Township of Waterford, NJ
Camden County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Waterford 11-9-1994 by Ord. No. 94-15. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Officers and employees — See Ch. 40.
Personnel policies — See Ch. 44.
Fire prevention — See Ch. 137.
There is hereby created and established the Waterford Township Fire Department in the County of Camden, State of New Jersey.
The object and purpose of the Fire Department shall be the preservation and protection of life and property from and during such fires and emergencies as may occur in the Township of Waterford and vicinity thereof.
[Amended 10-14-1998 by Ord. No. 98-16; 6-25-2008 by Ord. No. 2008-8; 10-12-2016 by Ord. No. 2016-21[1]]
A. 
The Waterford Township Fire Department shall consist of the following fire stations and other physical property as needed when designated by the Fire Chief:
(1) 
Station 232 located at Atco Avenue.
B. 
No other stations or volunteer fire companies may be formed without the consent and approval of the Mayor and Committee of the Township of Waterford.
[1]
Editor’s Note: This ordinance removed the reference to Station 233, located at Jackson Road. It noted that the Louden Fire Company was previously identified as Station 233; while said fire company remains as a named entity, it is no longer an active fire station to provide fire service to the Township of Waterford. Property in its ownership name remains available for emergency use by the Township Fire Department, Police Department, and Office of Emergency Management.
The Mayor and Committee shall have authority and control over the Fire Department. The Chief of the Fire Department, who shall be elected as hereinafter provided, shall report directly to the Mayor and Committee and be subject to the authority of the Mayor and Committee. The Fire Chief shall have daily control over the operations of the Fire Department and said fire equipment and apparatus belonging to the Township of Waterford, subject only to the authority and direction of the Mayor and Committee. As set forth below, the Fire Chief shall be responsible to the Mayor and Committee for the training and efficient operation of the Fire Department. The Fire Chief shall keep or cause to be kept an accurate inventory record of all equipment and property of the Fire Department and shall report monthly to the Mayor and Committee regarding the activities and general condition of the Department, including such suggestions or recommendations as may be proper and necessary. The Fire Chief shall also report promptly to the Township Administrator and Public Safety Director any Fire Department equipment or apparatus in need of immediate repair so that appropriate action may be taken as required.
[Amended 10-14-1998 by Ord. No. 98-16; 6-25-2008 by Ord. No. 2008-8]
The officers of the Fire Department shall consist of a Fire Chief, a Deputy Fire Chief and one Battalion Chief. Any additional officers appointed by the Fire Chief must meet the qualifications as set forth by this chapter. Any officers appointed by the Fire Chief would be subject to consent by resolution of the Mayor and Township Committee.
[Amended 10-14-1998 by Ord. No. 98-16; 6-25-2008 by Ord. No. 2008-8]
A. 
The Chief of the Fire Department, the Deputy Chief of the Fire Department, and the Battalion Chief of the Fire Department shall be elected for three-year terms, and the Chief, Deputy Chief and Battalion Chief shall be elected by the Fire Department members qualified to vote. The incumbent Fire Chief, Deputy Chief and Battalion Chief may run for re-election and succeed themselves in that position without limitation. The date for the election of Fire Department officers shall be selected no later than October 1 of each election year. The election will be conducted during the month of November of the election year using the date that was set by September 30 to fill the vacancies of chief officers. Written notification of the member elected Fire Chief, Deputy Chief and Battalion Chief shall be forwarded to the Municipal Clerk immediately following the election. The Fire Chief, Deputy Chief and Battalion Chief shall assume office commencing on the first day of January after said election and confirmation by the Mayor and Township Committee.
[Amended 10-12-2016 by Ord. No. 2016-21]
B. 
Officers.
(1) 
All candidates for Chief Officer positions must meet voting eligibility requirements as stipulated in § 26-8 of this chapter.
(2) 
All candidates for Deputy Fire Chief must have at least 12 years of fire service experience from the age of 18 and must have served at least one three-year term as Battalion Chief or Captain of the Waterford Township Fire Department.
