Section 9-3-17

Certification as volunteer fire department.

(a) The term volunteer fire department shall apply to and be used to define an organized group of area residents who meet the following requirements for personnel, training, and equipment:

(1) The group shall be organized and incorporated under the laws of the State of Alabama as a nonprofit organization or as an authority of a municipality, fire district, or other legal subdivision. The group shall actively respond to fires and other emergencies and shall have a clearly defined coverage area recognized by the Alabama Forestry Commission and the county fire association where the group is located as the primary fire protection provider for the coverage area. The group shall be comprised of not less than four members and shall provide monthly emergency response reports to the commission. All persons who are members of the group shall be known as volunteer fire fighters, and shall have been qualified as such by participating in organized fire protection and suppression training programs. All fire fighters must attend regularly scheduled meetings, drill, and training classes within the department and same shall be documented and kept on file at the department location for one year.

(2) A volunteer fire department shall have no less than 80 percent unsalaried membership.

(3) Each volunteer fire department shall have as a minimum of fire fighting apparatus the following:

a. One truck capable of carrying and pumping no less than 500 gallons of water with adequate nozzle pressure to suppress wildfire, structural fire, and other fires.

b. Motorized apparatus shall be equipped with the following minimum required equipment:

1. One self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) unit.

2. Four hundred feet of pre-connected 1 1/2, 1 3/4, or two inch fire hose with suitable fog/stream nozzle attached.

c. In areas where a sufficient number of fire hydrants are provided, the truck shall also carry 200 feet of 2 1/2 inch fire hose together with a 2 1/2 to 1 1/2 inch wye connector for use with smaller hose and other equipment.

d. One 24 foot extension ladder and a 12 foot roof ladder.

e. Hand tools - spanner wrenches, one pick-head axe, one flat-head axe, pike pole, forcible entry tool, two portable hand lights, a first aid kit, one 2.5 gallon pressure water extinguisher, and one ABC dry chemical fire extinguisher with a minimum size of 80B:C.

(4) A volunteer fire department must set up and maintain an alerting system which will be capable of alerting the greatest number of fire fighters in the shortest possible time.

(5) A volunteer fire department shall have one two-way radio assigned to the apparatus.

(6) Housing for motorized equipment shall be provided at the department location, which shall be owned, leased, or otherwise under the lawful control of the department and shall be of such type and size as to provide virtually freezeproof conditions for vehicles. A training room should also be provided at the earliest possible time.

(b) All of the aforementioned items shall consummately define a volunteer fire department, for purposes of legal recognition as long as the volunteer fire department remains certified by the Alabama Forestry Commission.

(c) The Alabama Forestry Commission may assist any fire department needing additional equipment to meet the standards for certification.

(d) The Alabama Forestry Commission shall be the state agency delegated as certifying authority under this section and shall certify all departments which meet minimum requirements for certification and actively respond to emergencies. The commission may decertify any department that does not continue to meet minimum requirements for certification and actively respond to emergencies.

(e) The commission may adopt rules necessary to establish a procedure for certification and decertification of volunteer fire departments as provided in subsection (d).

(f) The commission shall publish on its website a list of all currently certified volunteer fire departments. Changes to the list shall be published no later than five business days following certification or decertification of a volunteer fire department.

(g) The provisions of this section shall supersede and take precedence over any local law or municipal ordinance in conflict herewith. This section shall not be construed to alter or diminish the jurisdiction of the Alabama Firefighters' Personnel Standards and Education Commission to establish minimum standards for firefighters, as is provided in Section 36-32-7. All other laws or parts of laws in conflict herewith are hereby repealed.

(Acts 1980, No. 80-393, p. 549, §§1-8; Act 2016-351, §1.)