Borough of Downingtown, PA
Chester County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Downingtown 3-1-1995 by Ord. No. 95-5.[1] Amendments noted where applicable.]
Firemen's Relief Association — See Ch. 28.
Police Department — See Ch. 65.
Fire prevention — See Ch. 146.
Fireworks — See Ch. 148.
Editor's Note: This ordinance also repealed former Ch. 24, Fire Department, adopted 1-4-1909, as amended.

§ 24-1 Makeup of Department.

The Alert Fire Company No. 1 and the Minquas Fire Company No. 2 shall constitute the Fire Department of the Borough of Downingtown.

§ 24-2 Appointment of Chief.

[Amended 2-18-2015 by Ord. No. 2015-01]
Borough Council shall appoint the Chief of the Downingtown Fire Department. The Chief shall serve a term of three years. Such appointments shall be made before November of the third year of the previously appointed Chief's term.

§ 24-3 Qualifications of Chief.

[Amended 12-18-1996 by Ord. No. 96-18; 2-18-2015 by Ord. No. 2015-01]
No one shall be eligible for the office of Chief of the Department unless he/she shall have attained the age of 25 years, is a citizen of the United States and resides within a ten-mile radius from the Borough limits. The Chief must have formal training in the following areas: firefighting, incident command, vehicle rescue, pump operation, arson investigation, hazardous materials and safety. Formal training shall consist of classes or seminars, sponsored by the state or county, leading to the granting of a certificate of completion.

§ 24-4 Powers and duties of Chief.

The Chief of the Department shall have full control of the Fire Department, assign to each company its duties when the occasion arises and dismiss said companies when the services are no longer required.
In case of fire or emergencies, he/she shall have full control of all fire apparatus, equipment and personnel.
He/she shall prescribe rules for the regulation and management of said companies involving fires, emergencies and department functions.
If deemed necessary, he/she shall cause the scene of a fire or emergency to be secured, admitting Borough officials and those immediately interested in the property. The area must be considered safe for entry, or at his/her discretion, all entry can be denied.
He/she shall issue and enforce all such orders in his/her judgment to save lives and property and control hazards at emergency scenes involving the Fire Department.
Annually the Fire Chief shall provide a written report to the Council and the Fire Protection Advisory Board (FPAB) concerning the activities of the previous year, the condition of equipment and future plans. This report should be submitted at February's meeting for the previous calendar year.
He/she shall see to the enforcement of all ordinances, rules and regulations of the Council governing the Fire Department.
The Chief shall divide his/her time equally between said companies and shall chair an annual Department meeting, monthly officers meetings and bimonthly training exercises.
For all purposes touching the functions of his/her office, he/she shall have free access at all times to the houses and buildings of the companies of said Department.
He/she shall receive for his/her services such compensation as shall be determined by the Borough Council from time to time.

§ 24-5 Election of assistants.

Each of the companies constituting the Fire Department shall, at a meeting each December, elect one of its members to act as Assistant to the Chief of the Department for the term of one year. Such Assistants shall be given the rank respectively of Deputy and Assistant by the Chief of the Department. Effective January 1, 1996, these Assistants must meet the training qualifications for Chief.

§ 24-6 Duties of assistants.

In case the Department is called into service in the absence of the Chief of the Department, his/her duties shall be performed by the next line officer in the Fire Department chain of command. This line officer shall be vested with all the powers and authority residing with the Chief of the Department during the continuance of service.

§ 24-7 Removal of Chief.

A majority of the Council at any regular or special meeting may remove the Chief for gross negligence of duty.

§ 24-8 Filling of vacancy.

[Amended 2-18-2015 by Ord. No. 2015-01]
If for any reason the Chief fails to complete his/her term, the Assistant Chief or Deputy Chief shall be appointed by Borough Council to fill the vacancy of the Chief until Borough Council appoints a new Chief.

§ 24-9 Disciplinary action; appeal.

Disciplinary actions will be the responsibility of the Chief of the Department to oversee. Any penalty can be appealed to a committee of the Chief and two Assistants and then, if necessary, to the Borough Council.

§ 24-10 Fire police.

[Amended 8-6-1997 by Ord. No. 97-6]
Each fire company shall elect a limited number of fire police, who shall be approved and sworn in by the Mayor and who shall act in times of fire or other emergencies under the direction of the Chief of the Department or Chief of Police, if so ordered.
The fire police shall have the police powers necessary to perform their duties when functioning as special fire police at any function event or parade conducted by and under the auspices of any volunteer fire company or any other event or parade (including non-fire-fighting events such as directing traffic for commercial establishments), conducted by an organization other than a volunteer fire company, provided that the request to perform these duties is made by the municipality in which the event shall be conducted. A person functioning as special fire police and performing the duty under any of the above conditions shall be deemed to be performing the duties of his employment and as such is covered under the Borough's workers' compensation insurance.

