Borough of West Chester, PA
Chester County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Council of the Borough of West Chester 6-14-1972 as Ord. No. 10-1972. Section 7-4 amended at time of adoption of Code; see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I. Other amendments noted where applicable.]
Firemen's Relief Association — See Ch. 8.
Fire prevention — See Ch. 57.
The several fire companies of this borough shall constitute the "West Chester Fire Department."
[Amended 8-11-1982 by Ord. No. 14-1982]
There shall be elected, in the manner and at the time hereinafter stated, one (1) person who shall be called the "Fire Chief" of the Fire Department. Whenever the term of office of such Fire Chief is about to expire or a vacancy shall have occurred in said office in any manner, each of the fire companies of the borough shall severally, at its stated meeting in December, elect or appoint three (3) delegates, and the delegates thus selected shall hold a joint meeting, in the Council Chamber, on the Tuesday evening preceding the regular stated meeting of Council in the month of January following, and elect by ballot a Fire Chief as aforesaid for the term of three (3) years. The candidate receiving the highest number of votes shall be declared duly elected.
[Amended 8-11-1982 by Ord. No. 14-1982]
If an elected or appointed Fire Chief is an active member of any of the fire companies, he shall at once resign from any company office and shall not hold office during his tenure as Fire Chief. No one shall be eligible to the office of Fire Chief unless he shall have attained the age of twenty-five (25) years, is a citizen of the United States, has been an active member of the Fire Department for at least three (3) years immediately preceding his election or appointment, shall have held the position of Captain or Assistant Chief in the West Chester Fire Department for a one-year term and shall have attended training courses in fire fighting, arson investigation and leadership.
[Amended 8-11-1982 by Ord. No. 14-1982; 5-10-1989 by Ord. No. 11-1989]
The Fire Chief shall have full control of the Fire Department, assign to each company its duties, when occasion arises, and dismiss said companies when their services are no longer required. In case of fire, he shall have full control of all fire apparatus and give directions how, when or where to use them, where the hose shall be attached and direct the streams and shall have a general supervision of all matters. He may, with the approval of the Fire Committee, prescribe rules for the regulation and management of the companies at the fires and in going to and returning therefrom and, when in his judgment necessary, cause the scene of the fire to be roped in and admit no one within the enclosure except firemen and those immediately interested in the property. He shall issue and enforce all such orders as in his judgment may be calculated to protect the property and extinguish the fire. He shall see to the enforcement of all ordinances, rules and regulations of the Council governing the Fire Department. He shall investigate all fires and keep a correct account of them and shall at stated meetings of the Council, in the month of February of each year, make a report containing an account of all fires during the year past with the probable cause and approximate loss, as well as a full statement of the condition of the Department. He shall visit each company at least once a month, make an inspection of its apparatus, ascertain its condition and report any unsatisfactory condition to the Council. For all purposes touching the functions of his office, he shall have free access at all times to the houses and buildings of the companies of said Department. He shall receive for his services a sum to be determined by the Borough Council. The Fire Chief may also be designated as the Code Official (referred to in Chapter 57 herein) and, when the Code Official (referred to in Chapter 57 herein) is not available, shall be responsible for prevention of fires in the borough and enforcement of the Fire Code.
[Amended 8-11-1982 by Ord. No. 14-1982]
Each of the companies constituting the Fire Department shall, at its annual meeting in each year, elect one (1) of its members to act as Assistant Chief for the term of one (1) year. The Assistant Chief shall be the borough's representative in each company, and he shall be responsible for all borough equipment in his company. He shall work under the direction of the Fire Chief and shall submit a monthly report of his company's activities to the Fire Chief. He shall receive for his services a sum to be determined by the Borough Council.
In case of the Department's being called into service in the absence of the Fire Chief, his duties shall devolve upon and be performed by the ranking Assistant Chief present, and such Assistant shall be vested with all power and authority residing in the Fire Chief during the continuance of service or until the appearance of the Fire Chief, when the latter shall immediately assume control.
[Amended 8-11-1982 by Ord. No. 14-1982]
The Council, by a majority vote at any regular or special meeting, may remove the Fire Chief or any or all of the Assistants for just cause, only after their having been afforded a hearing before the Council. Vacancies occurring by such removal or in any manner, if in the office of Assistant Chief, shall be filled by appointment by the Council of an Assistant Chief, chosen from the same company to which said Assistant Chief belonged, for the unexpired term of the person whose office shall become vacant, or if in the office of Fire Chief, the Council shall appoint a Fire Chief until the next January, at which time a new Fire Chief shall be elected for a term of three (3) years.
The Fire Chief and each Assistant Chief shall take and subscribe before the Mayor an oath or affirmation similar to that prescribed for the regular police force. They shall appear at every fire in a uniform consisting of a coat, white in color, and no coat of such color shall be worn by any other member of the Fire Department. They shall have the power to enter such public and private buildings and manufacturing establishments as they may deem necessary for the inspection of the same and for becoming familiar therewith in order to afford protection against fire and thereby secure safety to the public.
The Fire Department of the borough will respond to any alarm of fire from any township where fire protection contracts are in existence. The Fire Department may respond to any alarm of fire from any township where assistance is requested.
The fire companies shall make every effort to maintain vehicles and equipment in perfect working order. All repairs to vehicles and equipment must be approved by the Fire Chief.
When supplies and/or repairs to vehicles and equipment are necessary to the efficiency of any of the fire companies, they shall be reported by the Fire Chief to the Borough Council, who may direct the purchase of the same.
Each fire company shall name not more than nine (9) members to be appointed as fire police, and each appointee shall be required to take an oath of office similar to that prescribed for the regular police force.
The fire police shall at all times be under the command and subject to the orders of the Fire Chief and his Assistants.
The orders shall first be given to the Fire Police Captain or, in his absence, to the next in command, who in turn will give it to the men, and, if the Captain is absent, the first fire police arriving on the scene shall have charge.
Anyone refusing to obey the orders of the fire police at times of fires shall be reported to the Fire Chief, who shall take appropriate action on the same.