[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Middletown as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 9-12-1978 by Ord. No. 1262; amended in its entirety 12-17-2001 by Ord. No. 2001-2663 (Ch. 132, Art. I, of the 1996 Township Code)]
Editor's Note: Ordinance No. 2010-3010, adopted 7-19-2010, authorizes the Township Administrator to negotiate an interlocal services agreement for enforcement of the Uniform Fire Code by the Borough of Red Bank.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated.
- FIRE INSPECTOR
- Any Township fire prevention inspector certified under the NJUFC, and working for the Bureau of Fire Prevention.
- FIRE LANE
- Any paved area designated in accordance with this article which is normally open to public access and vehicular traffic as part of the traffic circulation pattern of a premises or area but which is necessary to provide an immediate and unobstructed path for firefighting or other emergency equipment and personnel.
- FIRE OFFICIAL
- A person certified by the Department of Community Affairs and appointed or designated by the Township Administrator to direct the enforcement of the code as per N.J.A.C. 5:71-3.2.
- FIRE ZONE
- A paved area adjacent to a building or structure open to the public but not normally used for vehicular traffic, which has been designated as a fire zone in accordance with this article and intended to provide immediate and unobstructed access by firefighting or other emergency equipment and personnel.
- LIFE HAZARD USE
- Those buildings, uses, and premises listed in N.J.A.C. 5:70-2.4A through D, as life hazard uses subject to the registration and periodic inspection requirements by this subchapter of the Uniform Fire Code. "Life Hazard uses" shall also mean and include high-rise structures as defined in N.J.A.C. 5:70-1.5.
Pursuant to the Uniform Fire Safety Act, N.J.S.A. 52:27D-192 et seq., the Uniform Fire Code shall be locally enforced in the Township. The local enforcing agency shall be the Bureau of Fire Prevention, which is hereby continued, and which shall be part of the Middletown Township Volunteer Fire Department. The Bureau shall be under the direct supervision and administrative control of the Fire Official, who shall report to and be under the general supervision of the Chief of the Fire Department.
The Bureau shall enforce the Uniform Fire Safety Act and the NJUFC to all buildings, structures and premises covered under said provisions within the Township.
The Bureau shall carry out the periodic inspections of life hazard uses required by the NJUFC on behalf of the Commissioner of Community Affairs and any other inspections required by this article or as deemed necessary by the Fire Official for the protection of the public from fire or other hazards.
Appointment; qualification. The Fire Official and fire inspectors along with such other employees as may be necessary for the Bureau to carry out its responsibilities shall be appointed by the Township Administrator pursuant to Title 11, Civil Service, of the New Jersey Statutes and the Township Charter and Administrative Code.
Duties. The duties of the Fire Official, as specified in N.J.A.C. 5:71-3.3, are hereby supplemented as follows:
Investigate any violations of the NJUFC or other applicable state or municipal codes upon his own inherent authority.
Issue permits as required by N.J.A.C. 5:70-2.7 and other applicable codes.
Investigate fires upon request of the Fire Chief or other authority and make a written report of such investigations.
Establish and conduct fire education and training programs for presentation in schools and other public forums.
Make a monthly report to the Township Administrator, summarizing actions or proceedings of the Bureau and such statistics or information as deemed appropriate.
All buildings, structures, or premises that are life-hazard uses as defined in N.J.A.C. 5:70-2.4 et seq. are required to register with State Division of Fire Safety. Any activity defined in the NJUFC as requiring a permit must obtain same from the Bureau.
Where a registration is not required by N.J.A.C. 5:70-2.4 et seq., all business establishments, other than those that are incidental or auxiliary to the agricultural use of farm property, are required to obtain a non-life-hazard use permit from the Bureau. These permits shall be renewed annually within the first 14 working days of each calendar year. All permits shall be issued by the Fire Official upon payment of the required fee.
It shall be unlawful to engage in any activity involving the handling, storage or use of hazardous materials, substances or devices, or to maintain, store or handle hazardous materials, or to conduct processes which produce conditions hazardous to life or property, or to install equipment used in connection with such activities, without first obtaining a permit from the Fire Official.
Agencies of Middletown Township, Monmouth County, the State of New Jersey, volunteer fire companies, first aid squads and nonprofit groups as defined in the Internal Revenue Code are exempt from permit fees but must obtain a permit for any covered activity. Failure to obtain any required permit will subject any party, organization or agency to the penalties set forth herein.
