Township of Mendham, NJ
Morris County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Mendham 11-27-2018 by Ord. No. 19-2018. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Length of service award program — See Ch. 33.
Alarm systems — See Ch. 82.
Fire insurance claims — See Ch. 169.
Fire lanes — See Ch. 173.
Fire prevention — See Ch. 177.
A. 
A Fire Department is established in and for the Township to be known as the "Mendham Township Fire Department." The mission of the Mendham Township Fire Department is to protect and serve the municipality and community from fire and other emergencies by providing fire suppression services, rescue services, appropriate incident response, code enforcement, and public fire prevention education.
B. 
The companies in existence at the time of the adoption of this chapter shall be known as Brookside Engine Company No. 1 and Ralston Engine Company No. 1 and any further companies organized and contracted with by virtue of this chapter shall be distinguished by words signifying the number and kind of company. The specified companies shall operate in districts corresponding to the Township election districts as constituted immediately prior to 1970. However both companies shall operate as one Fire Department when on an emergency scene under the command of the Incident Commander.
C. 
The members and officers of the Fire Department as established at the time of the adoption of this chapter shall continue as such members and officers until further members or officers are appointed and elected as herein provided.
D. 
The members of the Fire Department may adopt a constitution, bylaws and rules of order, provided there shall be nothing therein contained which shall conflict with any law of the State of New Jersey or any present or future provision of this chapter.
E. 
The constitution and bylaws may provide for the election of new members, and the discipline or expulsion of members; provided, however, that no such election, discipline or expulsion shall become effective until approved by the Township Committee as set forth herein.
F. 
Fire companies are permitted to have a members' run charitable association/organization which shall provide support to the fire companies' mission and overall operation.
The Fire Department shall:
A. 
Have such functions, powers and duties as may be prescribed by ordinance or general law;
B. 
Develop and maintain an adequate preparedness for a proper level of firesafety;
C. 
Conduct a systematic and comprehensive fire prevention program; and
D. 
Be responsible for response to emergency incidents and safety-related actions in the Township.
A. 
The heads of the Fire Department shall be that of the appointed Township Fire Chief and the elected individual Chief(s) of the fire companies. Company Fire Chiefs shall report to the Township Committee and shall be responsible for the duties outlined within this chapter. The Township Chief's position shall rotate on an annual basis between the elected chiefs of the fire companies, upon approval and appointment of the Township Committee. The Chief of the Fire Department shall report directly to the Township Committee and carry out the position of moderator of the Bureau of Fire Prevention, application for grants, associated paperwork and administration of ISO activities and Chief designate for the New Jersey State Firemen's Relief Association responsibilities. Additional line officers from each of the fire companies including deputy chiefs, assistant chiefs, captains, and lieutenants shall report directly to the chiefs of their respective company. These line officers shall be considered representatives and officers of the Mendham Township Fire Department.
B. 
The officers of the respective fire companies shall consist of a chief of each fire company and such deputy chiefs, assistant chiefs, captains, and lieutenants within each fire company as currently exist or as established by the fire companies' constitution and/or bylaws.
C. 
The election of officers shall not become effective unless confirmed by the Township Committee. The terms of office of all such officers shall be one year from the first day of January of the year that confirmation takes place and/or until their successors shall be elected and confirmed. In the event that an officer candidate is not approved or confirmed by the Township Committee, the fire company must provide via election a new replacement candidate within 30 days to be approved by the Township Committee or appeal to the Township Committee in writing within 10 days of the Township Committee's decision to have that officer be approved. The Township Committee will have 10 additional days to provide the respective fire company with its decision in writing.
D. 
All chiefs and line officers of the Mendham Township Fire Department shall meet the New Jersey Division of Fire Safety requirements as set forth by the state for each chief and officers' position by N.J.A.C. 5:73-1.6.
E. 
No resignation of any officer shall become effective until submitted to and accepted by the Township Committee. In the absence or disability of the fire company chief the next successor in the chain of command shall automatically be invested with the responsibilities and powers of the next line officer.
F. 
All the officers shall hold office for the terms herein provided or until their successors shall have been duly elected. Specific duties of the Chief and/or other line officers serving in his/her absence shall include to:
(1) 
Grant or withhold permission, in his or her discretion or of the line officers, for members of the Mendham Township Fire Department to enter environments immediately dangerous to life and health, enter emergency scenes, use Department apparatus to help fight a fire or respond to an emergency, and appoint competent operators for all motorized apparatus.
(2) 
Direct the operations of other officers and members who shall keep the Department in efficient order by inspecting and operating all motorized equipment on a regular basis and keeping documentation of all responses, training and Department activities.