(3) 
All candidates for Battalion Chief must have at least 10 years of fire service experience from the age of 18 and must have served at least one three-year term as Captain or Lieutenant of the Waterford Township Fire Department.
(4) 
For purposes of calculating time of experience, length of service time starts upon successful completion of New Jersey Firefighter I. If a member transfers from another department, a minimum of one year must be served as a Waterford Township Firefirefighter before being considered for a Chief's position unless a special waiver is granted by the Township Committee.
C. 
Qualifications for chief officers.
[Amended 10-12-2016 by Ord. No. 2016-21]
(1) 
All chief officers shall meet NFPA 1670 operations level in all disciplines and technician level in selected disciplines as stipulated by Departmental policy.
(2) 
All chief officers shall meet New Jersey State Police Hazardous Materials Technician Level and On Scene Incident Commander.
(3) 
All Fire Department officers shall meet the New Jersey Division of Fire Safety Fire Officer Requirements (N.J.A.C. 5:73-1.6).
(4) 
(Reserved)
(5) 
(Reserved)
(6) 
(Reserved)
(7) 
The Deputy Chief shall meet the requisite knowledge and skills in the following paragraphs of the 2003 Edition of NFPA 1021, Standard for Fire Officer Professional Qualifications: 3.2, 3.3, 4.3, 4.3.1, 5.4.5, 5.6, 5.6.1, 5.6.2, 5.7, 5.7.1, 6.6. 6.6.1, 6.6.2, 7.3, 7.3.1.
(8) 
The Chief of the Department shall meet the requisite knowledge and skills in the following paragraphs of the 2003 Edition of NFPA 1021, Standard for Fire Officer Professional Qualifications: 3.2, 3.3, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.3.1, 4.4, 5.4, 5.4.1, 5.4.2, 5.4.3, 5.4.4, 5.4.4, 5.4, 5.6.1, 5.6.2, 5.7, 5.7.1, 6.2, 6.2.1, 6.4.5, 6.4.7. 6.6. 6.6.1., 6.6.2.7.3, 7.3.1., 7.4, 7.4.1, 7.6, 7.6.1.
[Amended 10-14-1998 by Ord. No. 98-16]
All candidates for Municipal Fire Chief shall have had at least five years of supervisory fire experience involving the extinguishing of fires and should possess a knowledge of all fire laws and ordinances and of the problems encountered and procedures involved in the internal organization of the Township Fire Department. All candidates should have a thorough knowledge of all types of emergency responses and characteristics of accepted firefighting equipment and apparatus, and of the methods used in fighting and containing small and large fires. Candidates shall be able to obtain and make effective use of allocated funds, personnel, equipment and supplies and must be able to oversee the establishment and maintenance of needed personnel records and fire records as well as any other required federal, state or local files. Candidates for Municipal Fire Chief shall have served at least one term as Deputy Chief or Battalion Chief in the Waterford Township Fire Department.
[Amended 10-14-1998 by Ord. No. 98-16; 6-25-2008 by Ord. No. 2008-8]
A. 
Fire Department members eligible to vote for Fire Department chief officers shall be all members of the Department who answered 15% of emergency calls and 60% of called fire drills from the period November 30 through October 1 of the year of the election. A person which has been a member for at least six months shall be entitled to vote if that member has answered 15% of emergency calls and 60% of called fire drills during that six-month period. Fire Department life members who do not meet the 15% of emergency calls but do attend 60% of called fire drills and Fire Department sanctioned activities will also be eligible to nominate and vote for the Department's chief officers. Life members will be classified as any member in good standing for a period of 20 years of service. Eligibility may be adjusted by the Committee of the Standing Officers in the event of reasonable documented reasons due to sickness, education, military service or the like. Those members with adjusted eligibility as referenced hereinabove will be permitted to nominate and vote via a signed and sealed letter provided to the Administrative Secretary of the Fire Department on the announced dates for nomination and elections. A separate letter will be required for both the nomination and for election purposes. Only Fire Department members who meet the qualifications to vote may nominate officers for election.
[Amended 10-12-2016 by Ord. No. 2016-21]
B. 
