[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Selectmen (now Town Council) of the Town of North Branford 4-27-1938. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This purpose of this chapter is to organize a Fire Department in the Town of North Branford.
There shall be in the Town of North Branford a Department of Fire Services to be managed, controlled and directed as the law requires.
[Amended 7-9-1974 by Ord. No. 119; 10-10-1995 by Ord. No. 189]
The Board of Fire Commissioners shall consist of five (5) members appointed in accordance with Article 5 of the Charter. Vacancies shall be filled by appointment of the Council in accordance with § C5-4 the Charter. At the first meeting of the Board following each biennial election, the Board shall elect a Chairman, Vice Chairman and Secretary to serve as officers of the Board for a term of two (2) years. In the event of removal or resignation of any such officer after the vacancy thus created has been filled by the Council, the Board shall hold a special election to replace the vacated officer. The Board may adopt bylaws for the orderly transaction of its business not inconsistent with the provisions of this chapter.
[Amended 7-9-1974 by Ord. No. 119]
Before engaging in any activities of the Board, each duly elected Commissioner shall be sworn to the faithful performance of duty as a Fire Commissioner by the Town Clerk. The Board shall make an annual report to the Council, the substance of which shall be published in the annual report of the Town of North Branford. The Board shall, not less than one hundred twenty (120) days before the end of the fiscal year, file with the Town Manager, on forms prescribed and provided by the Manager, detailed estimates of proposed expenditures to be made on behalf of the Department of Fire Services for the ensuing fiscal year. Members of the Board of Fire Commissioners shall serve without compensation, except that actual expenditures of any member incurred while on official business may, with the approval of the Board, be reimbursed to the member from funds budgeted for such expenses.
[Amended 7-9-1974 by Ord. No. 119; 6-16-1981 by Ord. No. 140]
The Board of Fire Commissioners shall have the control of all equipment, apparatus, buildings, land and supplies purchased by or donated to the Town of North Branford for fire protection services. The Board is authorized, subject to approval of the Council, to enter into written agreements with any volunteer fire company or companies within the town for the protection thereof from fire. Such agreements may provide for financial assistance between the town and the volunteer companies, loans to such companies of town-owned equipment and fire-fighting apparatus, institution of supervised training and preventive maintenance programs and any other reasonable rules and regulations agreed upon by the parties, designed to provide effective and efficient fire service for the Town of North Branford. The Board shall also have the power to enact rules and regulations to govern, supervise and discipline all firemen.
[Amended 7-9-1974 by Ord. No. 119]
By a majority vote of its members, the Board shall appoint a Chief of Fire Services to serve in this capacity for a term of three (3) years, except that the first officer so appointed shall serve until December 31, 1977. All appointments to this office shall be made not later than thirty (30) days prior to the expiration of the term of office of the incumbent officer. The effective dates of the appointee's term of office shall be recited in the resolution of the appointing Board and recorded in its minutes. Before assuming office, each appointed Chief of Fire Services shall be sworn to the faithful performance of his duties by the Town Clerk.
[Added 7-9-1974 by Ord. No. 119; amended 6-16-1981 by Ord. No. 140]
The Chief of Fire Services shall be responsible for the supervision of the education, training and preparedness of all firemen and volunteer firemen performing fire services in the Town of North Branford. He shall be responsible for the preparation and supervision of preventive maintenance programs for the care and protection of fire apparatus, buildings and equipment owned by the town. He shall assist the Board of Fire Commissioners in the preparation of its annual report and budget. He shall attend the meetings of the Board of Fire Commissioners and provide the Board with monthly reports of all fire services performed in the town, including the number of firemen or volunteers available, equipment condition, injuries and any other information requested by the Board. He shall perform any other similar and related duties assigned to him by the Board, including but not limited to responsibility for the enforcement of any rules and regulations as enacted by the Board and to the extent the Board so prescribes.
[Added 7-9-1974 by Ord. No. 119]
A Chief of Fire Services appointed pursuant to the provisions of this chapter shall not be dismissed during his term of office unless he has been given notice in writing of the specific grounds for such dismissal and has been given an opportunity to be heard in his own defense, personally or by counsel, at a public hearing before the Board of Fire Commissioners. Such public hearing shall be held not less than five (5) nor more than ten (10) days after such notice. In all such hearings, a verbatim transcript shall be recorded. Any person so dismissed may take an appeal therefrom in accordance with the provisions of Section 7-302, Connecticut General Statutes.
