[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of the Township of West Hanover as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 10-1-2007 by Ord. No. 2007-19]
Editor's Note: This ordinance was adopted as Ch. 77 but was renumbered to maintain the alphabetical organization of the Code.
[Amended 9-8-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-17]
The purpose of this article is to provide the authority, procedures and requirements to seek collection and reimbursement for the reasonable costs of responding to emergency incidents, either directly or in coordination with the Dauphin County Emergency Management Agency (EMA), the Township Emergency Management Coordinator EMC, West Hanover Township Fire Company and/or any recognized fire company serving West Hanover Township. Fire service calls, false alarms, nuisance alarms, hazardous material incidents, environmental incidents, and safety and rescue incidents coordinated via Dauphin County EMA and 911 responses, and those that use hazardous material abatement equipment and materials, are also eligible for reimbursement.
[Amended 9-8-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-17]
The West Hanover Township Board of Supervisors by and through its authority and relationship with the West Hanover Township Fire Company and/or any recognized fire company as per Chapter 19, § 19-3, of the Township Code of Ordinances hereby authorizes the recovery of real and reasonable costs incurred by the volunteer emergency services organization involving any hazardous material incident, environmental incident or safety and rescue incident or operation, including, but not limited to, vehicular accidents and fires, that occur in West Hanover Township.
[Added 9-8-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-17]
False and/or nuisance alarms are deemed to be a waste of time, manpower, and equipment and create the potential for serious injury to Fire Company personnel and other responding emergency personnel. "False alarm" means the activation of any alarm system which results in a response by the Fire Company and which is caused by the negligence or intentional misuse of the alarm system by the owner, its employees, agents or any other activation of an alarm system not caused by heat, smoke or fire, exclusive of a nuisance alarm. "Nuisance alarm" means the activation of any alarm system which results in a response by the Fire Company, caused by mechanical failure, malfunction, improper installation, lack of proper maintenance or any other response for which the Fire Company is unable to determine the apparent cause of the alarm activation. Alarm activations caused by earthquakes, severe weather, or power outages are not considered false or nuisance alarms.
No fee shall be assessed for the first three false alarms or nuisance alarms at the same premises responded to by the Fire Company during any 12 consecutive months. Thereafter, the owner shall pay the following fees for false alarms or nuisance alarms responded to by the Fire Company at the same premises during any 12 consecutive months:
West Hanover Township recognizes the need to bill for volunteer fire, rescue and hazmat services conducted within the Township to aid in the provision of emergency services.
No person, firm, corporation requiring emergency services shall be denied services due to lack of insurance or ability to pay.
Any applicable charges for volunteer emergency services rendered shall be billed directly to the user of such services or user's insurance company.
West Hanover Township, West Hanover Township Fire Company No. 1 and/or any recognized fire company may, either directly or through any third-party billing agency with which it has contracted for billing and/or collections for volunteer fire, rescue and hazmat services, make arrangements with users of such services and/or their financially responsible party for installment payments of bills.
The West Hanover Township Board of Supervisors, West Hanover Township Fire Company No. 1 and/or any recognized fire company is hereby authorized to enter into a contract with a third-party billing agency and/or collection agency for performance of emergency, rescue and hazmat services billing and/or collection services, provided that the following standards for third-party billing contracts are met:
The third-party billing service is to be provided at a rate not to exceed 20% of fees collected or at an amount consistent with the fair-market value for services rendered.
Neither the billing agency nor any of its employees are subject to exclusion from any user fee.
The billing agency is bonded and/or insured in amounts satisfactory to West Hanover Township.
The Township, West Hanover Township Fire Company No. 1 and/or any recognized fire company may, in its discretion, bill additionally for material and vehicle costs in the case of any major, extraordinary or unique incidents, including, but not limited to, hazardous materials spills, fire emergency and rescue incidents that destroy or severely damage emergency services equipment.
Volunteer fire and rescue services shall initiate user fees for the delivery of emergency services, supplies and equipment to the scene of any hazardous material incident, environmental incident or safety and rescue incident or operation, including vehicular accidents and fires that occur on the roadways in West Hanover Township. The rate of the user fee shall be that which is usual, customary and reasonable in accordance with standard practice and industry standards.
Every person and/or utility that is provided with volunteer emergency, rescue and hazmat services shall be billed a user fee in accordance with this article.
The user fee for volunteer emergency services rendered shall be billed directly to the user of such services' insurance company. If the insurance company is not known, the user of services shall be billed directly, with instructions to forward the bill to his/her insurance provider.
Any and all amounts collected as a result of this article shall be used for the replacement and maintenance of emergency services materials and equipment.
West Hanover Township may implement rules and/or regulations and/or revoke or amend existing rules and/or regulations as may be deemed necessary for the billing and/or collection of user fees pursuant to this article.
The user fee is anticipated to be paid by the user's insurance company. In the instance where the Township receives official notification from the insurance carrier that it will not honor the invoice, the Township, West Hanover Township Fire Company No. 1, and/or any recognized Fire Company is authorized to invoice the Responsible Party directly and take any legal action necessary to collect the fee(s), including negotiating a settlement.
The Township, West Hanover Township Fire Company No. 1 and/or any recognized Fire Company may, at its discretion, write off the uncollected fee amounts as a bad debt, without prejudice to the Responsible Party.
Should the Township, West Hanover Township Fire Company No. 1, and/or any recognized Fire Company determine that an insurance carrier has remitted the fee to the Responsible Party involved and that the party has failed to remit the fee, the Township, West Hanover Township Fire Company No. 1, and/or any recognized Fire Company are authorized to pursue all legal means and appropriate action in order to collect the account.
Nothing in this article shall be construed to affect any suit or proceeding impending in any court, or any rights acquired, or liability incurred, or any cause of action acquired or existing, under any act or ordinance hereby; nor shall any just or legal right or remedy or any character be lost, impaired or affected by this article.
This article repeals West Hanover Township Resolution No. 1999-22, passed on December 20, 1999.
The Secretary of West Hanover Township shall certify to the adoption of this article and cause the same to be published as required by law; and this article shall take full force and effect immediately upon final passage and approval.