[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Emerson 7-15-2003 by Ord. No. 1236. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Affirmative action — See Ch. 5.
Ambulance Corps — See Ch. 7.
Length of service awards program — See Ch. 49.
Payroll — See Ch. 65.
Salaries and compensation — See Ch. 85.
Alarm systems — See Ch. 104.
Uniform construction codes — See Ch. 132.
Fire insurance claims — See Ch. 148.
Fire prevention — See Ch. 150.
Editor's Note: The ordinance also repealed former Ch. 35, Fire Department, consisting of the following: Art. I, Establishment; Membership; Procedures, adopted 5-28-1974 by Ord. No. 628 as Chapter 41 of the 1966 Code of the Borough of Emerson, as amended; and Art. II, Emerson Volunteer Fire Department Company Number 1, adopted 12-18-2001 by Ord. No. 1189.
A Fire Department be and the same is hereby established in and for the Borough of Emerson, to consist of such officers and firemen as hereinafter prescribed.
Qualifications for membership in the Emerson Fire Department are hereby established as follows: not less than 18 years of age.
The Mayor shall appoint two members of the Borough Council, who shall be known as the "Fire Commissioner" and the "Deputy Fire Commissioner," respectively. The Fire Commissioner, and in his absence from the Borough for a period of more than three days, the Deputy Fire Commissioner, shall have the supervision, control and management of the Fire Department, subject, however, to the ultimate control of the Mayor and Borough Council.
The Fire Department shall elect, subject to the confirmation of the Borough Council, two members of the Fire Department, who shall be known as "Chief” and "Assistant Chief," respectively. They shall hold office for a term of one year, and the Chief, and in his absence the Assistant Chief, shall have control of the Fire Department, subject to the control of the Commissioner or Deputy Commissioner and the Mayor and Borough Council.
There shall be as many hose, hook-and-ladder or other companies as the Mayor and Borough Council-may, from time to time, create and accept.
Each company shall have a Captain and Lieutenant. The Lieutenant shall be subordinate to the command of the Captain. Each company shall also have such other officers as the company may, from time to time, determine upon. All of the officers of the company shall hold office for terms of one year and shall be elected by a majority vote of the members present at the annual meeting of each said company, except that, in the event of the organization and acceptance of any new company in the Fire Department of the Borough of Emerson, said annual election shall be held on a date to be fixed by the Mayor and Borough Council and the officers so elected shall hold office until the next regular annual meeting.
All other matters pertaining to the election of officers of the several companies shall be under the control of the Fire Commissioner, except that the Fire Commissioner shall certify to the Mayor and Borough Council, at the next regular meeting of said body held thereafter, the result of any election held as herein prescribed, and the election of said officers shall be subject to the confirmation of the Mayor and Council.
The Chief and Assistant Chief and all officers of any company shall hold office until their successors have been elected and confirmed.
The membership of each company shall be limited to 65 members, not including life members or cadets.
Membership in the Emerson Fire Department is open to all persons who are able to perform the duties of volunteer firefighters without discrimination on the basis of the applicant's race, creed, color, sex, age, national origin, ancestry, marital status or physical handicap.
The Department shall establish objective qualifications for membership, which shall relate directly and solely to the physical and technical ability and character fitness of an applicant to perform the vocational duties of a volunteer firefighter.
All persons desirous of becoming members of the Emerson Fire Department must obtain a membership application from the Fire Chief or Borough Clerk and submit the completed application to the Membership Committee for review and action. The application must be accompanied by a ten-dollar initiation fee. This fee will not be returned to. the applicant in the event the person is not accepted by the Department.
Any person who is a resident of the Borough of Emerson or any municipality which boarders on the Borough of Emerson for a period of six months, a citizen of the United States, at least 18 years of age and of good character is eligible for membership in the Emerson Fire Department.
The Membership Committee shall be solely responsible for evaluating and ruling upon applications for membership. It shall, within 60 days of receipt of the completed application and subsequent review of the Investigating Committee, make a report to the Department as to whether or not the applicant qualifies for membership. Its decision shall be binding on the Department, and no vote of the membership shall be conducted on the issue of whether an applicant shall be admitted to probationary membership.
Applicants reported by the Investigation Committee to be qualified for membership shall be admitted in the order in which their applicants were received as soon as vacancies exist. If at any time the number of applicants found to be qualified exceeds the number of current vacancies, a waiting list shall be established according to the order on which the applications were received, and appointments shall be made therefrom in that same order. The quota shall be filled in the order in which the applications were received, except if any former member of the Department applies for reinstatement within a period of one year from the date of his or her resignation, he or she shall be given preference over any pending new applicants and transferees. Transferees shall also be given preference over any new applicants.
If the Membership Committee determines that an applicant does not meet the minimum requirements for membership, the Department Secretary shall promptly advise the applicant in writing of the rejection and the qualifications described with particularly which he or she has not substantially met.