[Added 1-16-2018 by Ord. No. 252]
General purpose. The Board of Fire Commissioners and Town Council have determined that the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens and taxpayers of the Town of North Branford are promoted by requiring certain structures to have a key lock box installed on the exterior of the structure to aid the North Branford Fire Department in gaining access to the structure when responding to calls for emergency service. For purposes of this section, an emergency is defined as any incident requiring entry into a structure by the North Branford Fire Department, including, but not limited to, fire and/or fire alarm, smoke, medical and/or medical alarm or 911 call. The key lock box system is being adopted nationally and will operate on a master key basis that will expedite entry into a structure during an emergency and equally important is the fact that the key lock box system will eliminate forced entries into structures thereby avoiding costly and time-consuming efforts in gaining access to locked structures during an emergency. For purposes of this section, an emergency is defined as any incident requiring entry into a structure by the North Branford Fire Department, including, but not limited to, fire and/or fire alarm, smoke, medical and/or medical alarm or 911 call.
Key lock box system.
The following structures shall be equipped with a key lock box at or near the main entrance or such other location required by the Fire Chief:
Commercial or industrial structures protected by an automatic alarm system or automatic suppression system, or such structures that are secured in a manner that restricts access during an emergency;
Multi-family residential structures that have restricted access through locked doors and have a common corridor for access to the living units;
Governmental structures and nursing care facilities.
All newly constructed structures subject to this section shall have the key lock box installed and operational prior to the issuance of an occupancy permit. All structures in existence on the effective date of this section and subject to this section shall have one year from the effective date of this section to have a key lock box installed and operational.
The Fire Chief shall designate the type of key lock box system to be implemented within the Town and shall have the authority to require all structures to use the designated system.
The owner or operator of a structure required to have a key lock box shall, at all times, keep a key in the lock box that will allow for access to the structure.
The Fire Chief shall be authorized to implement rules and regulations for the use of the lock box system and define the process that building owners must follow.
The Fire Chief shall require the installation of a key box in an accessible location on each building (or cluster of buildings) identified in order to allow the Fire Department immediate access to verify the existence of a fire or other emergency.
The key box may have a tamper switch connected to the building's fire alarm system.
The key box may be surface or flush mounted. The Fire Department shall possess the only keys to the key boxes and will open the box for the building contractor, owner and/or occupant for installation of the unit or for changing its contents.
Contents of key box. The key box shall contain only those items such as properly labeled door keys, elevator keys, fire alarm keys or keys for other doors for rooms (e.g., utility rooms and fixed fire suppression rooms) that may be occupied or may present a fire potential or as specified below:
When there are hazardous materials or other hazards that may provide a toxic environment for emergency service personnel or that may require special handling requirements, the key box shall also contain lists of such hazardous materials, fire pre-plans related thereto or directions for special handling.
The key box shall contain a list of building key holders or appropriate supervisory personnel to be notified when the Fire Department must gain emergency entry into the building.
The contents will be reviewed annually by NBFD personnel.
Fire Department notification. In the event that locks are changed or the hazardous contents of the building are changed, the Fire Department shall be notified immediately and arrangements shall be made for changing the key box contents.
Record of entry. Each time emergency access is made to a building through use of a key box, the building owner or occupant, as appropriate, on record in the key box will be notified by the Fire Department. Such notification will include the reason for entry, the area entered and the action taken. The Fire Department will record a record of such entry on a file provided by the Fire Chief.
Effective date. This section shall take effect twenty-one days after publication of its approval.
Penalty. Any person who owns or operates a structure subject to this section shall be subject to the penalties for any violation of this section, provided that the minimum fine for a violation of this section shall be $100 per thirty-day period of non-compliance, not to exceed $500 in a calendar year. The Fire Chief or his/her designee(s) shall have the enforcement responsibilities under this section. Billing for penalties shall be conducted by the Town's Finance Department. For the purpose of this article, compliance is a signed agreement to order the key box system. As a means to allow business owners ample time to purchase and install the key boxes, any existing business at the time of the effective date of this section will have a period of six months from the effective date to have their key box installed and containing all the necessary information delineated above.