(3) 
Arrange drills and demonstrations so that all Department members are familiar with proper and efficient operation of all equipment and apparatus in accordance with current best practices.
(4) 
Have hoses, pumps, ladders and apparatus tested and inspected annually.
(5) 
Submit to the Township Committee an annual report within the first quarter of the year for the prior year's activities, calls and drills of the fire company. Additionally reports will be submitted by the Township fire company chiefs to the Township Fire Official in accordance with the Township Alarm System Ordinance, Chapter 82.
(6) 
The chief of each company shall keep an inventory of all equipment and supplies in the fire company. The chief of each company shall prepare and submit an annual operations and capital projects estimated budget for the next calendar year to the Township Chief Financial Officer and Township Administrator.
A. 
The company chief, or in his absence and if applicable, his successors in the chain of command as set forth herein, in all cases shall have the sole and absolute control and command over all persons and fire apparatus attached to the Department and all other fire apparatus and firefighters aiding the Department and he shall direct their operations at all fires and emergencies or incidents requiring a Fire Department response so as most effectively to prevent the destruction of life and property except those responsibilities now or hereafter designated by state law or regulation, or by local ordinance for the Fire Subcode Official, Fire Official and/or Fire Supervisor. In the absence of the Chief, his successors in the chain of command as set forth herein shall take prompt and efficient measures and use the means of the Department to extinguish the same and shall also have the sole and absolute control over all the apparatus and members of the Department and over all persons and apparatus aiding or assisting the Department in such cases.
B. 
If a Mendham Township Fire Officer responds to a fire or incident and the incident is not in his/her district, and prior to arrival that district officer shall accept command, he or she shall be the designated incident commander until a district fire officer or recognized designee communicates with the responding officer and transfers command.
C. 
If a Mendham Township Fire Department officer is not available to handle the emergency incident as command, the most recent ex-chief who meets N.J.A.C. 5:73-1.6 on the scene will take command, in his or her absence it will be up to a requested mutual aid Fire Department's highest-ranking fire officer on the scene to take command of the incident. Should none of the above be available, the next qualified to take command and control of an incident shall be the most qualified Fire Department member on the scene who meets N.J.A.C. 5:73-1.6.
D. 
The Fire Chief or line officer or mutual aid fire officer is authorized to enter property, order evacuation, establish fire lines and prevent access as necessary or appropriate in the interest of public safety during an emergency, and to preserve order at emergency incidents with the power to arrest any disorderly person while in performance of such duties. All other powers, duties, functions and responsibility for the Fire Department are retained by the Township Committee.
E. 
At no time will the Mendham Township Fire Official have any authority to take command or control of an incident occurring in Mendham Township unless in the event that the above criteria have been met and no other qualified officers or chiefs are present on scene.
A. 
It shall be the duty of the members of the respective fire companies to attend to the fire apparatus committed to their charge and the buildings in which they are kept, but nothing shall be construed as affecting the right of the Township to control the apparatus and the use and occupancy of the fire house and buildings belonging to the Township.
B. 
All fire apparatus donated to Mendham Township or paid for with Township funds shall be titled and held in the name of the Township of Mendham.
A. 
The members of the Fire Department, made up of the respective companies, who shall have been confirmed by the Township Committee, and whose names appear upon the roll of firemen which shall be submitted to and approved by the Township Committee at its first regular meeting of the month of January in each year, shall, each year thereafter, elect from among their assigned fire company members any such officers. The election shall be held at the headquarters of the respective fire company and in such manner as may be provided by the constitution and bylaws of the fire company, provided that the constitution and bylaws shall not be in any way in contradiction to any local ordinance, state and federal statutes, if any, and if such contradiction exists, then the latter law shall apply. Probationary members shall not have the right to vote under this subsection.
B. 
The Fire Department shall consist of as many members as per the respective fire companies' bylaws and as confirmed by the Township Committee.
C. 
Every senior member of the Fire Department shall be at least 18 years of age at the time of his election thereto, and shall furnish a doctor's certificate showing physical fitness to perform the duties of the assigned position established by the fire companies' constitution and/or bylaws. The applicant shall provide the required documentation and information requested by the fire company's membership investigating committee and the committee shall recommend, if appropriate, the application to the Township Committee.
D. 
Eligibility. To be eligible for membership in a fire company, a person shall meet the following qualifications:
(1) 
Be of sound mind and body and of good moral character.
(2) 
Be willing to accept, train and carry out the responsibilities of the applied for/accepted position.
E. 
Number of members. The fire companies shall fix the number of members for their respective companies and junior firefighters' auxiliaries and shall establish appropriate qualifications for membership in accordance with applicable state laws and regulations for the positions assigned.
