Introduced: March 26, 2012
Public Hearing: April 9, 2012
An ordinance revising Chapter 263 Fire Prevention of the code of the Township of Vernon
Chapter 263 Fire Prevention
Article 1. Enforcement of Fire Prevention Code of the Code of the Township of Vernon
263-1. Local Enforcement
263-2. Agency Designation
263-4. Life Hazard Uses
263-6. Appointments, Term of Office, Removal
263-7. Board of Appeals
263-8. Establishment and Duties of Department of Fire Prevention
263-9. Duties of the Fire Marshal of the Department of Fire Prevention
263-10. Permits Required for Non-Life Hazard Uses
263-11. Annual Inspection Required
263-13. Revocation of Permit
263-14. Fee Required
263-15. Amount of Fee
263-16. Application for Permit
263-17. Unlawful to Fail to Obtain a Permit
263-18. Penalties for Violation
Article 2. Smoke Detectors
263-19. Existing Structures
263-21. False Alarms
263-22. Violations & Penalties
Article 3. Fire Lanes
263-23. Fire Lanes & Drafting Sites
263-24. Compliance with Orders
263-25. Blocking of Fire Hydrants, Fire Department Connections & Draft Sites
263-26. Parking Regulations
263-27. Delineation and Marking
263-28. Maintenance of Fire Lane
Article 4. Knox Boxes
Article 5. Fire Watch & Fire Standby
263-36. Intent and Purpose
263-38. Fire Watch; When Required
263-39. Fees and Payments
263-40. Violations and Penalties
Article 1. Enforcement of Fire Prevention Code of the Code of the Township of Vernon
263-1. Local Enforcement.
Pursuant to Section II of the Uniform Fire Safety Act (P.L. 1983, c.383) the International Fire Code New Jersey Edition shall be locally enforced in the Township of Vernon.
263-2. Agency Designation.
The local enforcing agency shall be the Vernon Township Department of Fire Prevention.
The local enforcement agency shall enforce the Uniform Fire Safety Act and the codes and regulations adopted under it in all buildings, structures and premises within the establishment boundaries of the Township of Vernon, other than owner-occupied one and two family dwellings, used exclusively for dwelling purposes and building structures, and premises owned by the federal government, interstate agencies or the state, and shall faithfully comply with the requirements of the Uniform Fire Safety Act and the International Fire Code, New Jersey Edition.
263-4. Life Hazard Uses.
The local enforcing agency established by Section 263-2 of this ordinance shall carry out the periodic inspections of life hazard uses required by the Uniform Fire Code on behalf of the Commissioner of Community Affairs.
The local enforcing agency established by Section 263-2 of this ordinance shall be under the direct supervision of the Fire Marshal, who shall report to the Township Mayor/Business Administrator.
263-6. Appointments, Term of Office, or Removal.
- Appointment & Qualifications of the Fire Marshal: The local enforcing agency shall be under the direct supervision of a Fire Marshal.
- Certified Fire Official/Fire Inspector with the State of New Jersey, Division of Fire Safety.
- Current Fire Fighter 2, ICS Level 3, NIMS Certifications with the State of New Jersey, Division of Fire Safety.
- Minimum of 5 years experience as a certified Fire Inspector/Fire Official, further education in iii may substitute for years of experience.
- Term of Office: The Fire Marshal shall be appointed by the Mayor with the advice and consent of the Council, and serve for the term of the Mayor. Any vacancy shall be filled for the unexpired term.
- Inspectors and Employees: Fire inspectors and other employees as may be necessary in the local enforcing agency shall be appointed by the Mayor. Inspectors shall be appointed for a period of one year. All Life Hazard Use Inspectors will be certified by the state.
- Removal from Office: The Fire Marshal, fire inspectors and other employees of the enforcing agency shall be subject to removal by the Mayor pursuant to State of New Jersey statutes.
- Appointment of Legal Counsel: The governing body shall be responsible for legal counsel to assist the agency in enforcing the Uniform Fire Code.
263-7. Board of Appeals.
Pursuant to Section 15 and 17 of the Uniform Fire Safety Act, any person aggrieved by any order of the local enforcement agency shall have the right to appeal to the Construction Board of Appeals of Sussex County.