Issuance of Department property.
(1) 
Fire Department members will be issued identification, uniforms, pagers, personal protective equipment and other such gear as determined by the Fire Chief. All of these items are property of the Fire Department. Fire Department members are responsible for the security and care of said equipment while entrusted with it. If any equipment is lost or damaged due to the negligence of the member, willful or unintentional, the member is financially responsible to the Fire Department for current replacement costs.
(2) 
Upon severance for any reason from the Fire Department, the former member is to return all Fire Department identification, clothing, equipment and gear immediately. Failure to do so will result in theft charges filed with the Waterford Township Police Department.
The election of the officers set forth hereinabove shall be confirmed by the Mayor and Committee not later than the first regular meeting of the governing body following the election of the respective officers.
The membership of the Fire Department may adopt bylaws and rules and regulations not inconsistent with the terms and provisions of this chapter, which bylaws and rules and regulations shall be filed with the Mayor and Committee.
The following Fire Department officers shall perform the following administrative duties as set forth herein:
A. 
Fire Chief. It shall be the responsibility of the Fire Chief of the Waterford Township Fire Department to act as the Administrator of that Department in regard to funding, personnel, equipment and supplies. The Fire Chief shall act as the central depository for the maintenance of needed fire and personnel records and files and shall be responsible for maintaining the same. The Fire Chief shall from time to time analyze the fire problems of the township, establish appropriate fire rules and regulations, make the best use of available funds, personnel, equipment and supplies, provide needed, financial and budgetary advice and assistance as required, coordinate requisitions and purchases within budgetary limits and such other similar administrative duties as are necessary to fulfill the office of Fire Chief. The Fire Chief shall make all recommendations to eliminate duplication of services, equipment and supplies and to develop plans for the continuing protection of the township from fires. The Waterford Township Fire Chief shall submit a monthly report to the Public Safety Director, which shall include the condition of all firefighting apparatus and appurtenances, the number and date of all emergency calls during the preceding month, the amount of training provided, listing the dates and times of all drills held that month, together with the names of the participants, and any other data deemed appropriate to be provided by the Fire Chief to the Director of Public Safety.
B. 
Deputy Chief and Battalion Chiefs. The Deputy Chief and Battalion Chiefs shall be under the supervision of the Fire Chief and perform all duties as directed by the Fire Chief and those duties as set forth in the Fire Department standard operating procedures.
A. 
A Disciplinary Committee shall be established which shall consist of the Mayor and Committee. This Committee shall have the authority to discipline the Fire Chief, Deputy Chief or Battalion Chiefs. Charges for discipline against the Fire Chief, Deputy Chief or Battalion Chiefs must be presented in writing and shall be served either personally or by registered mail within three days after the charges have been filed. The Fire Chief, Deputy Chief and Battalion Chiefs shall be entitled to a due process hearing within 30 days of the date that said charges were filed, unless the Disciplinary Committee and the accused mutually agree to an extended date. In the event that the charges are upheld and sustained by a preponderance of the evidence submitted, the Fire Chief, Deputy Chief or Battalion Chiefs shall be disciplined appropriately, which discipline can include a period of suspension or dismissal from the Fire Department.
[Amended 10-14-1998 by Ord. No. 98-16]
B. 
When appropriate and based on the charges, the Mayor and Committee shall have the power to order a temporary suspension of the accused from fire duty and other duties and privileges of the Department until the final outcome of the charges is determined and made known in writing. If no temporary suspension is ordered, the accused shall be entitled to continue as an active member of the Department in all respects.
C. 
In the event that the Fire Chief, Deputy Chief or Battalion Chiefs is suspended, that officer shall remain inactive and may not attend meetings or serve at fires. In the event of discharge from the Fire Department, he shall no longer be entitled to the rights or privileges of an officer or member of the Department. The Disciplinary Committee may also determine and fix other disciplinary measures based on the specific charges.
[Amended 10-14-1998 by Ord. No. 98-16]
D. 
