amended by Ord. No. 226]
(1) 
The Chief of the Fire Department shall:
(a) 
Have full and complete control at all fires, being held accountable for his actions to the Council only, and make such written and verbal reports as the Mayor and Council may require. All other Departmental officers shall be accountable to the Chief, or such officer as shall be acting as Chief in his absence, and to the Council.
(b) 
Formulate rules and regulations to govern the Department subject to approval of the Board of Fire Officers and the Mayor and Council, and be responsible to the Mayor and Council for the personnel, morale and general efficiency of the Department.
(c) 
At least once a month conduct suitable drills or instructions in the operation and handling of equipment, first aid and rescue work, salvage, fire prevention, water supply and all other matters generally considered essential to good firemanship and safety of life and property from fires.
(d) 
Assist the proper authorities in suppressing the crime of arson by investigating or causing to be investigated the crime, origin and circumstances of all fires of questionable origin.
(e) 
Enter any and all commercial buildings and premises at any reasonable time for the purpose of making a fire inspection and serve written notice upon the owner or occupant to abate, within 10 days after its receipt, any and all fire hazards that may be found. The inspector, if other than the Chief, shall be approved by proper resolution of the Council.
(2) 
In the absence of the Chief, the Assistant Chief shall perform the duties of the Chief at all fires and emergencies. In the absence of the Assistant Chief, the Captain shall serve in this capacity.
(3) 
It shall be the duty of the Chief, the other officers and members of the Fire Department to enforce the provisions of the Fire Prevention Code of the Borough and the amendment and supplements thereto, and any other Borough ordinance or federal, state and county law having to do with fire prevention, safety and control.
D. 
Board of Fire Officers. The Board of Fire Officers shall consist of the Fire Chief, who shall be the presiding officer, the outgoing Fire Chief of the preceding year, in an advisory capacity only, and the Assistant Fire Chief, Captain and the Lieutenants of the Department. The Board shall be under the supervision of the Council. All decisions of the Board of Fire Officers shall be by a majority vote of its members.
[Amended 6-24-1998 by Ord. No. 546]
E. 
Duties of Departmental officers. The Board of Fire Officers shall be the advisory board of the Department charged with its supervision and have entire control over the management of the Department, subject to the approval or veto power of the Council over its acts. The Board shall also consider, hear and, on notice, decide any written grievance with respect to any ruling, order or penalty imposed by any officer of the Department. The Board of Fire Officers shall submit written reports on the first day of January and July in each year to the Mayor and Council of the conditions of the various pieces of apparatus and equipment and condition of fire hydrants, the number, date, cause, loss and location of all fires, the number of members in each company, and the number of active members in the Department, resignations and expulsions, if any, and new members elected, and shall include in their final or annual report comparative data for previous years and recommendations of the Department.

§ 25-8 Equipment.

A. 
Ownership. The title to ownership of all apparatus, equipment, hose and other property used by the Department shall be vested in the Borough. The Council shall have the authority to lease or purchase adequate housing facilities for all municipally owned fire apparatus, equipment, supplies and furnishings for the Fire Department. It shall also have the right, when it shall be deemed necessary, to hire a full- or part-time maintenance man to care for and maintain fire apparatus, equipment and buildings used by the Department. The Department shall be equipped with such apparatus and other equipment as may be required from time to time to maintain its efficiency and properly protect life and property from fire. Recommendations for apparatus and equipment needed shall be made by the Board of Fire Officers to the Council. Purchases of apparatus and equipment shall be made only by the Council at such time and manner as it shall determine.
B. 
Regulations. No person shall use any Borough-owned fire apparatus or equipment for any private purpose, nor shall any person willfully and without authority take away or conceal any article belonging to or used in any way by the Department.
(1) 
No person shall enter any place where fire apparatus is housed, nor handle any equipment, property or apparatus belonging to the Department, unless accompanied by or having the special permission of an officer or authorized member of the Department.
(2) 
The Chief of the Fire Department is authorized to extend aid to neighborhood communities upon request for fire protection or to establish a mutual aid system in accordance with the laws of the State of New Jersey.
(3) 
No apparatus shall be removed from or permitted to leave the Borough without the consent of the Chief or the next highest ranking officer available. The officer in charge of the Department shall have the power to assign the equipment for response to calls for outside aid in accordance with this paragraph, and in other cases only when the absence of such equipment, in his judgment, will not jeopardize protection in the Borough.

§ 25-9 Bylaws.

The government and management of the Fire Department shall be according to the constitution, bylaws and rules which may be adopted by the Department, and approved by the Board of Fire Officers, provided the same shall not be inconsistent with the provisions of this chapter and such rules and regulations for the organization and efficiency of the Fire Department which may be adopted from time to time by the Council.

§ 25-10 Rules and regulations.

The officers and members of the Fire Department of the Borough shall at all times be subject to and under the control of such rules and regulations as the Council may from time to time adopt.