263-8. Establishment and Duties of Department of Fire Prevention.
- The New Jersey Uniform Fire Code shall be enforced by the Department of Fire Prevention which shall be operated under the supervision of the Fire Marshal.
- The Department of Fire Prevention shall consist of the following:
- The Fire Marshal who shall be in charge of Department of Fire Prevention.
- A maximum of five (5) fire inspectors.
- One part time clerical staff.
The above officials shall be appointed by the Mayor with the advice and consent of the Council, as per their appropriate terms. Any vacancy in the above positions shall be filled for the unexpired term.
- The duties of the Department of Fire Prevention shall consist of:
- Enforcing the International Fire Code New Jersey Edition.
- Making any and all inspections as required by law or deemed necessary.
- Making accurate reports of any and all inspections and activities of the Department of Fire Prevention.
- Making recommendations to the appropriate township officials in furtherance of enforcing or amending the New Jersey Uniform Fire Code.
- Performing any additional duty which the Mayor and Common Council may assign.
- Conduct the periodic inspections of life hazard uses required by the Uniform Fire Code on behalf of the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs.
- Make a quarterly report of the Department of Fire Prevention and transmit to the Mayor.
- Investigate any/all calls of alarm or fire within the Township of Vernon.
- Make an annual report of the Department of Fire Prevention and transmit to the Mayor. It shall contain all proceedings under the New Jersey Uniform Fire Code, with such statistics as the department may wish to include therein. The report is to be transmitted no later than the fourth Monday of January in the next succeeding year following the year for which the report is made.
263-9. Duties of the Fire Marshal of the Department of Fire Prevention.
The duties of the Fire Marshal of the Department of Fire Prevention shall consist of the following:
- Designating regularly scheduled hours for routine fire inspections.
- Convening and presiding over meetings of the Department of Fire Prevention.
- Promulgating and administering a budget for the Department of Fire Prevention.
- Formulating and implementing a schedule of routine inspections and reinspections as shall be required.
- Maintaining accurate records of the inspection reports and activities of the Department of Fire Prevention.
- Performing any additional duty which the Mayor may assign pursuant to this ordinance.
- Formulating and implementing a schedule of inspection and implementing a system that will effectively enforce the provisions of the New Jersey Uniform Fire Code.
- Perform fire prevention education within the Township of Vernon community.
- Respond to calls of alarm within the Township of Vernon and assist the chief officers with incident command and/or interior fire attacks/investigations.
- Coordination of Fire Pre-Plans with the Vernon Township fire chiefs.
- Perform all the duties of Fire Marshal as set forth in N.J.S.A. 5:70-3.3.
263-10. Non-Life Hazard Inspection Required.
Before a certificate is issued, the Fire Marshal or the Fire Marshal’s designated representative, shall make or cause to be made an inspection to assure that the buildings, premises, structures, or uses comply with the provisions of the Fire Code. These shall be a two year inspection cycle.
263-11. Life Hazard Annual Inspection Required.
Before a certificate is issued, the Fire Marshal or the Fire Marshal’s designated representative, shall make or cause to be made an inspection to assure that the buildings, premises, structures, or uses comply with the provisions of the Fire Code.
263-12. Change of Use Permits.
A permit shall constitute permission to occupy and use such buildings, premises, structures or, uses. Such permission shall not be construed as authority to violate, cancel, or set aside any of the provisions of the Fire Code. Said permit shall remain in effect until revoked or one year, unless otherwise specified. Permits are not transferable and any change in use, operation or tenancy shall require a new permit.
263-13. Revocation of Permit.
The Fire Marshal may revoke the permit issued hereunder if upon inspection any violation of the Fire Code exists or conditions of a permit have been violated.
263-14. Fee Required.
A certificate or permit shall not be issued until the designated fees have been paid. The owners and/or occupiers of all properties and businesses subject to this Article shall be responsible for the payment of the certificate/permit fees.
263-15. Amount of Fee.
- The fee schedule for registrations for non-life hazard use inspections shall be an annual registration fee of:
- $50.00 for 1 sq. ft. to 4,500 sq. ft.
