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SECTION 1402
Fire corporations
Not-for-Profit Corporation (NPC) CHAPTER 35, ARTICLE 14
§ 1402. Fire corporations.

(a) Certificate of incorporation; additional contents.

In addition to the requirements of section 402 (Certificate of
incorporation; contents), the certificate of incorporation of a fire
corporation shall state the precise boundaries of the territory in which
the corporation intends to operate.

(b) Type of corporation.

A fire corporation is a charitable corporation under this chapter.

(c) Appointment of firefighters.

(1) A person shall not be eligible to be named in the certificate of
incorporation of a fire corporation unless he shall be at least eighteen
years of age and a resident of a city, village, fire district, or town
outside of villages and fire districts, where the fire corporation
intends to operate.

(2) If the fire corporation becomes part of the fire department of a
city, village or fire district, a person shall not be eligible to be
elected as a member or to continue as a member except as provided by law
for volunteer members of the fire companies in such city, village or
fire district.

(3) In towns outside of villages and fire districts, the consent of a
majority of the members of the town board to the formation of a fire
corporation shall constitute an appointment of the persons named in the
certificate of incorporation as town firefighters. Thereafter, other
eligible persons may be elected as members pursuant to the by-laws of
the fire corporation, but the election of a member must be approved by
the town board of each town which consented to the formation of the fire
corporation. Such a person shall be a resident of the territory
specified in the certificate of incorporation or of territory outside
such boundaries which is afforded fire protection by the fire
corporation pursuant to a contract for fire protection under which a
cash consideration is received by the corporation or for which
negotiations for renewal of such a contract are pending. The membership
of any volunteer member shall terminate when he or she ceases to be a
resident of such inside or outside territory, except that the
corporation may authorize his or her continued membership where he or
she notifies the secretary of the fire corporation (a) that he or she
plans to change his or her residence to a territory which is not in such
inside or outside territory, and (b) that by reason of his or her
residence in the vicinity or his or her usual occupation he or she will
be available to render active service as a volunteer firefighter in
either such inside or such outside territory. Voting for such
authorization shall be pursuant to the by-laws. Such authorization shall
not become effective unless approved by resolution of the town board of
each town which consented to the formation of the corporation. Any
membership so continued shall terminate when the member can no longer
meet the requirements of this subparagraph. A person who cannot meet the
residence requirements of this subparagraph may be elected to membership
as a volunteer member if by reason of his or her residence in the
vicinity or his or her usual occupation he or she will be available to
render active service as a volunteer firefighter in such inside or
outside territory. Voting for such election shall be pursuant to the
by-laws. Such election shall not become effective unless approved by
resolution of the town board of each town which consented to the
formation of the corporation. Such membership shall terminate when the
member can no longer meet the requirements of this subparagraph. The
election or continuance of any person as a member shall be deemed to
have been approved by the town board pursuant to this subparagraph in
the event that no action is taken by the town board, either approving or
disapproving, within forty days in the case of residents of the
territory specified in the certificate of incorporation or of outside
contract territory, and within seventy days in the case of all others,
after service of written notice of such election or continuance of
membership shall have been made by the secretary of the corporation upon
the town clerk, either personally or by mail. The membership of any
volunteer firefighter shall not be continued pursuant to this
subparagraph, and persons who do not reside in the territory specified
in the certificate of incorporation or in territory protected pursuant
to a contract for fire protection shall not be elected to membership,
if, by so doing, the percentage of such nonresident members in the fire
corporation would exceed forty-five per centum of the actual membership
thereof, provided, however, that the forty-five percent limit on
non-resident members shall not apply to the membership of the Huguenot
Fire Company, Inc., within the town of Deerpark, Orange county, to the
membership of the Prospect Terrace Fire Company, Inc., within the town
of Dickinson, Broome county, to membership of the Hopewell Volunteer
Fire Department, Inc., to membership of the Wales Center Volunteer Fire
Company, Inc., within the town of Wales, Erie county, to the membership
of the Nedrow Fire Department, within the town of Onondaga, Onondaga
county, to the membership of the Howlett Hill Fire Department, within
the town of Onondaga, Onondaga county, to the membership of the East
Syracuse Fire Department, within the town of Dewitt, Onondaga county, to
the membership of the Pleasant Square Fire Company, Inc. within the town
of Johnstown, Fulton county, to the membership of the East Amherst Fire
Department, Inc., within the town of Amherst, Erie county, or to
membership of the fire departments within the town of Fleming, Cayuga
county. Nonresidents of the territory specified in the certificate of
incorporation whose volunteer membership has been authorized or
continued pursuant to this subparagraph may be elected or appointed to
any office in the fire corporation and shall have all the powers,
duties, immunities, and privileges of resident volunteer members except
a non-resident of this state whose membership has been continued
pursuant to this subparagraph, or who was elected to membership pursuant
to this subparagraph, shall not be considered to be performing any
firefighting duty, or to be engaged in any firefighting activity, as a
member of the fire company while he or she is outside of this state
unless and until he or she has first reported to the officer or
firefighter in command of his or her fire department, or any company,
squad or other unit thereof, engaged or to be engaged in rendering
service outside this state, or has received orders or authorization from
an officer of the fire department or fire company to participate in or
attend authorized activities outside of this state in the same manner as
resident members of the fire company. A person shall not be eligible to
volunteer membership in any other fire corporation or fire company at
one time. The provisions of this subparagraph shall not be deemed to
authorize the election or the continuance of any person as a member of
the corporation if such election or continuance of membership shall be
contrary to the by-laws, rules or regulations of the fire corporation.

