Article 14.

Fire Protection.

160A-291. Firemen appointed.

A city is authorized to appoint a fire chief; to employ other firemen; to establish, organize, equip, and maintain a fire department; and to prescribe the duties of the fire department. (1917, c. 136, subch. 8, s. 1; C.S., s. 2801; 1969, c. 1065, s. 3; 1971, c. 698, s. 1.)

 

160A-292. Duties of fire chief.

(a) Where not otherwise prescribed, the duties of the fire chief shall be to preserve and care for fire apparatus, have charge of fighting and extinguishing fires and training the fire department, seek out and have corrected all places and conditions dangerous to the safety of the city and its citizens from fire, and make annual reports to the council concerning these duties. If these duties include State Building Code enforcement, they shall follow the provisions as defined in G.S. 143-151.13.

(b) The fire chief shall obtain a criminal history record check of any person who applies for a paid or volunteer position with the fire department. The criminal history record check shall be conducted and evaluated as provided in G.S. 143B-943. (1969, c. 1065, s.3; 1971, c. 698, s. 1; 1989, c. 681, s. 13; 2022-8, s. 3(d).)

 

160A-293. Fire protection outside city limits; immunity; injury to firemen.

(a) A city may install and maintain water mains, pipes, hydrants, buildings and equipment outside its corporate limits and may send its firemen and equipment outside its corporate limits to provide fire protection to rural or unincorporated areas pursuant to agreements between the city and the county, or between the city and the owner of the property to be protected. Counties are hereby authorized to enter into these agreements and to make from tax funds any payments agreed upon for rural fire protection.

(b) No city or any officer or employee thereof shall be held to answer in any civil action or proceeding for failure or delay in answering calls for fire protection outside the corporate limits, nor shall any city be held to answer in any civil action or proceeding for the acts or omissions of its officers or employees in rendering fire protection services outside its corporate limits.

(c) Any employee of a city fire department, while engaged in any duty or activity outside the corporate limits of the city pursuant to orders of the fire chief or council, shall have all of the jurisdiction, authority, rights, privileges, and immunities, including coverage under the workers' compensation laws, which they have within the corporate limits of the city. (1919, c. 244; C.S., s. 2804; 1941, c. 188; 1947, c. 669; 1949, c. 89; 1971, c. 698, s. 1; 1991, c. 636, s. 3.)

 

160A-294. Loss of rural fire employment.

(a) Whenever a city annexes any territory under Parts 2 or 3 of Article 4A of this Chapter, and because of the annexation the rural fire department must terminate the employment of any full-time employee, then the annexing city must take one of the three actions listed below with respect to any person who has been in such full-time employment for two years or more at the time of adoption of the resolution of intent:

(1) The annexing city may offer employment without loss of salary or seniority and place the person in a position as near as possible in type to the position that was held in the rural fire department; or

(2) The annexing city may offer employment in some other department of the city at a comparable salary and seniority; or

(3) The city may choose to pay to the person a sum equal to the person's salary for one year as the equivalent of severance pay. For the purpose of this subsection, the person's salary was his total salary with the rural fire department for the 12-month period ending on the last pay period before the resolution of consideration was adopted, plus any increased salary due to reasonable cost-of-living increases and bona fide promotions; provided that if no resolution of consideration was required to be adopted because of either G.S. 160A-37(j) or G.S. 160A-49(j), or because the resolution of intent was adopted prior to July 1, 1984, the person's salary was his total salary with the rural fire department for the 12-month period ending on the last pay period before the resolution of intent was adopted, plus any increased salary due to reasonable cost-of-living increases and bona fide promotions.

(b) This section is effective with respect to all annexations where an annexation ordinance is adopted on or after January 1, 1983, except that it is also effective with respect to all annexations where an annexation ordinance was adopted before January 1, 1983, but on January 1, 1983, the annexation ordinance:

(1) Was under review under G.S. 160A-38 or G.S. 160A-50, and a stay is in effect under G.S. 160A-38(e) or G.S. 160A-50(e); or

(2) Was subject to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 but had not yet been approved under that act. (1983, c. 636, s. 25.)

 

160A-294.1. Honoring deceased or retiring firefighters.

A fire department established by a municipality pursuant to this Article may, in the discretion of the governing body of the municipality, award to a retiring firefighter or a surviving relative of a deceased firefighter, upon request, the fire helmet of the deceased or retiring firefighter, at a price determined in a manner authorized by the governing body. The price may be less than the fair market value of the helmet. (2003-145, s. 2.)