- $75.00 for 4,501 sq. ft. to 8,500 sq. ft.
- $100.00 for 8,501 sq. ft. to 11,999 sq. ft.
- All Life Hazard Use, Permits, Non-Life Hazard Use, & Smoke & CO Inspection fees collected as per N.J.A.C 5:71-2.6(d) shall be appropriated to the local enforcing agency for the enforcement of the code & yearly operations of the Department of Fire Prevention.
- Fire Lane Fees
- Penalty for non-compliance with Section 263-23 parking in a fire lane $50.00.
- Be it further ordained that this ordinance shall take effect after adoption and publication according to law.
- All fines shall be made payable to: Vernon Township Department of Fire Prevention or designated agency writing said summons.
The fee for permits and inspections of life hazard uses shall be as set forth in Uniform Safety Act.
263-16. Inspections and Application for Permit.
Application for a permit required by this ordinance shall be made in such form and detail as the Fire Marshal shall require. Fee schedule shall be given to the applicant at time of application depending on type of permit required. The fee schedule shall be as follows:
- Type 1 Permit: $42.00
- Type 2 Permit: $166.00
- Type 3 Permit: $331.00
- Type 4 Permit: $497.00
263-17. Unlawful to Fail to Obtain a Permit.
It shall be unlawful to fail to obtain the permit or pay the inspection fees required by this ordinance. This shall also and/or constitute the issuance of penalties set forth by the Fire Marshal.
263-18. Penalties for Violations.
The violation of any provision of Sections 263-10 through 263-17 shall be punished by a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars ($500.00) or by imprisonment in the county jail for a term not exceeding ninety days (90). Each day any violation of this ordinance shall continue a separate offense and be punishable as such.
Article 2. Smoke Detectors
263-19. Existing Structures.
No owner of an existing single family, two family or multifamily dwelling, on or after the effective date of this ordinance, shall sell a single family, two family or multifamily dwelling or any residential unit contained therein, unless and until one or more smoke detectors (or other approved fire alarm system) is installed for each dwelling unit being so sold in accordance with all the requirements of the New Jersey Uniform Construction Code and the Uniform Fire Code.
- The Fire Marshal of the Township of Vernon, or in his absence or unavailability, an inspector of the department, shall be responsible for the enforcement of the requirements of this ordinance. Said Fire Marshal or Fire Inspector, as the case may be, shall inspect and approve all smoke detectors and other fire alarm systems installed in accordance with the provisions of this ordinance and the New Jersey Construction Code and Uniform Fire Code, including the approval of the location or locations selected for such installation.
- In order to inform prospective purchasers of residential properties within the Township of Vernon that no residential dwelling unit may be sold without first installing (a) smoke detector(s) or such other approved fire alarm system in accordance with the requirements of this ordinance and the New Jersey Uniform Construction Code and Uniform Fire Code, each and every tax search issued by the Township of Vernon shall contain a statement calling attention to the requirements of this ordinance and shall include a certification for the seller to execute and deliver to the purchaser at the closing of title, attesting to compliance with the provisions of this ordinance. Such certification form shall be forwarded with each tax search ordered.
- The fee to be paid to the Vernon Township Department of Fire Prevention for the initial or re-inspection and certificate of approval shall be $45.00 prior to 15 days of closing. $75.00 14 days to 5 days prior to closing and $125.00 4 days or less to closing. There will be a $500.00 non-compliance penalty issued to anyone not applying for or getting said certification with sale of house.
- Whenever a smoke detector or other approved fire alarm system is required to be installed by this ordinance, such requirement shall not be considered to have been complied with unless such smoke detector(s) or other type of fire alarm system is installed in accordance with all the technical requirements and specifications of the New Jersey Uniform Construction Code (and the Building Code and Uniformed Fire Code adopted therein by reference) and has been inspected and approved by the Fire Marshal (or in his absence or unavailability, by the Construction Official).
- The owner(s) of the real estate upon which the structure in question is located shall be the party responsible for installation of smoke detectors or other fire alarm system in accordance with the requirements of this ordinance.