(4) A person who has been convicted of arson in any degree shall not
be eligible to be named in the certificate of incorporation of a fire
corporation, or to be elected or appointed as a volunteer member of a
fire corporation. The membership of any volunteer member of a fire
corporation shall immediately terminate if he is convicted of arson in
any degree while a member of a fire corporation.

(5) Upon application by any person for membership in a fire
corporation operating pursuant to this section, the fire chief shall
cause the applicant's background to be checked pursuant to section eight
hundred thirty-seven-o of the executive law for a criminal history
involving a conviction for arson and conviction of a crime which
requires the person to register as a sex offender under article six-C of
the correction law. Where such criminal history information includes
conviction of a crime which requires the person to register as a sex
offender under article six-C of the correction law, a fire company shall
determine whether or not such person shall be eligible to be elected or
appointed as a volunteer member of such fire company. Such determination
shall be made in accordance with the criteria established in sections
seven hundred fifty-two and seven hundred fifty-three of the correction
law.

(d) Incorporation of fire corporations in towns legalized.

Any fire, hose, protective or hook and ladder corporation heretofore
organized under any general law with the consent of the town board in
the territory served by such corporation is hereby legalized and
confirmed, notwithstanding the omission of any town board to appoint or
confirm the members of such corporations as town firefighters. Any such
corporation shall hereafter be subject to the provisions of this
section.

(e) Powers.

(1) A fire, hose, protective or hook and ladder corporation heretofore
incorporated under any general law or a fire corporation hereafter
incorporated under this section shall be under the control of the city,
village, fire district or town authorities having, by law, control over
the prevention or extinguishment of fires therein. Such authorities may
adopt rules and regulations for the government and control of such
corporations. Notwithstanding the provisions of any such local law, a
person who has been convicted of arson in any degree shall not be
eligible for nomination, election or appointment to any office of the
corporation, nor may such person serve as director of the corporation.
Any fire corporation officer or director who is convicted of arson in
any degree during his term of office shall be disqualified from
completing such term of office.

(2) Where a fire corporation formed outside of a city, village or fire
district furnishes fire protection to territory outside of the
boundaries specified in its certificate of incorporation, the fire
corporation and the members thereof shall be under the exclusive control
of the town board of the town in which the fire corporation maintains
its apparatus.

(3) The emergency relief squad of a fire corporation incorporated
under this section or subject to the provisions thereof shall have power
to furnish general ambulance service when duly authorized under the
provisions of section two hundred nine-b of the general municipal law.

(4) Any fire company incorporated under this section or subject to the
provisions thereof shall have power to engage in fund raising activities
pursuant to section two hundred four-a of the general municipal law.

(5) Any fire company incorporated under this section or subject to the
provisions thereof shall have power, subject to the approval or
authorization of the town board, to attend a funeral.

(6) Fire, hose, protective or hook and ladder corporations heretofore
incorporated under any general law or fire corporations hereafter
incorporated under this section or volunteer fire companies or fire
departments as defined in section three of the volunteer firefighters'
benefits law are hereby authorized to enter into contracts among
themselves and among municipal corporations for the joint purchase of
goods, supplies and services. Provided that the provisions of article
five-A of the general municipal law shall be controlling for any
proposed joint purchase between such fire corporation, company, or
department and a municipal corporation. For the purposes of this
subparagraph the term "municipal corporation" shall mean a county, city,
town, village, fire district, or ambulance district.

(f) Directors to file report.