F. 
Notification to Township Committee. Each fire company shall notify the Township Committee of any new member of its company or junior firefighters' auxiliary in order that such member may become entitled to and receive all of the benefits of membership.
G. 
Qualified member in good standing. A member shall continue in good standing so long as he or she:
(1) 
Is not charged with an offense involving moral turpitude or neglect of duty by any law enforcing authority, the Township Committee, the Chief of his or her company or the Board of Inquiry of his or her respective fire company.
(2) 
Meets his or her respective fire company's bylaws requirements for active duty status during each year of his/her first seven years of membership, the duty to consist of attendance at calls, drills and company activities.
(3) 
Performs such duties as may be required by his/her company after the initial probationary period.
(4) 
Continues to meet the requirements of the above section.
(5) 
Abides by the regulations and rules set forth by the Township Employee Handbook.
(6) 
Passes an initial background check which will include fingerprinting and an annual motor vehicles record check. Any member who is arrested has an obligation to bring the occurrence to the attention of the chief of his or her company within 24 hours. The member must submit a police report or other documentation concerning the arrest and charges and will be subject to administrative review. Noncompliance with these requirements and/or misrepresentation of the circumstances of the arrest can serve as grounds for suspension and/or expulsion.
A. 
A fire company may have an auxiliary and/or association members to assist in the overall mission of the fire company as established by the fire companies' constitution and/or bylaws.
B. 
Junior firefighters.
(1) 
Membership. To be eligible for membership in the junior firefighters' auxiliary, a person shall be between age 14 and 18 years of age and shall present written permission from his/her parents or legal guardians to join the junior firefighters' auxiliary. Such permission shall be acknowledged in writing on the member's application to join. Additionally, applicant shall furnish a doctor's certificate showing physical fitness to perform the duties of the assigned position.
(2) 
Training. A fire company having a junior firefighters' auxiliary shall provide for the training of the members of its junior firefighter auxiliary for purposes of eventual full membership in the fire company. Except as otherwise provided in the subsection of this section, each member of a junior firefighter auxiliary shall attend meetings and participate in drills and training programs as required by the fire company for the aforesaid purposes.
(3) 
Exclusions from hazardous duty. No member of a junior firefighter auxiliary shall be required to perform duties which would expose him/her to the same degree of hazard as a regular member of the fire company. Every member of a junior firefighters' auxiliary shall promptly obey all orders issued by the chief of the fire company or line officers serving in the absence of the chief. No member of a junior firefighter auxiliary shall enter any burning building, fight a fire from a ladder, or operate any vehicle belonging to or under the jurisdiction of the Fire Department.
C. 
Auxiliaries/associational membership.
(1) 
Membership. To be eligible for membership in the auxiliary or as an association member, a person shall be at least age 14. All members under the age of 18 shall present written permission from his/her parents or legal guardians to join the auxiliary/association. Such permission shall be acknowledged in writing on the member's application to join. Members shall be covered by the requirements of this chapter and provided the appropriate benefits as such necessary insurance coverage during their duties of their membership.
(2) 
Training. A fire company having an auxiliary or association membership shall provide for the training of the members of its auxiliary for purposes of ensuring an understanding of the required safety and activities of the auxiliary in assisting the fire company in its mission.
(3) 
Exclusions from hazardous duty. No member of an auxiliary shall be required to perform duties which would expose him/her to the same degree of hazard as a regular member/firefighter of the fire company. Every member of an auxiliary/association shall promptly obey all orders issued by the chief of the fire company or line officers serving in the absence of the chief. No member of an auxiliary shall enter any training or emergency scene that is not controlled and without direct supervision of a Township fire officer or operate any vehicle belonging to or under the jurisdiction of the Fire Department.
A. 
Members and officers of the Fire Department are subject to discipline, which shall include verbal warnings, written warnings, demotion, suspension and expulsion, for misconduct including behavior unbecoming a public employee/volunteer, violation of Township policies, or violation of Fire Department bylaws and rules. Formal complaints may be initiated by the Chief, any deputy or Assistant Chief or the Township Administrator. Formal written charges shall be filed against any member or officer of the Fire Department setting forth the violation and the general facts supporting the violation. Departmental charges, for violations of fire company standard operating guidelines shall be heard by the Board of Inquiry or such committee as so designated by the member's fire company. The member charged with a violation(s) may request that the hearing be transferred from the fire company committee to the Township Administrator or his/her designee. All charges related solely to violations of Township personnel policies will be heard by the Township Administrator or his/her designee and shall afford the officer or member so charged an opportunity to defend him or herself. If the Township Administrator determines that such officer or member is guilty of said charges, the Township Administrator may suspend, demote or remove from membership said officer or member. Any hearing of the charges shall be held within 45 days from the service of the charges upon such officer or member.
