Township of Lawrence, MI
Van Buren County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Board of Trustees of the Township of Lawrence 8-14-2008 (Ord. No. 22 of the 2005 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
An ordinance to provide that the Lawrence Township Board may establish the Lawrence Township Emergency Services (LTES); provide for the basic organizational structure of this Department; delegate broad management authority and responsibility to the Department Chief; provide standards of accountability for the Chief and other Department personnel to the Township Board; and repeal any parts or portions of ordinances inconsistent herewith.
A. 
This chapter is adopted pursuant to the authority granted the Township Board under the Police and Fire Protection Act, Public Act 33 of 1951, as amended, (MCLA § 41.801 et seq.).
B. 
The purpose of this chapter is to provide that the Lawrence Township Board shall hereby establish the Lawrence Township Emergency Services (LTES) (referred to here after as the "Department"); to establish jurisdiction and authority of the Township Board over personnel selection; to establish authority to adopt rules and regulations for the conduct of personnel and maintenance of equipment; to employ and appoint a Chief, officers and service members; and to prescribe the powers and duties of Department volunteers and employees.
A. 
The Department shall be responsible for providing services to the entire geographic boundaries of Lawrence Township, including Section 37 (formerly a portion of Arlington Township), and named sections of other local units of government named in and protected by contract approved by the Lawrence Township Board, the additional area presently being protected is as follows: Sections 25 through 28 of Arlington Township; that part of Sections 29 and 30 of Arlington Township lying south of 42nd Avenue; and Sections 31 through 36 of Arlington Township.
B. 
The Department shall restrict its delivery of emergency services to the geographic area described in this section and to other jurisdictions with which the Township Board has negotiated and entered into mutual aid agreements.
Consistent with appropriations and budget authorization, the Department is authorized to provide, to the citizens of all covered areas, the following programs and services:
A. 
Fire suppression.
B. 
Fire education.
C. 
Emergency medical education.
D. 
Fire prevention and code enforcement.
E. 
Emergency medical services at the EMT basic level.
F. 
Other emergency services, including, but not limited to, cold-water rescue, hazardous material operations and vehicle extrications.
A. 
The Lawrence Township Emergency Services (LTES) shall be actively supervised and managed by a Department Chief appointed by the Township Board. The Chief, to be qualified, shall be trained and certified at least as a Fire Officer III and an EMT, basic level, unless lesser qualifications are expressly approved by the Township Board. To ensure continuity of command and appropriate incident supervision, the Township Board authorizes the following officer positions which shall be subordinate to the Chief, and which create the following chain of command in descending order of authority:
(1) 
Fire Assistant Chief.
(2) 
Medical Assistant Chief.
(3) 
Captain.
(4) 
Lieutenant.
(5) 
Safety officer(s).
(6) 
Service members.
B. 
With the advice and assistance of the Chief, the Township Board shall develop and approve job descriptions for each of these positions. Job descriptions in use on the effective date of this chapter shall continue until changed by the Township Board except the Chief, in addition to any other job requirement, shall be qualified as provided in this section. With the advice of the Chief, the Township Board shall fill subordinate positions. All officers in the chain of command, including service members, shall be trained as required by this chapter and the rules and regulations of the Department.
C. 
Officers and service members shall be selected based on experience, training, and qualifications, and who would, in the Township Board's judgment and at its discretion, best perform the duties associated with providing emergency services to the citizens of Lawrence Township and any other geographical area covered by agreement with the approval of the Lawrence Township Board.
D. 
Temporary officers may be appointed by the senior officer present at any emergency to ensure the continuity of the chain of command. Such temporary appointments shall terminate when the officer with the given responsibility becomes available.
E. 
Each command officer shall be responsible that subordinates carry out orders. Service members shall perform orders consistent with this chapter and the rules and regulations of the Department.
The Township Board shall approve an annual appropriation for the operation and maintenance of the Department and its equipment, and for that purpose shall have the authority to use general funds, to initiate the creation of a special assessment district and levy assessments, sell bonds, establish user fees, or raise revenues in any other manner provided for under law for the operation and maintenance of the Department; it shall provide for payment of any debts incurred incidental to its continued operation; it shall purchase necessary equipment, and/or construct public buildings for uses incidental to the maintenance and operation of a department devoted to providing emergency services to its community.