- Any owner of the property upon which is constructed or located a structure required to have installed therein a fire detector or other fire alarm system, and who falls to do so in accordance with the requirements of this ordinance, shall be liable to a fine of not more than $500.00 or to imprisonment for not more than thirty (30) days, or to both such fine and imprisonment.
- The Fire Marshal, and in his absence or unavailability, the Construction Official, is hereby empowered, upon reasonable advance notice to the owner and/or the tenant or other party in possession, to come upon any premises and enter any structure which is required to comply with the requirements of this ordinance in order to verify compliance with this ordinance and the New Jersey Uniform Construction Code and Uniform Fire Code and to otherwise carry out the objectives and enforcement of this ordinance.
- The Fire Marshal shall maintain a list of all properties in the Township of Vernon which have had smoke detectors or other fire alarm systems installed in accordance with the requirements of this ordinance and the New Jersey Uniform Construction Code and the Uniform Fire Code. This list shall be kept current as additional buildings within the township are equipped with smoke detectors and other fire alarm systems in accordance with this ordinance.
263-21. False Alarms.
- Investigations: In the case of false alarms which summon the police or fire department to investigate, the Fire Marshal & Fire Chief shall cause an investigation to be made and shall keep a record of such false alarms on file.
- Penalties for False Alarms: In any calendar year period of the following penalties shall apply:
- For the first to third false alarm a written warning shall be issued.
- For the fourth to twelfth false alarm a fine of $250.00 shall be imposed for each such false alarm.
- For any violation in excess of the twelve alarms a fine of $500.00 shall be imposed for each such violation.
- Penalties for Intentional False Alarms: Any individual intentionally, willfully, or maliciously destroying or injuring any of the posts, alarm boxes or other alarm apparatus owned by the Township of Vernon or intentionally, willfully or maliciously interfering with the operation of same or any part thereof or who hinders or impedes any of the operations intended to be accomplished thereby or who intentionally causes or assists in causing a false alarm or fire or other emergency to be given in any manner shall, upon conviction thereof, be imprisoned in the county jail for a term not exceeding ninety (90) days or shall forfeit and pay a fine not less than $500.00 and not more than $1,000.00.
- All fines and fees collected for the above are to be set in a separate dedicated penalty account to serve for training and education for the Vernon Township Primary Response Fire Department and the Vernon Township Department of Fire Prevention.
263-22. Violations and Penalties.
- Any person convicted of a violation of this chapter, shall, in addition to the revocation of the license or permit of any person, or any person found guilty of failure to comply with any rules or regulations duly promulgated pursuant thereto, such person may, after being found guilty of such violation, to be subject to a fine of not more than $1,000.00.
- Said maximum fine of $1,000.00 shall not apply in those instances in which the amount of the maximum penalty has hereinbefore been limited to a lesser amount by this chapter. In the case of a continuing violation, the violator may be found guilty of as many separate offenses or counts as the number of days as he is proved to have continued in violation of this chapter.
Article 3. Fire Zone Established
263-23. Fire Lanes & Drafting Sites.
- Designation: The Fire Official may require and designate public or private fire lanes as deemed necessary for the efficient and effective use of fire apparatus.
- Obstruction: Designated fire lanes shall be maintained and free of obstructions and vehicles at all times. They shall also be marked in a manner prescribed by the Fire Official, who shall coincide with the most recent edition of the “Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways.”
263-24. Compliance with Orders.
A person shall not willfully fail or refuse to comply with any lawful order or direction of any fire official or interfere with the compliance attempts of the Fire Official or his designee.
263-25. Blocking of Fire Hydrants, Fire Department Connections and Draft Sites.
It shall be unlawful to obscure from view, damage, deface, obscure, or restrict the access to any fire hydrant or fire department connection for the pressurization of fire suppression systems. Included in this provision are fire hydrants, fire department connections, drafting sites that are located on public or private streets, access lanes or on private property.
Snow removal from all fire hydrants, fire department connections and stand pipe systems that are located on public or private streets and access lanes or on private property within twenty-four (24) hours of the end of the said snow storm are also included in this section.
