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    I am a career firefighter in mobile county alabama and a volunteer in a small department in baldwin county. My department i work at is a Public Safety city so our police are firefighters also and I am trying to start up a volunteer fire department and was wondering if anyone had some info on the basics of starting a department. thanks

  • #2
    Hey another Alabama guy!

    Scooby, I'm a little confused by your question so I'll make some blanket statements and you can see if they help. If I oversimplify, please forgive me.

    The first question that needs to be addressed is if you're in an incorporated municipality - that means a city or town. If the answer is yes, then the absolute first step is to convince the council that you need a VFD. In Alabama, the legislative body of an incorporated municipality decides who provides fire protection for its citizens. It can form its own FD, 'contract' with an independent FD, or maybe contract with another city but it is totally their call. If you're talking about forming a vollie component to augment an existing career force, that simply takes an act of the council.

    If you live out in the county, then you're talking about a few more steps. The legal process is laid out in Title 11 of the Code of Alabama. You can read it at www.legislature.state.al.us. You would also need to incorporate as a 501c3 corporation and register with the secretary of state's office. You will also need to get certified by the Alabama Forestry Commission. Their requirements are also in the Code of Alabama but I can't remember offhand the exact section. This would also apply if you're creating a brand new volunteer municipal FD. Finally, many Alabama counties have local legislation that creates funding sources through various forms of property and sin taxes. Often times these acts have specific requirements that must be met in order to get funding. Many counties also have very active county associations that define coverage areas. Good points of contact for help if you're in the county are your county forester, county association, and maybe your E911 board.

    One final thing - you said you are public safety officers. I hope that means you're POST certified and career firefighter certified (not 160) through the Fire College. If not, someone is asking for real trouble.

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    • #3
      Thanks for the information and to answer that last statement you wrote, me and the other 5 firemen employed are state certified firemen but we do no police work. as for the police officers of our city they perform firefighting operations with nothing but ojt. if you know of any legalities concerning P.S.O. departments I would love to read up on it. Thanks for your comment

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      • #4
        Check out the Fire College website. I'm pretty sure they've got all their rule and applicable state laws posted on the site.

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        • #5
          thanks i will go check it out

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