The Vermont Statutes Online
- Subchapter 001: Volunteer Fire Departments Generally
§ 2921. Powers and duties of official in charge
In towns that do not maintain a firefighting force and are served by a volunteer fire department, the official in charge of such volunteer fire department or in his or her absence the assistant highest in rank present at a fire shall have the powers and duties of a chief engineer provided in section 2673 of this title.
§ 2922. Liability of official or member
An official of a volunteer fire department shall not be liable for any act or omission on his or her own part, or on the part of any member of such department, while engaged in extinguishing a fire at or near the scene of such fire, nor shall any member of such department be liable for his or her own act or omission if then acting under orders of his or her superior.
- Subchapter 002: Outside Aid by Local Fire Departments
§ 2961. Authorization
Any town, city, or private volunteer fire department may, by ordinance or resolution, authorize and permit its firefighting forces and equipment to go to the aid of a person, corporation or private volunteer fire department in another municipality, subject to such conditions and restrictions as may be prescribed therein.
§ 2962. Liability
No political subdivision or private volunteer fire department whose fire fighting forces are rendering outside aid pursuant to this subchapter shall be liable on account of any act or omission on the part of such forces while so engaged, or on account of the maintenance or use of any equipment or supplies in connection therewith nor shall any commissioner, chief, or the superior officer of a fire department, fire company, or other firefighting force acting pursuant to this subchapter be liable on account of any act or omission on the part of any of his subordinates while such subordinates are rendering aid pursuant to this subchapter under the command of an officer other than himself.
§ 2963. Payment
(a) The person, corporation, private volunteer fire department, or political subdivision which is aided pursuant to this subchapter may reimburse the political subdivision or private volunteer fire department furnishing such aid, such compensation for such services as may be agreed upon by a contract between such person, corporation, private volunteer fire department, or political subdivision and the private volunteer fire department or political subdivision furnishing such aid.
(b) Nothing contained in this subchapter shall prevent any assisting private volunteer fire department or political subdivision from assuming all or any part of such loss, damage, expense, or other cost as a result of assistance rendered, or from loaning such equipment, or from donating such services to the receiving private volunteer fire department or political subdivision without charge or cost.
§ 2964. Powers, duties, rights, privileges and immunities of members
Whenever the firefighting forces of any town, city or private volunteer fire department are rendering aid pursuant to this subchapter, the officers and members of such firefighting forces shall have the same powers, duties, rights, privileges, and immunities as if they were performing their duties in the political subdivision in which they are normally employed.
§ 2965. Application to other states
The provisions of this subchapter shall apply with respect to firefighting forces and equipment of other states of the United States that render services in this state in answer to a call for assistance provided that the laws of any such state contain substantially similar provisions, as certified by the secretary of state, with respect to firefighting forces and equipment of this state when rendering service in such other state in answer to a call for assistance.
- Subchapter 003: Fire Mutual Aid Systems
§ 2981. Mutual aid fire protection authorized by municipality
A municipality or fire district may vote to authorize its fire department, by its chief or chief engineer, to enter into agreements with such other duly authorized fire departments, or any private and volunteer fire department, as seem appropriate to provide mutual aid fire protection on a systematic basis. A municipal fire department so authorized may join in the formation or operation or both of a district fire mutual aid system, which shall be a public municipal corporation, as provided under sections 2986 through 2992 of this title. (1967, No. 255 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. Feb. 20, 1968.)
§ 2982. Private and volunteer fire department may enter into mutual aid agreements
A private and volunteer fire department may enter into a district fire mutual aid system, which shall be a public municipal corporation, as provided under sections 2986 through 2992 of this title. (1967, No. 255 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. Feb. 20, 1968.)
§ 2983. Voting qualifications
The qualifications for voting to authorize a municipal fire department to enter into mutual aid agreements shall be the same as those for the election of town officers. (1967, No. 255 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. Feb. 20, 1968.)
§ 2984. Vote on authorization
The vote on the question of authorizing a municipal fire department to enter into mutual aid agreements may be by voice vote or by ballot on a question substantially as follows:
Article - . To see if the town will authorize its fire department, by its chief, to enter into agreements with such other duly authorized fire departments, or any private and volunteer fire department, as seem appropriate to provide mutual fire protection on a systematic basis. (1967, No. 255 (Adj. Sess.), § 4, eff. Feb. 20, 1968.)
§ 2985. State aid in preparation
When requested to do so by any fire department, the state fire marshal shall aid and assist in the preparation and development of agreements. (1967, No. 255 (Adj. Sess.), § 5, eff. Feb. 20, 1968.)