263-26. Parking Regulations.
Except in compliance with the directions of a police officer or posted traffic signal, no operator of a motor vehicle, moped, motorized bicycle or bicycle shall stop or stand or park in any of the following places:
- Within ten (10) feet of a fire hydrant or fire department connection or stand pipe system
- In any area marked by yellow or white lines or signs indicating the location of a fire zone or fire lane
263-27. Delineation and Marking.
Any of the below or a combination of such shall constitute compliance within this ordinance.
- Each fire lane shall be striped along the perimeter with a yellow or white stripe not less than four (4) inches wide.
- Each fire lane shall be clearly marked on the surface of the pavement “FIRE LANE NO PARKING” in yellow letters no less than twenty-four (24) inches high. This wording shall be located horizontally and between the perimeter lines and shall be repeated throughout the fire lane or fire zone.
- Each fire lane shall be clearly marked with a metal sign every fifty (50) feet with a minimum of two (2) signs. The metal signs shall be no less than eighteen (18) inches by twenty-four (24) inches with three (3) inch red letters, shall contain a white reflective background and shall read as follows:
263-28. Maintenance of Fire Lane.
The owner of the property where the fire lane is located shall properly maintain any such markings, striping, curbing, and signage in the designated areas at all times. Defacing, tampering with, or damaging any such markings, striping, curbing, or signage or allowing them to deteriorate so as to reduce their effectiveness shall constitute violation of the chapter.
Any person who shall violate any of the provisions of this section or who fails to comply herewith shall for each and every violation and non-compliance respectively upon conviction, be subject to a fine not in excess of $500.00 and is subject to removal by the Vernon Township Police Department at the sole expense of the owner or operator therefore.
Article 4. Knox Boxes
When a property is protected by an automatic alarm system, and access to or within a structure or an area on that property is impeded by secured openings, and where immediate access might become necessary for lifesaving or fire-fighting purposes, the Fire Marshal may require a key box to be installed in an approved location. The key box shall be a type approved by the Fire Marshal and shall be installed at the expense of the property owner.
The key box shall contain:
- Keys to locked points of ingress whether on the interior or exterior of such buildings.
- Keys to locked mechanical equipment rooms.
- Keys to locked electrical rooms.
- Keys to elevator controls.
- Keys to other areas as directed by the Fire Marshal.
- Other material as directed by the Fire Marshal.
All keys shall be clearly labeled or marked to identify the doors they open or the devices they operate.
This subsection applies to both existing and future structures, but shall not apply to any residential units.
- The Fire Marshal shall, within 90 days of the effective date of this subsection, develop and submit to the Mayor a list of specifications for key boxes. Following approval of the specifications by resolution of the Township Council, any box complying with those specifications shall be deemed to be approved. Until such specifications are developed and at any time thereafter, any property owner may request the Fire Marshal to render a determination as to whether a particular key box, which does not comply with the specifications, can be approved for installation.
- Prior to installing any key box required by this subsection, the property owner shall make written request to the Fire Marshal to designate or approve the proposed location.
The Vernon Township Department of Fire Prevention may determine appropriate fees for processing an application to determine whether a key box which does not comply with the specifications can be approved for installation and a request for designation or approval of proposed locations for key boxes. Such fees shall become effective upon adoption by resolution of the Township Council.
The Vernon Township Department of Fire Prevention shall be the enforcing agency of this ordinance section. Any person who owns or operates a structure subject to this section shall be subject to penalties set forth in this code for any violation of this section, and the minimum fine for a conviction or a violation of this section shall be $100.00 for the first offense, $200.00 for the second offense, and $300.00 for failure to comply.
Article 5. Fire Watch & Fire Safety Standby
263-36. Intent and Purpose.