B. 
Hearings. The officer or member charged shall be permitted to answer the charges, cross-examine witnesses against him or her, and provide witnesses and/or evidence on his or her behalf.
C. 
The Chief or the Township Administrator may suspend any member of the Mendham Township Fire Department pending formal charges against the member and an opportunity for a hearing if the Chief or Administrator determines that the suspension is necessary to the health, morale, public safety, welfare, good working order, or discipline of the Fire Department. When any member is suspended as provided for herein, the member shall be informed of the suspension and the reasons therefor in writing. Charges shall be filed within 10 days of the suspension.
D. 
Any officer or member wishing to appeal the determination of the Township Administrator or Chief must file a written notice of appeal to the Township Committee with the Township Clerk not later than 10 days after the decision of the Township Administrator and notice of the decision to the affected officer or member. The Township Committee shall hear the appeal at its next meeting pursuant to N.J.S.A. 10:4-12(b)(8).
E. 
The Township Administrator shall give written notice to the Township Committee of any suspension, demotion or expulsion of any officer or member of the Fire Department. If no written appeal has been filed, as provided for in § 170-8D, the decision of the Township Administrator shall be confirmed by the Township Committee by resolution at its next meeting.
F. 
Post-suspension. A member or officer in suspension may resign before his or her hearing but shall not be eligible to apply for reinstatement until three years after the date of resignation and is subject to approval by the Township Committee.
G. 
Post-expulsion. No application for reinstatement within three years is to be accepted by the Fire Department or Township from any ex-member who may or has been expelled or dismissed from the Fire Department. If after three years the Fire Department approves of the reinstatement, then it must seek final approval from the Township Committee.
H. 
All complaints alleging violations of Township personnel policies against any officer or member of the Fire Department received by any officer or member of a Fire Company from any person or entity shall be immediately forwarded to the Township Administrator. The failure to provide the Administrator with a complaint will result in the disciplinary action, up to and including expulsion, against the offending officer(s) or member(s).
A. 
The Mendham Township Fire Department has written mutual aid agreements with the County of Morris and its municipalities as agreed to in the 2016 county wide fire mutual aid agreement. This agreement also extends to Somerset County and the other neighboring counties and municipalities of the Township and as part of the New Jersey Fire Service Resource Emergency Deployment Act.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See N.J.S.A. 52:14E-11 et seq.
B. 
It shall be the responsibility of the respective fire companies' chief, or, in his or her absence, the fire company officers, to ensure proper Fire Department coverage of the Township at all times. This shall include when apparatus and manpower is requested to respond to an emergency including when requested to respond into other municipalities or if manpower and apparatus are requested to participate in nonemergency events such as a parade, funeral, muster or fire training class within the neighboring counties and municipalities specified in the mutual aid agreements. Apparatus participation at all nonemergency events which are outside the mutual aid area require the consent of the Township Administrator and the Township Fire Chief.
C. 
During a state of emergency, the Township OEM coordinator and fire company chiefs are charged with the authority to permit apparatus and manpower to mobilize to other municipalities.
D. 
Only the Fire Chief, or in his or her absence, the highest-ranking fire company line officer and Township OEM Coordinator, have the requisite authority to keep from or provide apparatus to respond to mutual aid requests in such circumstances where manpower is unavailable, equipment is out of service or Township fire protection would be severely impacted.
A. 
Local enforcement. Pursuant to Section 11 of the Uniform Fire Safety Act, N.J.S.A. 52:27D-192 et seq., the New Jersey Uniform Fire Safety Act shall be locally enforced in the Township of Mendham.
B. 
Agency designation. The local enforcing agency shall be the Bureau of Fire Prevention as set forth in Chapter 177 of the Mendham Township General Ordinances.
(1) 
Specific duties of the Fire Official shall be as set forth in § 177-7 and as otherwise set forth in this chapter.
An elected Township Committee member may be appointed as the liaison with the Mendham Township Fire Department for communications and representative activities.
A. 
The Township Committee shall contract with all fire companies and provide for same by ordinance.
B. 
It is resolved with the adoption and passage of this chapter that a separate written agreement from the Township with both Township fire companies will be provided and agreed upon once every 15 years. The agreement with each of the fire companies shall outline the use and occupancy of each fire house facility and fire company owned equipment and furnishings for both municipal use and use by the respective fire companies and the Township first aid squad. This chapter will govern the operations of the Fire Department.