The Township Board shall establish rules and regulations for the operations of the Department and the care of the equipment through adoption of general policies, and the Chief shall prepare and enforce specific procedures consistent with such policies.
A. 
The Township Board shall appoint an LTES Chief who shall be the chief administrative officer of the Department. The Chief shall be accountable to the Township Board for the efficient and effective operation of the Department, and for the Department's compliance with all state laws and administrative rules, Township ordinances and policies. The Chief shall serve at the pleasure of the Board.
B. 
The Chief shall develop written administrative rules to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the Department, including preplanning and post-incident critiques, regulations, as well as assigning and scheduling of personnel, and shall submit to the Township Board plans for the long-range needs of the Department.
C. 
The Chief shall be familiar with state and federal laws that impact on Department operations, and shall develop written rules and regulations, and issue orders consistent with applicable federal and state laws and administrative rules. Noncompliance of applicable state and federal laws and regulations shall be promptly reported to the Township Supervisor. In the event the Township Supervisor is also either the Fire Assistant Chief or the Medical Assistant Chief, any such report shall be made to the Township Clerk.
D. 
The Chief shall maintain a current copy of MIOSHA (Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Act) General Industry Safety Standards and shall develop written policies and procedures to ensure compliance. The Chief shall promptly inform the Township Board of any procedure or equipment that is not in compliance with any MIOSHA General Industry Safety Standard and shall recommend Board actions to achieve compliance.
E. 
The Chief shall review all personnel and operating problems that are not resolved at the Department level with the Township Supervisor or with the Township Clerk should the Supervisor also serve as either an Assistant Chief. The Chief shall also report Department activities to the Township Board monthly. A written report on Department activities shall be filed annually with the Township Board.
F. 
As needed, the Chief shall notify the Township Supervisor (or with the Township Clerk should the Supervisor also serve as either an Assistant Chief) of major problems or issues that require Board action. When such problems must be resolved immediately and it is impractical, or will endanger the health, safety or welfare of the Township or its residents, to wait until the next Board meeting to resolve the issue, the Township Supervisor (or with the Township Clerk should the Supervisor also serve as either an Assistant Chief) shall be empowered to resolve the issue or problem, subject to the subsequent report of the action to the Township Board.
G. 
The Chief shall hold regular Department informational and training meetings. The Chief may incur expenditures against the Department budget as appropriated by the Township Board. The Chief will monitor the unencumbered balances remaining in the Department budget and shall make timely recommendations for budget amendments at such time as the need for such amendments becomes known. The Department's expenditures shall not exceed the amounts appropriated. Capital outlay purchases shall be expressly approved by the Township Board upon roll call vote at a regular meeting or a special meeting called for purposes of approving the expenditure.
H. 
The Chief shall also be responsible for the following:
(1) 
Supervise the extinguishment of all fires that endanger the health, safety and welfare of residents of Lawrence Township and those geographical areas covered by agreement with the Township Board.
(2) 
Enforce Township burning ordinances.
(3) 
Ensure that all personnel are trained and qualified for the duties that they are expected to fulfill.
(4) 
Ensure that fire prevention programs are conducted.
(5) 
Ensure that qualified personnel conduct fire inspections and that the fire prevention code adopted by the Township Board is fairly and effectively enforced.
(6) 
Ensure that all Department equipment and buildings are properly maintained and in good working order.
(7) 
Ensure that all Department personnel comply with Departmental and Board rules, regulations and policies.
A. 
Applicants for vacant positions shall be of good character, possess a good driving record, and shall be screened by a physician of the Township Board's choice and at Township expense. The physician's examination shall determine if the applicant is physically fit and have the ability to perform assigned emergency operations. The physician will identity preexisting physical conditions that would preclude the applicant from performing the duties associated with services performed by the Department. To prove good character, an applicant shall submit to a drug screen and consent to a review of criminal records. To prove possession of a good driving record, an applicant shall permit a review of his or her driving history. The applicant shall sign whatever release as may be necessary to permit the Chief to obtain the required information.