It shall be the duty of the directors of all fire, hose, protective or
hook and ladder corporations incorporated under a general law or of a
fire corporation formed under this section in territory outside of
cities or villages, or a majority of them, on or before the fifteenth
day of January in each year, to make and file in the county clerk's
office, where the certificate of incorporation is filed a verified
certificate, stating the names of the directors and officers of the
corporation, containing an inventory of its property, a statement of its
liabilities and that the corporation has not engaged, directly or
indirectly, in any business other than that set forth in its certificate
of incorporation.

(g) Firefighters' exemption.

Every active firefighter who shall be a member of a corporation
subject to the provisions of this section shall be entitled to all the
rights granted by law to volunteer firefighters and every such active
firefighter who shall meet the requirements of section two hundred of
the general municipal law shall be entitled to the additional rights
granted by law to exempt volunteer firefighters.

(h) Legalization of membership of fire corporations in towns outside
villages and fire districts.

(1) Any person:

(A) who was recognized prior to the first day of July, nineteen
hundred fifty-four, as a volunteer member of a fire corporation subject
to the provisions of this section located in a town outside villages and
fire districts by the town board or by the officers and members of the
fire corporation, and

(B) who rendered active service with such fire corporation prior to
such date, and

(C) who was, at the time of his or her election to membership, a
resident of the territory specified in the certificate of incorporation
or of territory outside such boundaries which was afforded fire
protection by the fire corporation pursuant to a contract for fire
protection,

shall for all purposes in law be considered to have been duly elected
and confirmed as a member in such fire corporation as of the date of
such confirmation, if any, and, if none, then as of the date of such
election; notwithstanding that there may have been some legal defect in
such election, or the proceedings precedent thereto, or a failure of the
town board to confirm such member, as provided by the law in force at
the time of such election, and the status of such person as a volunteer
firefighter as of the date of such confirmation or election is hereby
legalized, validated and confirmed. This subparagraph shall not apply to
a person, if any, whose volunteer membership in a fire corporation was
declared invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction prior to the first
day of January, nineteen hundred fifty-five.

(2) Any person:

(A) who was recognized on or after the first day of July, nineteen
hundred fifty-four and prior to the first day of January, two thousand
eleven as a volunteer member of a fire corporation subject to the
provisions of this section located in a town outside villages and fire
districts by the town board or by the officers and members of the fire
corporation, and

(B) who rendered active service with such fire corporation between
such dates, and

(C) who was, at the time of his or her election to membership, a
resident of the territory specified in the certificate of incorporation
or of territory outside such boundaries which was afforded fire
protection by the fire corporation pursuant to a contract for fire
protection, or who was a nonresident elected to membership or who was
continued as a member, pursuant to the provisions of subparagraph (A)

shall for all purposes in law be considered to have been duly elected
and confirmed, or continued, as a member in such fire corporation as of
the date of such confirmation, if any, and, if none, then as of the date
of such election or, in the case of a continuance, as of the date of
approval, if any, by the town board and, if none, as of the date of
authorization of continuance by the fire corporation; notwithstanding
that there may have been some legal defect in such election, or the
proceedings thereto, or a failure of the town board to confirm the
election, or approve the continuance of membership, of such member, as
provided by the law in force at the time of such election or
continuance, and the status of such person as a volunteer firefighter as
of such date is hereby legalized, validated and confirmed. This
subparagraph shall not apply to a person, if any, whose volunteer
membership in a fire corporation was declared invalid by a court of
competent jurisdiction prior to the first day of January, two thousand
eleven.

(i) Discrimination because of race, color, creed or national origin
prohibited.

(1) It shall be an unlawful discriminatory practice for any volunteer
fire department, fire company or fire corporation, through any member or
members thereof, directors, officers, members of a town board, board of
fire commissioners or other body or office having power of appointment
of volunteer firefighters in any fire department, fire company or fire
corporation pursuant to this section, because of the race, creed, color,
national origin, sex or marital status of any individual, to exclude or
to expel from its volunteer membership such individual, or to
discriminate against any of its members because of the race, creed,
color, national origin, sex or marital status of such volunteer members.

(2) Any person claiming to be aggrieved by an unlawful discriminatory
practice pursuant to this paragraph may by himself or his attorney at
law make, sign and file with the state division of human rights, a
verified complaint which shall set forth the particulars of the alleged
unlawful discriminatory practice and contain such other information as
the division of human rights may require. The division shall thereupon
cause to be made an investigation and disposition of the charges
pursuant to the provisions of article fifteen of the executive law.