Newly accepted applicants must serve a one-year probation. During the probationary period, the applicants are required to take and pass Firefighter I training course at the Bergen County Police and Fire Academy. During the probation period and at the conclusion thereof, each probationary member shall be evaluated solely by the line officers of the Department who supervise him or her in the performance of his or her duties. They may cause the dismissal of any member during the probationary period only for failure to perform the established duties of probationary member in a reasonably satisfactory manner or other good cause, and may do so by notifying the probationary member in writing of his or her rejection and particular reasons therefore. At the end of the probationary period, the said supervising officers shall determine whether or not the applicant has satisfactorily performed the duties of a probationary member. If he or she has, they shall promptly recommend to the membership that he or she be admitted to full membership, and their recommendation shall be binding on the Department, and he or she shall be admitted forthwith. If he or she has not, they shall promptly notify the probationary member in writing of his or her rejection and the particular reasons therefore. No vote of the membership shall be conducted on the issue of whether any probationary member shall continue as a probationary member or be admitted to full membership. Once admitted into probationary status by the Membership Committee, the continuance of the applicant through that period and into full membership is at the sole discretion of the Board of Fire Officers.
Life membership can be attained with the following qualifications:
When a member has reached the age of 50 years and has 25 years’ service in the Department and has attained his or her exemption or has performed, during a period of seven years, 60% of fire duty or, after January 1, 2009, 50% of fire duty, in each year, respectively, he or she may become a life member.
[Amended 7-7-2015 by Ord. No. 1503-15]
When a member has reached the age of 70 years and has 20 years’ of service in the Department and has attained his or her exemption or has performed, during a period of seven years, 60% of fire duty or, after January 1, 2009, 50% of fire duty, in each year, respectively, he or she must become a life member.
[Amended 7-7-2015 by Ord. No. 1503-15]
The rights and privileges of a life member are:
The full insurance afforded regular members until age 65 at which time the age-sixty-five policy takes effect.
Full clothing allowance at the prevailing rate for as long as the member remains a resident of the Borough of Emerson or qualifies under Subsection J as a resident.
No percentage requirement to qualify for clothing allowance.
No heavy or hazardous duty at fires or drills.
Life member retains all rights of regular members with the exception of nominating or voting for line officers.
Life members will be exempt from Department dues.
There will be no termination of life membership due to age.
Life members will not be counted in the Department's membership quota.
Any member or life member of the Emerson Fire Department who moves to any municipality which boarders on the Borough of Emerson may still remain an active member, or because of age and service, a life member of the Emerson Fire Department.
Any person who is employed full-time within the Borough of Emerson and who is a qualified firefighter in a fire department in the State of New Jersey shall be eligible to join the Emerson Fire Department as a Supplemental Firefighter. Supplemental Firefighters shall serve as members of the Emerson Fire Department only during their working hours and shall fulfill all duties as set forth by the Board of Fire Officers but shall not be eligible to run for any position in the Emerson Fire Department or vote on any Department matter.
[Added 7-20-2010 by Ord. No. 1411]
The several companies may establish, with the approval of the Fire Commissioner, such rules, regulations and bylaws governing themselves, but such rule, regulation or bylaw shall not be inconsistent with this article or the rules or regulations of the Mayor and Council or of the Fire Commissioner. No rule, regulation or bylaw shall be suspended, amended or promulgated without the consent of the Fire Commissioner.
All rules and regulations of the Fire Commissioner or of the Mayor and Council and of the respective companies of the Department and the Department as a whole shall not become effective until 10 days after the same shall have been posted at fire headquarters. Such rules and regulations shall remain posted for a period not less than six months.
The conduct of the Department while on active duty shall be governed as follows: The Chief shall be in command at all times after the apparatus leaves fire headquarters and at other times be responsible to the Fire Commissioner for the condition of the same. In the absence of the Chief and the Assistant Chief, the first officer arriving shall have charge until the arrival of his superior officer. It shall be the further duty of the senior officer or other designated head of each company to have charge of their respective companies and apparatus at fires, under the direction always of the Chief or other executive officers, and to see that their apparatus and quarters shall always be kept in good, clean and respectable condition.
It shall be required of the senior officer or other company head to make a report to the Chief of all service rendered by his company in response to an alarm, and he shall record, in a book he shall keep for the purpose, the names of the members responding to roll call upon arrival at headquarters.
[Amended 7-20-2010 by Ord. No. 1411]
When charges have been brought against officers or members of the Department for infraction of the rules of the Department, of this article or the rules and regulations of the Fire Commissioner or of the Mayor and Council, where suspension or expulsion has been recommended, the Board of Fire Officers shall immediately refer said charges in writing to the Borough Administrator and the Fire Commissioner. The Borough Administrator shall, as speedily as possible, proceed to investigate the charges and, after such investigation, shall report his/her findings in writing to the Mayor and Council. The Borough Administrator may, in consultation with the Board of Fire Officers and subject to the approval of the Board of Fire Officers and the Mayor and Council, rescind the charges or impose discipline other than suspension or expulsion. Where the Board’s recommendation of suspension or expulsion remains unchanged, the Mayor and Council shall thereupon cause a notice in writing to be served on the officer or member against whom the charges are preferred, to appear before the Mayor and Council at a time and place to be specified therein to answer such charges, and may request the appearance of any other officers or individuals whose testimony the Mayor and Council may deem useful in making their decision. After hearing said officer or member of the Department or his attorney in his behalf in his own defense (or in case he fails to appear), the Mayor and Council may, by resolution, reprimand, suspend, fine or dismiss said officer or member from the Department or exonerate him from the charges.