B. 
All personnel shall serve an initial probationary period for a period of not less than six months. As provided by Township rules and regulations adopted for use by the Department, the probationary period may be extended.
C. 
Probationary status shall continue, at a minimum, until the personnel successfully complete the State of Michigan's Firefighter I or Emergency Medical Technician examinations.
D. 
At the conclusion of the minimum probationary period, the Chief may recommend that probationary personnel meeting all Department qualifications be given permanent membership status by the Township Board. The Chief shall also recommend to the Township Board the dismissal of personnel who do not or cannot meet the qualifications of a Department member and reasons for such recommendation.
E. 
Probationary service members shall be entitled to compensation and benefits as determined by the Township Board and shall be restricted to perform only those duties for which he or she has been specifically trained and qualified. Probationary service members shall not use emergency signal devices on their private vehicles.
A. 
The Chief shall develop a regular schedule of training classes, including an attendance requirement, for all Department personnel. The schedule shall specify the type, amount and frequency of training to be provided to service personnel necessary to assure that all employees are adequately trained to properly handle the inherent risks of firefighting and medical emergencies. The Chief shall ensure that a record of all personnel's participation and skill mastery is maintained. Personnel shall be certified before they are permitted to directly perform emergency operations. The Chief shall ensure that qualified individuals deliver in-house instruction whenever possible.
B. 
The Chief shall require that all personnel have achieved and maintained all certifications required by state or federal law or rule to perform fire suppression, emergency medical services, or other services performed by the Department.
A. 
The Chief shall be familiar with the provisions of federal and state laws and administrative rules related to employee safety and health regulations, and shall develop written procedures to ensure compliance.
B. 
The Chief shall establish and implement written procedures for emergency operations in compliance with current MIOSHA regulations. The written procedures shall include all of the following:
(1) 
Compliance with the National Incident Management System (NIMS) or other nationally recognized incident management system.
(2) 
A personnel accountability system that will be implemented at each emergency.
(3) 
Applicability to all employees who are operating at the emergency.
(4) 
Initial training and annual refresher training in emergency operations and the incident management system.
(5) 
Procedures that are in accordance with the "two in/two out" rules as found in the provisions of current MIOSHA standards.
(6) 
A trained employee shall function as the incident commander at each emergency.
A. 
Violations of this chapter, other Board or Department rule or regulation, or a conviction of a felony shall subject any personnel involved to disciplinary proceedings.
B. 
When the Chief has good cause to believe that a violation of this chapter, Board rules or Department regulations has occurred, the Chief shall document the violation and provide a written copy of the allegations to the alleged violator. The written allegations shall state the rule that is alleged to have been violated, the nature of any disciplinary action taken, and the consequences of any further recurrences.
C. 
The Chief may take disciplinary action consistent with this chapter, which may range from a reprimand, suspension or demotion or a combination of any of these sanctions, on his own authority depending on the Chief's consideration of the following five factors. If the alleged violation is deemed sufficiently serious to warrant discharge, the Chief shall suspend the Department member until the Chief recommends dismissal to the Township Board and the Board takes action consistent with this chapter. The Chief shall consider the following in taking disciplinary action:
(1) 
Seriousness of the violation.
(2) 
Consequences to the safety of others by the violation.
(3) 
Potential harm to the Department or the Township.
(4) 
Prior record of the individual.
(5) 
The degree of wantonness, if any, of the act.
D. 
Dismissal of a Department member shall be a decision of the Township Board upon the recommendation of the Chief following a hearing before the Township Board. Such hearing may be conducted in closed session if requested by the Department member who is subject to discharge.
E. 
If the Chief takes disciplinary action less than recommending discharge to the Township Board, the alleged violator may appeal the Chief's decision to a panel of service members selected by the membership for this purpose at the beginning of each calendar year. The Chief may choose to abide by the decision of the panel or leave undisturbed the original discipline, as the Chief finds most appropriate. All disciplinary decisions of the Chief shall stand and remain effective unless and until reversed by the Chief on the Chief's own counsel, by the Chief upon recommendation of the Department panel whose counsel the Chief chooses to accept or the Township Board, which shall affirm, deny, or modify the disciplinary action taken by the Chief.