In addition to the inspections scheduled pursuant to the NJUFC and the regulations of the Department of Community Affairs, non-life-hazard uses as defined by the NJUFC, other than owner-occupied one- and two-family houses, shall be inspected by the Bureau at least once every three years.
The registration fees for life hazard uses are as set forth in N.J.A.C. 5:70-2.9.
The permit fee for non-life-hazard uses, other than one- and two-family owner-occupied houses, are as set forth in Chapter 240, Fees.
No person shall tamper with a fire hydrant or release any water from a fire hydrant, other than for the purpose of fire suppression or training of Fire Department personnel, without written approval from the Water Company and/or the Fire Official.
No person shall obstruct or in any way interfere with access to any fire hydrant by placing any object within a radius of 10 feet of any such hydrant.
If an unintentional false alarm of fire or other emergency shall emanate from any building, structure or premises more than three times in any consecutive twelve-month period, the owner or owners of said building, structure or premises shall be subject to a fine of not less than $200 for each false alarm in excess of three in any consecutive twelve-month period.
The NJUFC is supplemented by the following provisions:
The Fire Official may establish fire zones or fire lanes on private property open to public access as may be determined appropriate to permit fire equipment and other emergency vehicles unobstructed access to the buildings, fire hydrants and standpipes thereon in case of fire or other emergency.
It shall be unlawful to erect or maintain or cause to be erected or maintained any speed bump in any fire lane or fire zone or on any roadway, alley, driveway or entrance access immediately adjacent to any fire lane or fire zone.
The parking, stopping and standing of motor vehicles in any fire zone or fire lane is prohibited. The Bureau and/or the Fire Official is empowered to further regulate and remove any motor vehicles in or near such fire zones and fire lanes as may be necessary to ensure that such zones and lanes are free from obstruction and accessible to emergency vehicles.
Upon notification by the Bureau of the designation of a fire zone or fire lane on private property, the owner thereof shall within 30 days install signs or markings of an approved type in conformance with said designation.
A rapid entry key box shall be installed by the building owner, in an accessible location approved by the Fire Official, in all buildings meeting one of the following criteria:
Buildings equipped or required to be equipped with automatic fire detection, fire alarm, or fire suppression or standpipe systems or equipment.
Buildings greater than 12,000 square feet.
Buildings considered or containing life hazard uses.
Buildings which, in the determination of the Fire Official, have special type occupancies, hazards, storage conditions, or secure entries and to which prompt access is necessary for life-saving or firefighting purposes.
The rapid entry key box shall be of UL type, approved prior to installation by the Fire Official, and shall be installed in a manner and location approved by the Fire Official and in compliance with N.J.A.C. 5:70-2.2. The Fire Official may require that a key box tamper switch be connected to the building fire alarm system.
The keys within the box shall be labeled for easy identification either by the tenant name or indexed to a floor plan of the building and shall be kept current. The rapid access key boxes shall contain the following:
Keys to locked points of egress, whether in interior or exterior;
Keys to locked mechanical rooms;
Keys to locked fire service elevator rooms;
Keys to locked elevator controls;
Keys to any locks on gates or fenced secured area;
Keys to any stairways;
Keys to any other area that may be required by the Fire Official;
A card containing the name and home address of at least two emergency contact people for the building and their home and cell phone numbers;
An inventory of the keys and documentation within the rapid entry key box to assist in accountability of the box's contents;
Floor plans of the building and clear documentation of where any hazardous materials may be stored and the associated MSDS information.
All buildings or occupancies subject to this requirement as per Subsection A that are constructed and have a certificate of occupancy as of December 31, 2001, shall comply with this section by December 31, 2002. All buildings or occupancies subject to this requirement as per Subsection A constructed and/or obtaining a certificate of occupancy on or after January 1, 2002, shall comply immediately. Any building owner receiving notice from the Fire Official of a determination as per Subsection A(4) that the owner's building must install a rapid entry key box shall have a period of three months to comply with said notice and requirement.
Any party aggrieved by any administrative rulings, action, order or notice of the Bureau issued pursuant to the NJUFC shall have the right to appeal as per N.J.A.C. 5:70-2.19. Any summonses issued pursuant to this article may be heard in Municipal Court.
Except as otherwise specified by the NJUFC, licensed fire inspectors/fire officials are authorized to issue summons for violation of this article.
Violations of the NJUFC will be subject to the penalties as specified in the NJUFC. In addition, the following penalties may be assessed for failure to comply with the provisions of this article: