Harford County, MD
 
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Harford County Council by Bill No. 78-9.[1] Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Fire lanes — See Ch. 127.
[1]
Editor's Note: This legislation was included at Ch. 2, Art. XIII, of the 1978 Code.
[Amended by Bill No. 94-30; Bill No. 07-46]
A. 
There is hereby established a Length of Service Award Program for qualified active volunteer members of the County Volunteer Fire Departments/Companies or ambulance corps and/or any volunteer fire company receiving contributions from the county. For the purposes of this section, a member is defined as a person who has accumulated a minimum of 50 points per calendar year, in accordance with the point system set forth in this article.
B. 
Any person who has served as a member of a County Volunteer Fire Department/Company or ambulance corps and/or volunteer fire companies receiving contributions from the county and has completed 5 continuous years of service shall be eligible to receive benefits hereinafter set forth, provided that any person who completes 25 years of certified service and has not attained the age of 55 may be qualified. Each person will become eligible for benefits upon reaching the age of 55, provided that each person is certified as to the 25 years of qualified service prior to January 1, 1975. After January 1, 1975, a person must accumulate the proper number of points needed to qualify. After a person is qualified and certified, failure to remain active or to maintain membership in a Fire Department/Company or ambulance corps will not disqualify or otherwise affect any person from receiving benefits at the age of 55.
[Amended by Bill No. 94-30; Bill No. 98-15; Bill No. 00-45]
A. 
Any person who has reached the age of 55 and who has completed a minimum of 25 years of certified active volunteer service with any County Volunteer Fire Department/Company or ambulance corps shall receive benefits in the amount of $300.00 per month for life or in such an amount as set in the county budget as provided in § 28-4 of this article. Payments shall begin on the first day of the month following eligibility. The program shall be administered by the Director of Administration of the county, and these payments shall be payable in the normal manner.
[Amended by Bill No. 07-46]
B. 
An additional payment of a minimum of $6.00 per month or as provided in the county budget pursuant to § 28-4 of this article shall be added to the benefits described in Subsection A of this section for each full year of volunteer service in excess of 25 years, provided that a maximum benefit of $450.00 per month or such an amount as set in the county budget pursuant to § 28-4 of this article or equivalent shall be payable to any individual.
C. 
Any person who has reached the age of 70 years and who has completed 5 continuous years of service with a minimum of 10 years of certified active volunteer service but fails to achieve the required 25 years of service, the volunteer is entitled to a monthly benefit of the number of years of certified service completed multiplied by $12 or the amount as set in the County Budget as provided in § 28-4 of this article. These benefits shall be payable in the normal manner.
[Amended by Bill No. 07-46]
D. 
The burden shall be upon the eligible volunteer to make a claim for benefits, and no benefits shall be paid for which a claim is not made within 12 months of eligibility for said payment.
[Added by Bill No. 07-46]
E. 
In the event that a member receiving benefits under this section dies, his or her surviving spouse is entitled to benefits equal to 50% of the benefits the member was eligible to receive at the time of death. These benefits shall begin on the first day of the first month after the death of the member and shall terminate upon the death or remarriage of the spouse.
[Added by Bill No. 07-46]
[Amended by Bill No. 07-46]
A. 
A "qualified volunteer" is herein defined for the purposes of this section as one who has completed 25 years of certified service.
B. 
In the event that any active volunteer becomes disabled during the course of service described in the Annotated Code of Maryland, Labor and Employment Article, Title 9, and such disability prevents the volunteer from pursuing his normal occupation and the disability is of a permanent nature as determined and certified by the State Workers' Compensation Commission, the volunteer is entitled to receive the benefits prescribed in § 28-2A and any such benefits as he may be entitled to, regardless of his age or length of service. These benefits shall begin on the first day of the first month following the establishment of the determination of the permanent disability and shall remain in effect as long as the permanent disability exists. This subsection shall not be applicable to any volunteer not insured either by the county or any other Department/Company or corps workers' compensation insurance carrier.
C. 
In the event that any volunteer shall die while receiving disability benefits, his surviving spouse is entitled to benefits equal to 50% of the volunteer's benefits. These benefits shall terminate upon death or remarriage of the spouse.
D. 
In the event that a qualified volunteer dies prior to or while receiving any benefits under this section, his surviving spouse is entitled to benefits equal to 50% of the benefits the deceased was eligible to receive at the time of death. These benefits shall commence upon the first day of the first month after the death of the volunteer and shall terminate upon the death or remarriage of his spouse.
E. 
In the event that any volunteer dies as a result of performing the services described in the Annotated Code of Maryland, Labor and Employment Article, Title 9, his spouse shall be entitled to benefits under § 28-2A or B, whichever are the greater. These benefits shall commence on the first day of the first month after the death and shall terminate upon death or remarriage of the spouse.
F. 
In the event that a qualified volunteer fireman dies, a burial benefit of $5,000 shall be payable to the spouse, beneficiary or the estate of the volunteer. Claims for death benefits shall be documented by a death certificate and/or such other evidence as required.
[Amended by Bill No. 07-46]
Periodically, the Director of Administration and the Harford County Volunteer Fire and Emergency Services Association (hereinafter "Association") shall review the benefits prescribed in this article, and such review could increase or decrease these benefits. Revised benefits, subject to approval of the County Executive and the County Council through the budget process, shall be effective on the first pay period in the new fiscal year.
[Amended by Bill No. 07-46]
A. 
It is the responsibility of each participating Volunteer Fire Department/Company or ambulance corps to maintain detailed and accurate records for each volunteer member on forms prescribed by the Department of the Treasury.
B. 