Where an officer or member has been suspended for more than one year or has been dismissed from the Department, he or she shall be permitted to apply in writing to the Mayor and Council for reinstatement in the Department no sooner than one year to the date after the suspension or dismissal commenced and, if denied, every six months after each denial. A copy of the application shall be provided to the Board of Fire Officers, whose recommendations shall be considered by the Mayor and Council in making their decision.
The respective companies may also impose such fine or other punishment not inconsistent with the provisions hereof (and except, however, suspension or expulsion) as the membership of the company may think it advisable in order to maintain proper discipline.
[Amended 7-7-2015 by Ord. No. 1503-15]
Compensation to the members of the Department who have performed not less than 50% fire duty, which includes duties assigned in addition to attendance at fires, shall be at such rate as the Council may, by resolution, direct; provided, however, that such compensation shall be made and paid not later than the 15th day of December of each and every year.
[Amended 7-7-2015 by Ord. No. 1503-15]
Each fireman who shall present satisfactory evidence to the Mayor and Council that he has attended as an active fireman, during a period of seven years, 60% of fires that occurred in the Borough while he was a fireman, or after January 1, 2009, 50% of fires that occurred in the Borough, in each year, respectively, shall be entitled to a certificate signed by the Mayor and Borough Clerk and Chief of the Fire Department of the Borough of Emerson and shall be entitled to wear such badge as shall be designed by the Borough Council and shall be considered an exempt member of the Emerson Fire Department.
There shall be a Fire Cadet Program within the Fire Department of the Borough of Emerson.
All persons between the ages of 14 to 17 years may apply for membership in the Fire Cadet Program subject to the bylaws and rules of the Fire Department.
Members of the Fire Cadet Program shall only assist with nonhazardous duties. Those duties may include assistance in the maintenance of equipment and vehicles, the cleaning thereof and the restoration of equipment after a fire drill or call. Members of the Cadet Program shall receive training to prepare them to become full-fledged members of the Department.
Fire Cadet membership shall require permission from parents or guardian, said permission must be in writing and notarized and must confirm that the applicant is in good health and of sound mind and body, to be evidenced by a certificate to that effect duly attested by a licensed physician of the State of New Jersey.
The Fire Department may through its bylaws or rules and regulations establish additional requirements for cadet membership.
Acceptance to the Fire Cadet Program shall be subject to approval by the Mayor and Council.
[Amended 7-20-2010 by Ord. No. 1411]
All cadets and active members of the Department shall attend all federal-, state- and Borough-mandated training. This specifically includes, but is not limited to, right-to-know and bloodborne pathogens training. The Mayor and Council shall have the authority to suspend any Department member who fails to attend any such training.
Compensation, clothing allowance and LOSAP credit shall be as determined by the Chief and the Assistant Chief.
[Amended 7-20-2010 by Ord. No. 1411]
The Mayor and Council shall make an annual inspection of the Department on or about the first Saturday of October. All members of the Department shall be present for the annual inspection unless previously excused by the Chief.
[Added 12-1-2009 by Ord. No. 1390]
The Borough of Emerson recognizes the need for the mutual sharing of emergency personnel, fire and rescue equipment to other communities or districts for the appropriate and maximum protection and aid in the event of a fire or other physical disaster.
The Borough of Emerson authorizes the Emerson Volunteer Fire Department Chief or the Fire Chief’s designated representative to provide mutual aid services to any community or district the Fire Chief or his designated representative deem necessary with brief notice.
The Borough of Emerson’s Fire Chief or the Fire Chief’s designated representative will insure that arrangement are made, prior to providing such mutual aid to other communities, for appropriate emergency protection for the Borough of Emerson and its residents.
It is understood that the community or region requiring mutual aid may not be adjacent to or be part of the existing mutual aid groups already established in the Pascack Valley of Bergen County.
The mutual aid district includes the following communities and regions: Borough of Oradell, Borough of Harrington Park, Borough of Paramus, Borough of Westwood, Borough of Park Ridge, Borough of Woodcliff Lake, Borough of Closter, Borough of Norwood, Borough of Northvale, Borough of Rivervale, Township of Washington, Borough of Haworth, Borough of Hillsdale, and the Borough of River Edge.
The Borough of Emerson will provide its insurance carrier and its insurance agents with evidence of this local legislation, to insure adequate insurance coverage, in the same manner as provided on an everyday basis, as provided to the Borough of Emerson and its representatives during the time period mutual aid is provided to another community or district.