In the event of a determination that the charges are not founded and should be dismissed, that officer shall be immediately entitled to resume all rights and privileges as an officer and member of the Department in the event a suspension has occurred, or, in the event of no suspension, his status shall be that of an officer and member in good standing as though no charges had been brought.
A. 
There shall be a set of standard operating procedures that govern the conduct of emergency operations, the training for such operations, any necessary preparations for such operations, the day to day conduct of the Department, the duties of officers and members, the establishment of line and staff officers and the member discipline process.
B. 
The standard operating procedure shall be determined by the Department Fire Chief and Deputy Chief. All operating procedures shall be reduced to writing and a copy of the same provided to each member of the Fire Department. A copy shall also be filed with the Mayor and Committee.
[Amended 10-12-2016 by Ord. No. 2016-21]
C. 
Each member shall be responsible to stay abreast of all standard operating procedures and any changes that may occur in such procedures.
D. 
Failure to adhere to the standard operating procedures can result in disciplinary action against a member by the Fire Chief and/or Deputy Chief.
[Amended 10-12-2016 by Ord. No. 2016-21]
E. 
Any member found to be in serious violation of the standard operating procedures that results in a hazard to the safety of other members, equipment or apparatus may be suspended from emergency operation by the Fire Chief or Deputy Chief pending a hearing pursuant to the standard operating procedures.
[Amended 10-12-2016 by Ord. No. 2016-21]
In order to qualify for active membership in the Fire Department, a person must satisfy the following provisions:
A. 
Be a citizen of the United States.
B. 
Be at least 18 years of age with proof of birth.
C. 
Be able to pass a physical examination indicating that the applicant is physically fit to perform the duties as required, which physical examination must be evidenced by a certificate from a practicing physician of the State of New Jersey.
D. 
Be able to attend 60% of monthly meetings and fire drills and at least 25% of all emergency fire calls each year. An active member not meeting this requirement shall be reviewed by the Fire Chief and Deputy Chiefs for a determination on that member's continuing status.
E. 
Be of good moral character.
A. 
Every person seeking to join the Fire Department shall be required to file an application for membership with the Fire Department.
B. 
Each applicant shall be fingerprinted and investigated by the Waterford Township Police Department, including the conducting of a criminal record check.
C. 
The Waterford Township Police Department shall prepare a factual summary of the background investigation and criminal records check of each applicant and provide this summary to the Fire Chief for the purpose of determining the fitness of an applicant. Background investigations and records check include records of all convictions as an adult.
D. 
In the event that the Police Chief determines that an applicant is to be denied admittance to membership on the basis of the investigation summary, that applicant may inspect that summary for the purposes of clarifying, explaining or denying the accuracy of its contents. Thereafter, the Police Chief will review the additional information provided by the applicant with the Township Police Department in order to reconsider his decision. The applicant shall be notified of any reconsideration by the Police Chief within a reasonable time period.
[Amended 10-14-1998 by Ord. No. 98-16]
E. 
In the event that the applicant is deemed qualified for membership in the Fire Department, he/she shall be approved by the Fire Chief and officially assigned to the Department. The names of all members shall be filed with the Mayor and Committee on a regular basis.
[Amended 10-12-2016 by Ord. No. 2016-21]
F. 
All members, once approved, must complete the following requirements within one year of the date of confirmation and approval as a member of the Fire Department:
(1) 
Basic fire training approved by the Fire Chief and Deputy Chiefs.
(2) 
(Reserved)[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Former Subsection F(2), which required that a member must complete the Waterford Township First Aid Course, or its equivalent, was repealed 10-14-1998 by Ord. No. 98-16.
(3) 
CPR training with a certificate of satisfactory completion thereof.
(4) 
Any other state or federally mandated training which may be prescribed currently or in the future.
(5) 
Any other relevant training as shall be directed by the Fire Chief and as may be prescribed by the Fire Department or as set forth in the rules and regulations, which training shall be completed within two years of becoming a member of the Fire Department.
G. 
A failure to complete the above requirements shall be cause for dismissal and removal from membership in the Fire Department.
H. 