By October 1 of each year, a designee of each Volunteer Fire Department/Company or ambulance corps shall furnish the Department of the Treasury with a statement of all volunteers of the department or corps who have qualified for credit for the previous years. Each statement shall contain all members' ages and previous credits earned and other information as may be required by the Association and the Department of the Treasury of the county.
C. 
Upon receipt of this statement, the Department of the Treasury shall review the list of each department or corps. The Department of the Treasury shall submit a final statement from each department or corps to the Association. After the Association approves the certified list, it shall forward a copy of each approved list to the Fire Department/Company or ambulance corps concerned by November 1 of each year. These lists shall be certified for accuracy by the Department/Company or corps and be posted in a conspicuous place within each Fire Department/Company or ambulance corps building for a period of not less than 30 calendar days. The posting date and the date of expiration of the 30 calendar days for a right of appeal shall be noted on all approved lists.
D. 
A person whose name does not appear on the certified list or who is denied credit for services, has the right of appeal within 30 calendar days of the posting.
E. 
The request for an appeal hearing shall be in writing and addressed to the Association, which shall make a final decision. The hearing shall be conducted by the Association within 15 calendar days after the posting expires but not less than 5 calendar days after notifying the appellant of the date. The Association shall immediately notify the Department of the Treasury in writing of the outcome of the hearing.
F. 
It shall be the responsibility of the Association to submit a statement under oath of any benefits to be paid under § 28-3B including prompt notification of termination.
[Amended by Bill No. 07-46]
In order to qualify for the benefits pursuant to this Article, points shall be credited to each volunteer in accordance with the following standards:
A. 
One point shall be credited for every 3 hours of attendance in a recognized training course, provided that not more than 25 points may be credited for all training courses attended per year.
B. 
One point shall be credited for each company or county drill attended in its entirety, provided that not more than 20 points may be credited for all drills attended per year.
C. 
One point shall be credited for each official company or county meeting pertaining to the county fire services or rescue services attended, provided that not more than 25 points may be credited for all meetings attended per year.
D. 
One point shall be credited for each call to which a volunteer responds, provided that not more than 40 points may be credited for all calls responded to per year.
E. 
Twenty-five points shall be credited for completion of a one-year term as an appointed or elected officer in any of the fire or rescue service organizations of the county, provided that not more than 1 office shall be counted in any calendar year.
F. 
One point shall be credited for every 3 hours of acceptable collateral duties, such as, but not limited to, apparatus and building maintenance, official standby and fire prevention or fundraising details, provided that not more than 25 points may be credited for all collateral duties performed per year.
G. 
A volunteer member who serves or has served full-time military service in the Armed Forces of the United States shall receive credit at the rate of 5 points for each month served, provided that not more than 50 points can be credited for the calendar year. A maximum of 4 years of creditable service may be acquired in this manner.
[Amended by Bill No. 07-46]
In order to provide credit for service prior to January 1, 1975, the fire department/company or ambulance corps shall review its past and present membership rosters to determine the number of years of credit to which each member or past member is entitled. In making this analysis, the standards for active service shall be used as guidelines. Approval for service shall be certified by the Board of Directors of each Fire Department/Company or ambulance corps. If a volunteer member has service in more than 1 County Fire Department/Company or ambulance corps, that person shall receive credit for the service in each organization, provided that not more than 1 year's credits may be granted for each calendar year of volunteer service.
In the event that sufficient records are unavailable to prove service prior to January 1, 1975, the certification may be made by a Fire Department/Company or ambulance corps after thorough investigation and on the best information, knowledge and belief of the Board of Directors of the individual Fire Department/Company or ambulance corps.
The volunteer firemen pension benefits program shall be funded as may from time to time be provided in the Annual Budget and Appropriation Ordinance of the county.
A. 
Equipment, stations and vehicles. All emergency fire-fighting, ambulance and rescue equipment, stations and vehicles shall comply with the standards for such equipment, stations and vehicles as established by the County Fire Chiefs' Association.
B. 
Manpower. All manpower training and manning requirements shall be in accordance with applicable County Fire Chiefs' Association standards.
C. 
Location. The standard for the establishment and operation of substations of the County Fire Chiefs' Association shall be the governing standards in establishing and locating any substation. A new station site, not an element of any other established county fire, ambulance or rescue organization, shall be approved by the County Fire Chiefs' Association, and such approval shall be based upon current standards of the County Fire Chiefs' Association and other applicable laws and standards. Such approval shall be subject to final approval by the County Executive after a public hearing held by the Director of Administration. Other than manpower availability, the primary factor in establishing and locating a new station shall be that of providing improved protection to areas heretofore classified as unprotected, i.e., areas more than five (5) miles by paved roadway from an existing approved fire station.
D. 
Compliance with Charter provisions. All standards referred to in this Article shall be established in accordance with Section 807 of the Charter.
A. 
The County Fire Chiefs' Association shall be responsible for administering this Article and for ensuring that the standards contained herein are current and reflect the best available fire, ambulance and rescue services.
B. 
The County Fire Chiefs' Association shall advise the Director of Administration on the management of personnel of the central alarm system for the county.
C. 
All personnel of the county central alarm system shall be directly responsible to the Director of Administration and subject to the applicable county personnel rules and regulations.
A. 
Failure of a station to comply with this Article may result in withdrawal of financial support by the county, and any station failing to comply may not be recognized in the county emergency protection assignments.
B. 
All allotment requests for all organizations subject to this Article and the budget request for the county central alarm system shall be processed through the County Fire Chiefs' Association for submission to and approval of the county.
C. 
Any new organization coming under the purview of this Article shall be eligible for partial funding for a period of five (5) years from admission to the County Fire Chiefs' Association and shall, after that time, be eligible for further funding by the county if it meets the standards set forth by the County Fire Chiefs' Association and by law.