§ 2986. District fire mutual aid systems, formation of
Whenever three or more municipalities within the state vote to authorize their respective fire departments to render outside aid as provided in sections 2981 through 2985 of this title, they may, if they so desire, form a district fire mutual aid system, which shall be a public municipal corporation. They may petition the state fire marshal in writing to call the organization meeting of the system. (1967, No. 255 (Adj. Sess.), § 6, eff. Feb. 20, 1968.)
§ 2987. Organization
Upon receipt of such a petition, the state fire marshal shall call the first or organization meeting of the system by giving written notice to the chief of each fire department in the system and may invite private fire departments within the designated area to join in the meeting by giving similar notice to them. Each fire department shall send one delegate to the organization and subsequent meetings and shall be entitled to one vote in all proceedings. The delegate shall be the chief of each fire department or such alternate as he may designate. At the organization meeting, the members of the system shall adopt articles of association and bylaws and regulations for the future government and operation of the system which shall be effective upon submission to and approval by the attorney general, who shall cause them to be recorded by the secretary of state. The system shall be deemed to have been formally established upon that recording. The organization meeting shall also elect a board of directors consisting of such number as they may determine. Delegates and directors need not be residents. The board of directors shall be the governing body of the system and shall serve for terms of one year and until their successors are elected and qualify. The delegates shall choose from their number the officers of the system, except that a secretary, a treasurer or both may be nondelegates. All officers shall have such duties and powers as the bylaws provide. Within the limits of available funds, the directors may employ and fix the compensation of agents and other necessary personnel, who shall serve at their pleasure and have and exercise such powers and authority as they may delegate to them. (1967, No. 255 (Adj. Sess.), § 7, eff. Feb. 20, 1968; amended 1979, No. 31.)
§ 2988. Powers and duties
A district fire mutual aid system shall coordinate the services of all fire departments belonging to it so as to provide better and more efficient cooperation in the protection of life and property against fire and in the case of other accidental or natural emergency within the area which it comprises. It may establish an overall plan or plans for that coordination. Within the limits of available funds, it may acquire and operate property and equipment, including a dispatch center and a communications service, and may extend the advantages of group purchasing and benefits to departments in the system. It may provide and operate training programs for firemen and others, or enter into agreements with other agencies or institutions to provide and operate those programs. It shall cooperate with other state agencies and with the civil defense authorities, state and local. The state fire marshal may give advice, recommendations and assistance to the system on request. It may accept any and all donations, gifts, and grants of money, property, equipment, supplies, materials and services from the federal or any state or local government, or any agency thereof and from any person, firm, or corporation, for any of its purposes and functions under this subchapter, and may receive and utilize the same subject to the terms, conditions and regulations governing the donations, gifts and grants. (1967, No. 255 (Adj. Sess.), § 8, eff. Feb. 20, 1968.)
§ 2989. Joining and withdrawal
Additional municipalities within the state may join the system, as provided in sections 2981 through 2985 of this title, and shall be received as members subject to the approval of the board of directors. Municipalities which do not have active fire departments may be admitted as members upon such conditions as the board of directors may fix. Private fire departments within the state may also be accepted by the board of directors as members, with equal voting rights under such arrangements as are mutually agreed upon. A municipality or private fire department may, by vote of its governing board, withdraw from the system but the withdrawal shall not be effective until ninety days after written notice of the withdrawal shall have been delivered to one of the officers of the system. (1967, No. 255 (Adj. Sess.), § 9, eff. Feb. 20, 1968.)
§ 2990. Limitation of liability
There shall be no liability imposed by law on the system or on any municipality, on the personnel of its fire department, nor on any private fire department or its personnel, belonging to such a system, for failure to respond or to respond reasonably for the purpose of extinguishing a fire or assisting in the case of other accidental or natural emergency. This immunity is not intended to be exclusive of other immunities existing by statute or at common law. (1967, No. 255 (Adj. Sess.), § 10, eff. Feb. 20, 1968.)
§ 2991. Appropriations
Municipalities belonging to such a system may raise and appropriate money for the purposes of the system. The general assembly may authorize and appropriate money for the purposes of the system. (1967, No. 255 (Adj. Sess.), § 11, eff. Feb. 20, 1968.)
§ 2992. Definition
The term "private fire department" includes fire protection organizations operated by industries, institutions and establishments for self-protection and also nonprofit volunteer fire associations. Nothing contained in this subchapter shall be construed to interfere with the exclusive jurisdiction vested by law in the state forester and his or her subordinates over forest fires as provided in 10 V.S.A. § 1305 or subchapter 4, chapter 53 of Title 10 or chapter 81 of Title 10, nor to affect the laws governing prevention or extinguishment of forest fires. Nothing contained in this subchapter shall be construed to interfere with general authorization vested by law in a chief engineer of a fire district or chief of a volunteer fire department to give outside aid as provided in sections 2674 and 2961 of this title. (1967, No. 255 (Adj. Sess.), § 12, eff. Feb. 20, 1968.)