Fire safety compliance has always been and continues to be a high priority for the Township of Vernon. Town officials frequently assess what can be done to assure the safety of all township residents, and to that end, the Township of Vernon deems it necessary to implement fire watch procedures when there exist substantial risks to life, safety and property, including when all or part of the required fire protection systems in township structures are intentionally interrupted for repairs and maintenance, not functioning properly, not functioning at all, or when they are damaged or destroyed by fire or other disaster. In certain circumstances detailed herein, the Fire Official/Marshal, Fire Chief or his designee, is hereby authorized to order a fire watch for the affected structure in order to ensure continued safety of residents during this period.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
FIRE WATCH—A temporary measure intended to ensure continuous and systematic surveillance of a building or portion(s) thereof by one or more qualified individuals for the purpose of identifying and controlling fire hazards, detecting early signs of an unwanted fire, raising an alarm of fire to the occupants and notifying the fire department. (202 definitions)
263-38. Fire Watch; When Required.
- A fire watch may be ordered by the Fire Marshal, Fire Chief or his assigned designee in public and privately owned buildings and or properties within the Township of Vernon under the following circumstances:
- Where required fire protection systems are out of service due to system failure, repair, scheduled maintenance, vandalism, etc.; the Fire Marshal and Fire Chief shall be notified immediately and where the Fire Marshal determines that an imminent hazard exists pursuant to N.J.A.C. 5:70-2.17 or an approved fire watch shall be provided for all occupants left unprotected by the shut down until the fire protection system has been returned to service. Upon restoration of the fire protection system and proper documentation is supplied, the Fire Marshal and Fire Chief shall then sign off on the ability to remove such fire watch. (901.7)
- When in the opinion of the Fire Marshal or Fire Chief, it is essential for public safety in a place of assembly or any other place where people congregate, because of the number of persons, or the nature of the performance, exhibition, display, contest or activity, the owner, agent or lessee shall provide one or more fire watch personnel, as required and approved, to remain on duty during the times such places are open to the public, or when such activity is being conducted. (403.1)
- When required by the Fire Marshal for building demolition that is hazardous in nature, qualified personnel shall be provided to serve as an on-site fire watch. Fire watch personnel shall be provided with at least one approved means of notification of the fire department and their sole duty shall be to perform constant patrols and watch for the occurrence of fire. (1404.5)
- A fire watch shall be posted by the Fire Marshal or Fire Chief or his designee at the following type of events: hot work welding or cutting (2604.2), fire works displays (3308.2.2.1), fumigation in gas tight tank or vault (1703.3.3), tent, canopy or membrane structures used as places of assembly (2404.20)
- A fire watch may include the maintaining of posted fire lanes, means of egress, posted occupancy loads, building surveillance for signs of smoke or fire, checking for proper permits, inspecting for proper safety precautions of cooking equipment, and other functions as required by the Fire Official/Marshal, Fire Chief or his assigned designee.
- Should a fire watch be posted by the Fire Marshal, Fire Chief or his designee, that party is then responsible to contact and maintain open communications with such on the status of the fire watch and conditions of the property in question. Proper fire watch procedure forms will be supplied to the Fire Chief in the command or support vehicles. The Fire Marshal’s Office shall take responsibility of all posted fire watches and report back to the Fire Chief on the status of the property and fire protection systems.
- Should the building owner, agent, lessee be unable to post their own fire watch, a fire watch shall be performed by the Vernon Township Department of Fire Prevention. In the event no one of the above agency is available, other qualified individuals may be utilized at the discretion of the Fire Marshal, Fire Chief or his assigned designee. Any qualified individuals used for the purposes of a fire watch shall report directly to the Fire Official/Marshal, Fire Chief or his assigned designee, who will report to the Business Administrator of the Township of Vernon.
263-39. Fees and Payments.
- A fire watch shall be paid for by the building owner, tenant, lessee, or organization for which the fire watch is requested or required, as appropriate.
- All fire watch services not incurred and paid by the Township of Vernon shall be at the rate of $35 per hour per person with a minimum of 3 hours per person. Individuals conducting said fire watch shall receive hourly payment after payment is made by owner on the next available payroll date.
- There shall be a $25.00 per hour for the use of each township vehicle utilized, plus a 15% administration fee.
- All payments shall be made within 10 days after service is provided.
- Payments shall be made payable to the Township of Vernon.
263-40. Violations and Penalties.
Any person, partnership, corporation, or other entity that violates the provisions of this article shall be subject to the penalties as set forth in the Uniform Fire Code.