§ 24-11 Budgets.

The Department Chief annually will propose a budget for maintenance, training, operating supplies and new equipment to the FPAB. This budget, including a Capital Equipment Replacement Schedule, will be evaluated and reviewed by the FPAB for submission to their respective municipalities for approval.

§ 24-11.1 Workers' compensation coverage.

[Added 8-6-1997 by Ord. No. 97-6]
According to Section 601(a)(1) of the Workers' Compensation Act, a member of the volunteer fire company is eligible for workers' compensation insurance if he/she is:
Actively engaged as a fire fighter.
Going to or from a fire which his or her company attended, including travel time from and the direct return to a fire fighter's home, place of business or other place where he/she shall have been when he/she received the call.
Participating in a fire drill with his/her company, training.
Repairing or doing work on or about the fire apparatus or buildings and grounds if authorized by the Fire Chief or whoever is in charge.
While answering any emergency call for any purpose.
Riding on the fire apparatus which is owned or used by the fire company.
Performing any other duty of the volunteer fire company as authorized by the municipality.
Unauthorized activities of Volunteer Fire Department.
The Borough of Downingtown does not authorize members of the Volunteer Fire Department to participate in the following non-fire-fighting competitive activities that place the participants at a greater risk for workers' compensation coverage. These types of activities shall include but not be limited to:
All athletic events, unless expressly approved, in writing, by the Fire Chief and Borough Council.
Tug of war.
Dunk tanks.
Under no circumstances will the fire company be permitted to participate in any ancillary activities where the members of the fire company are serving, selling or distributing alcoholic beverages.
Under no circumstances will a member be covered under the Borough's workers' compensation insurance if he/she is injured as a result of controlled substance abuse.

§ 24-12 Duties of volunteer fire department members.

In order to include all members of volunteer fire companies or of the Volunteer Fire Department of the Borough of Downingtown within the provisions of the Act of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania approved the second day of July 1941, known as the "Act of 1941, P.L. 222," in addition to the coverage described in the Act of 1939, P.L. 566,[1] the Borough of Downingtown hereby authorizes members of the Volunteer Fire Department of the Borough of Downingtown to perform the following duties:
To fight fires and handle emergencies, including all activities ancillary thereto.
To operate an ambulance, including all activities ancillary thereto.
To respond to out-of-jurisdiction calls (mutual aid).
To inspect buildings relative to said building's being a fire hazard.
To identify and remove fire hazards.
To assist in the removal or salvage of all property of any character which has been subject to windstorms, floods, accidents or fires.
To assist in the maintenance, repair, installation or removal of any real estate or other property owned by said volunteer fire company or property owned by the Borough of Downingtown which is being used or operated by said companies.
To assist with the Civil Defense Program.
To attend and participate in fire training schools, exhibitions or programs, whether held locally or not.
To attend or participate in fire prevention programs.
To assist in the maintenance of alarm systems or fire hydrants.
To assist in the rescue of persons or animals.
To attend meetings, i.e., company, Department, Fire Chiefs, association, etc.
To participate in fund-raising activities.
To assist in pump outs or water rescues.
To participate in parades.
To respond to any authorized call.
To perform such other duties as the Chief of the Department or the Borough Council may from time to time approve.
To go and return from any of the above duties in any form of conveyance.
Editor's Note: See now 77 P.S. § 1031 et seq.

§ 24-13 Fire protection advisory board; repealer; when effective.

The Borough shall establish a Fire Protection Advisory Board (FPAB) comprised of the Chief of the Fire Department, a Borough Council member, a citizen of the Borough, a supervisor of East Caln Township and a citizen of East Caln Township. The composition of the Fire Protection Advisory Board may be increased to include representatives from neighboring municipalities that have contributed resources to the Fire Department, provided that an appropriate modification to the agreement between East Caln Township and the Borough is adopted. The Fire Protection Advisory Board shall recommended budgets, financial plans and a Capital Equipment Replacement Schedule in cooperation with the Chief of the Fire Department and review contracts and services provided to the municipalities served.
All prior ordinances which constituted or were incorporated within Chapter 24 of the Code of the Borough of Downingtown prior to the effective date of this chapter are hereby repealed.
This chapter shall be effective upon enactment as provided by law.