The Fire Department shall consider all applications for membership for the purpose of fulfilling a need of the municipality in that all approvals of membership shall be established on the basis of obtaining the best qualified person to perform the duties of a member of the Fire Department.
I. 
Any member who fails to attend training that the Fire Department has paid for without a reasonable excuse shall be responsible to reimburse the Fire Department the cost of that training in a timely fashion after receipt of written notice of the amount due to the Fire Department. Failure to make such reimbursement shall subject the member to a complaint being filed with the Township Municipal Court for the seeking and issuance of penalties as set forth in § 26-22 of this chapter.
[Added 10-14-1998 by Ord. No. 98-16]
J. 
Members who transfer in good standing from another fire department with training equal to the training requirements of the Waterford Township Fire Department.
[Added 6-25-2008 by Ord. No. 2008-8]
It shall be the primary function and duty of the Fire Department and every member thereof to respond appropriately to any and all emergency situations. In addition, it shall be the duty of all officers of the Fire Department to determine that the provisions of this chapter are being enforced, together with all of the appropriate fire codes and other regulations and laws as may be applicable.
A. 
To be a member of the Relief Association, a member shall satisfy the statutory requirements of N.J.S.A. 40A:14-55 and 40A:14-56.
B. 
An exempt active member of the Fire Department is a member who has served seven years of active duty and who has performed 60% duty in the Fire Department each and every year during that seven years, and as further set forth and provided in the controlling New Jersey Statutes.
The Fire Department is hereby authorized to extend aid and assistance to neighboring municipalities on request for fire protection or emergency services and to participate in a mutual aid program with other municipalities in accordance with the laws of the State of New Jersey.
The Fire Department shall contain a Fire Police unit which shall be under the direction of the Fire Chief. It shall be their duty to maintain law and order at all fires and emergency scenes to which they may be detailed, including direction of traffic, refusal of admittance within the danger zone to outside or unauthorized parties and for maintaining control at the emergency scene. Fire Police shall be appointed by the Fire Chief with the confirmation of the Mayor and Committee. The appointment shall be for a term of five years. The Fire Chief shall prescribe all required training for Fire Police, which must be completed within one year of appointment. Failure to complete the training within one year shall be cause for removal and dismissal from the position of Fire Police Officer.
Except for members of the Fire Department, no person or persons shall enter the Fire Department quarters or any of the fire station buildings, or handle any Department property, equipment or apparatus, unless authorized to do so or accompanied by or having the special permission of an officer or authorized member of the Department, except that members of the governing body shall have authority to inspect Fire Department equipment on notice to the Fire Chief or Deputy Chiefs.
It shall also be unlawful for any person to injure, deface or in any manner destroy any building or fire apparatus or property of the Fire Department or any police or fire alarm, or to hinder or obstruct any automotive equipment of the Fire Department from freely passing along the streets or highways of the municipality, or from passing over public or private property or in any manner hinder or prevent any of the fire equipment or apparatus or any officer or member of the Department from operating at any fire or other emergency to which the Department is responding.
Any person, firm or corporation who violates any of the provisions of this chapter shall, upon conviction thereof, before the Municipal Court of the township, be subject to a fine not to exceed $1,000 or imprisonment in the county jail not to exceed six months, or both, at the discretion of the Municipal Judge before which such defendant shall be convicted. A separate offense may be deemed committed on each day during or on which a violation occurs or continues.
A. 
If any article, section, paragraph, clause or provision of this chapter shall be adjudged invalid by any Court of competent jurisdiction, such adjudication shall apply only to the article, section, paragraph, clause or provision so adjudged, and the remainder of this chapter shall be deemed valid and effective.
B. 
Ordinance No. 93-13, dated October 13 1993, entitled "An Ordinance Creating the Waterford Township Fire Department," is hereby specifically repealed, and all other ordinances and part thereof inconsistent with the provisions of this chapter are hereby repealed.
This chapter shall take effect immediately upon final passage and publication as required by law. Upon adoption of this chapter, § 26-3 shall become effective retroactive to October 13, 1993.