F. 
The Township Board may, on its own initiative, bring disciplinary charges against any Department member. Disciplinary action initiated by the Township Board shall follow the above procedures, except that the responsibilities designated above to the Chief shall be performed by the Township Board.
G. 
In addition to such administrative rules that may be promulgated by the Chief, theft of property owned by the Township, or theft of property committed while performing duties of Department member, or other actions that are violations of state or federal penal codes, shall be cause for dismissal.
H. 
Service members shall not respond to emergencies, meetings or training sessions while under the influence of alcohol or any controlled substances. A violation of this provision shall subject the offender to discipline as deemed appropriate by the Chief under all the relevant circumstances.
Compensation to service members shall be in such amounts as may be determined from time to time by the Township Board. The Department shall keep accurate records that indicate the amount of compensable time served by all personnel. The time records shall be submitted quarterly to the Township Board for payment, and all such time slips, shall be reviewed and approved by the Department before submission.
A. 
The Chief, or the Chief's designee, may release facts regarding fires or other emergencies to the news media. The Chief or the Chief's designee shall speak to the media on behalf of the Department. All other personnel shall refer all media inquiries requiring a statement on behalf of the Department to the Chief or the designee.
B. 
Department personnel shall not, in connection with Department activities or functions, make statements or writings that constitute libel or slander, that would impede a law enforcement investigation or compromise the presumption of innocence until proven guilty or which would deny any person due process.
C. 
Members of the public will not be allowed in those portions of the Community Services Building used to store Department vehicles or equipment except when accompanied by a member of the Department or a Township employee. All Department personnel will always treat the public courteously and professionally.
A. 
When responding to emergencies, all personnel will drive emergency vehicles with appropriate concern for the safety of the public and defensive driving. Use of emergency signals on vehicles shall be considered a request for the right-of-way from other drivers. Repeated use of excess speed may result in discipline, including but not limited to dismissal from the Department.
B. 
Use of emergency signal equipment shall be permitted only when the Department has been officially dispatched to an emergency.
C. 
The Chief shall establish written regulations regarding the use of emergency signal equipment on Township-owned and personal vehicles.
A. 
Protective equipment shall be worn when engaged in firefighting in any enclosed structure, or outdoors as directed by the Chief or, if the Chief is not on scene, the incident commander. Protective equipment shall be worn by those Department members providing emergency medical services consistent with the Department's rules and regulations.
B. 
Lost or damaged equipment shall be reported as soon as possible to an officer. Township property shall be disposed of only with the prior approval of the Township Board. All Department-issued equipment and apparel shall be returned to the Chief upon terminating employment with the Department.
Only Township-owned vehicles and equipment may be kept at the Community Services Building. Department equipment shall not be borrowed for private use. Alcoholic beverages shall not be brought into the Community Services Building or used as shall be proscribed by Department rule or regulation. Controlled substances may not be brought onto Township property except as shall be medically prescribed.
The Chief, with the assistance of the Township Attorney, shall write rules and regulations applicable to the Department and its membership. Once written, these rules and regulations shall be presented to the Township Board for approval. Until approved, the constitution and bylaws of the former Fire Department and Quick Response Team, together with the Fire Department's Recommended Operations Guidelines (ROGs) and the Quick Response Team's Operational Guidelines (OGs), shall be deemed the rules and regulations of the Department to the extent that they do not conflict with the provisions of this chapter. In the event of conflict, this chapter shall control. Should any rule or regulation conflict with any other rule or regulation, the standard designed to give the most protection to the membership, as determined by the Chief, shall be deemed controlling; provided, however, in the event of a dispute, the Township Board shall be the last judge of the meaning, effect and applicability of any Department rule or regulation.
Should any court of competent jurisdiction declare any portion of this chapter unenforceable, the remainder of this chapter shall remain in full force and effect unaffected by the portion that might be so declared to be unenforceable.
This chapter shall take effect after notice of adoption through publication as required by law. All ordinances in conflict herewith are hereby repealed.