[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of the Township of Whitpain 6-1-2010 by Ord. No. 236-2. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also repealed former Ch. 13, Public Fire Protection and Related Services, adopted 9-19-1994 by Ord. No. 236, as amended.
This chapter shall be known as the "Public Fire Protection and Related Services Ordinance of Whitpain Township."
The Fire Protection Services of Whitpain Township ("Fire Service") shall consist of the Centre Square Volunteer Fire Company and/or such other volunteer fire companies as the Board of Supervisors may from time to time authorize to provide such fire protection services. The Fire Service shall also include all full- and part-time firefighters employed by Whitpain Township.
The elected Volunteer Fire Chief of the Centre Square Fire Company shall be the sole operational voice for the operation of the Fire Service. He shall be elected by the active membership of the Centre Square Fire Company in accordance with its bylaws. He shall be considered a Township employee, and a stipend may be provided as determined by the Board of Supervisors.
The Fire Company(ies) shall operate under its own bylaws, which shall be in accordance with generally accepted standards for similar organizations and with accounting procedures approved and recognized by the Township. Nothing in this chapter is intended to restrict or hamper the internal organization of the Fire Company(ies).
Appointment of Chief. The Fire Company(ies) shall elect or appoint its Chief for a period of at least one two years. The Fire Chief and all other Chief Officers shall be a minimum of 21 years of age to hold these offices and positions. The Chief shall give his or her services gratuitously and shall take and subscribe to the oath required of Township officials.
Duties of Fire Marshal. The Fire Marshal shall investigate the origin and cause of fires and explosions within the Township.
Duties of Fire Chief and line officers. The Fire Chief and the subordinate officers shall be responsible for the maintenance, efficiency and conduct of the Fire Company. The Fire Service shall adhere to uniform fire service procedures and standards as mandated by local, state and federal regulatory agencies.
Standards for active members. The Fire Company shall adopt written standard operating procedures regarding the duties and activities of those active members who respond to any emergency scenes and shall include standard practices and procedures for the use of all equipment of the Fire Company. No members shall be permitted to use those items of Fire Company equipment without certification of the member's knowledge and proficiency with such equipment and in compliance with the standard operating procedures.
After each emergency incident, the Fire Chief, or the officer in charge, shall complete a fire report with pertinent information relating to the Fire Company's activities at the scene of the emergency incident.
Annual report of Fire Chief. The Fire Chief shall, annually, render a report to the Board of Supervisors, which shall contain a record of all Fire Company activities for the preceding twelve-month period and an up-to-date roster, including the name, address and training status of each active responding member. This report may also contain such statistics as the Fire Chief may wish to include therein.
In compensation for the services provided to the Township, the Board of Supervisors agrees to annually provide compensation to the Fire Company, the amount of said compensation to be set by the Board of Supervisors.
The Fire Company is hereby authorized to provide such services to the Township as may be necessary for the protection of property and persons situated therein, which include, by way of example and not of limitation, extinguishment of fires and conflagrations and prevention of loss of life and property from fire, motor vehicle accidents, medical emergencies, hazardous materials incidents and related other emergency situations.
Nonemergency/public service activities. The Fire Company and its active responding membership are authorized by the Board of Supervisors to provide certain nonemergency and public service functions, such as:
Drills/practice. Participation in drills, practice, training sessions and pre-fire planning activities supervised by a qualified instructor.
Public service functions. Any public service functions performed for the welfare of the community, including recovery of animals and removing water from property after storms, as long as these activities are supervised by a Fire Company officer.
Public safety activities. Participation in fire prevention activities, post-fire investigations and evacuation drills.
Assisting police. While rendering assistance to police officers where such aid is specifically requested or is done without request to protect the public welfare from imminent danger, including fire police duties.
Maintenance work. While safely and responsibly performing maintenance and remodeling work on a Fire Company vehicle, buildings, grounds or equipment.
Community celebrations. Participation in community celebrations, ceremonial observances and funerals for deceased firefighters or other public figures where such attendance is deemed appropriate.
Parade participation. Preparation for and responsible participation in parades.
Membership/fund drives. While participating in public programs to promote health and safety, to enlist new members, solicit community support or conduct fund-raising activities so long as no compensation is being paid to the member while engaged in the fund-raising activity, 100% of all proceeds go to the Fire Company.
Preparation of firehouse for community activities. While performing duties necessary to prepare the fire station for use as a temporary shelter or a polling place for the primary and general elections.
Miscellaneous nonemergency duties. Such other duties necessary for the efficient operation of the Fire Company as may, from time to time, be assigned by the Board of Supervisors and the officers of the Fire Company.
Emergency activities. The Fire Company and its active responding members are authorized to provide emergency functions as follows:
Fire calls/responses. The Fire Company and its qualified responding members are authorized to respond to any and all fire and related conflagration or explosion scenes within and outside the boundaries of Whitpain Township, subject to good and accepted fire-fighting practices which shall be applicable to the Fire Company and its members.
Rendering of care. Any and all public safety activities undertaken by the responding members of the Fire Company to render care to the injured, prevent loss of life, provide comfort and security to victims and limit or prevent damage to or loss of property as circumstances may dictate.
Police assistance. While rendering assistance to the police of Whitpain Township, whether such assistance is specifically requested or not, including the activities of the fire police, to protect the public welfare from imminent danger.
Simultaneous emergencies. In the event of simultaneous emergencies which commit the resources of the Fire Company to more than one emergency site, the Fire Company shall provide standby service from another fire department so as to provide equal emergency services to the Township.
The duly appointed Chief of the Centre Square Fire Company shall be the designated Township/Fire Company liaison person and shall have the authority to act on behalf of the Board of Supervisors in matters concerning Fire Service activities as defined in Ordinance No. 89-5.
Whitpain Township shall provide workers' compensation coverage to all members of the Fire Company, as prescribed by law, that affords benefits for work-related injuries/illnesses compensated under the Workers' Compensation Act and the Occupational Disease Act.
Whitpain Township shall not be required to provide liability or casualty insurance coverage for the Fire Company, its buildings and equipment.
Although Centre Square Fire Company is hereby designated as the official Fire Company for Whitpain Township, it continues to maintain its separate status as a Pennsylvania nonprofit corporation. Any corporate activities undertaken by the Fire Company or any social events or undertakings by the Fire Company, any of its members or for or on behalf of any third parties, at Fire Company locations in the Township other than the authorized activities set forth in § 13-6, supra, shall not be considered as activities undertaken as an agent for the Township, and the Township shall not be liable for unexpected events, claims or results arising therefrom.
The Fire Company shall submit to the Board of Supervisors, on an annual basis, no later than the last day of September, a proposed budget of revenues and expenditures for the upcoming calendar year. The Fire Company shall also provide to the Township audited financial statements annually and financial statements/balance sheets monthly. The audited financial statements shall be issued by an independent certified public accounting firm.
The Fire Company shall provide adequate training for all members and shall certify to the Township, on an annual basis, that all members responding to an emergency incident shall have received this appropriate training and are in compliance with all codes, standards and regulations pertaining to the particular incident as mandated by local, state and federal agencies.