TITLE 16

Health and Safety

Safety

CHAPTER 67. AUTHORITY OF FIRE DEPARTMENTS AND FIRE POLICE WITHIN THE STATE


(a) Any duly organized fire company or substation (outside the City of Wilmington) may provide for the appointment of not more than 6 of its members to perform police duties at fires, fire drills and any emergencies or functions covered by the fire company for a term to be fixed by the fire company.

(b) The members selected by the fire company as fire police shall, before entering upon their duties, qualify by taking and subscribing an oath that they will justly, impartially and faithfully discharge their duties according to the best of their ability and understanding. The oath shall be administered by the sheriff of the county in which the fire company making the appointment is located and shall be subscribed by the member appointed as a fire police officer in duplicate. The original copy of the oath shall be filed with the sheriff of the county in which the fire company making the appointment is located and a copy thereof filed with the secretary of the fire company making the appointment.

47 Del. Laws, c. 82, § 1; 16 Del. C. 1953, § 6701; 55 Del. Laws, c. 62; 66 Del. Laws, c. 150, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

While any duly constituted fire department recognized by the Delaware State Fire Prevention Commission is responding to, operating at or returning from a fire, service call or other emergency, the fire chief, any other elected or appointed fire line officer or any member serving the capacity of fire officer-in-charge shall have the authority:

(1) Of controlling and directing the activities at such scene;

(2) To order any person or persons to leave any building or place in the vicinity of such scene for the purpose of protecting such persons from injury;

(3) To blockade any public highway, street or private right-of-way temporarily while at such scene;

(4) To trespass at any time of the day or night without liability while at such scene;

(5) To enter any building, including private dwellings, or upon any premises where a fire is in progress, or where there is reasonable cause to believe a fire is in progress, for the purpose of extinguishing the fire;

(6) To enter any building, including private dwellings, or premises near the scene of the fire for the purpose of protecting the building or premises or for the purpose of extinguishing the fire which is in progress in another building or premises;

(7) To inspect for preplanning all buildings, structures or other places in their fire district excepting, however, the interior of a private dwelling, where any combustible material, including waste paper, rags, shaving, waste, leather, rubber, crates, boxes, barrels, rubbish or other combustible material that is or may become dangerous as a fire menace to such building or buildings, structure or other places has been allowed to accumulate or where such chief or the chief's designated representative has reason to believe that such material of a combustible nature has accumulated or is liable to be accumulated;

(8) To direct without liability the removal or destroying of any fence, house, motor vehicle or other thing which the chief may judge necessary to be pulled down or destroyed, to prevent the further spread of the fire;

(9) To request and be supplied with additional materials such as sand, treatments, chemicals, etc., and special equipment when it is deemed a necessity, to prevent the further spread of the fire or hazardous condition, the cost of which to be borne by such property owner;

(10) To order disengagement or discouplement of any convoy, caravan, or train of vehicles, craft or railway cars if deemed a necessity in the interest of safety of persons or property;

(11) To take command of all industrial management, fire brigades or fire chiefs whenever the chief's company or department is called to respond to such; if in the chief's opinion such action is in the interest of public safety;

(12) In the event of an incident involving a hazardous substance, to transfer command to a state or federal emergency response team in accordance with the State Hazardous Substance Incident Contingency Plan.

59 Del. Laws, c. 476, § 2; 64 Del. Laws, c. 123, § 2; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

(a) A member of a fire company who has been appointed and qualified as a fire police officer may thereafter, for the term of the member's appointment, act as such anywhere in the county in which the fire company making the appointment is located or in any other county of the State in which the member is called upon to act.

(b) Subject to prior written approval by the fire chief, a fire police officer may be granted permission to:

(1) Assist the fire officer-in-charge, and also assist law enforcement officers as defined in § 9200(b), Title 11, anywhere within the State;

(2) Assist the fire officer-in-charge, and also assist law enforcement officers in out-of-state districts bordering the State, with authority of the bordering district;

(3) Assist at the scene of any potential emergency incident encountered by the fire police officer, and to remain on duty until released by the authorized fire officer or law enforcement officer in charge; and

(4) Perform other special duties as may be requested and approved by the fire chief.

47 Del. Laws, c. 82, § 2; 16 Del. C. 1953, § 6702; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 73 Del. Laws, c. 12, § 1.;

A fire police officer, subject to § 6702(b) of this title, shall perform the fire police officer's duties under the supervision of the fire officer-in-charge of the scene of a fire, fire drill or other emergency, or in the absence of a fire officer-in-charge, under the supervision of the law enforcement officer in charge of the scene.

47 Del. Laws, c. 82, § 2; 16 Del. C. 1953, § 6703; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 73 Del. Laws, c. 12, § 2.;

The duties of a fire police officer, subject to the supervision of the fire officer in charge, are to:

(1) Protect the contents of buildings and all other property affected by any fire or fire drill;

(2) Establish and maintain fire lines;

(3) Perform such traffic duties as are necessary;

(4) Wear a fire police badge, to be designed and authorized by the Delaware Volunteer Firefighter's Association, on the left breast of the outermost garment while on duty.

47 Del. Laws, c. 82, § 3; 16 Del. C. 1953, § 6704; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 73 Del. Laws, c. 12, §§ 3, 4; 77 Del. Laws, c. 378, § 1.;

Nothing contained in this chapter shall be construed to allow or permit the fire police, or any of them, to supersede the authority of a duly authorized police officer.

47 Del. Laws, c. 82, § 4; 16 Del. C. 1953, § 6705.;

If any person unreasonably refuses to obey the orders of a fire police officer in the exercise of the fire police officer's duties, such person may be held under arrest by the fire police officer until the fire at which the fire police officer is called upon to act is extinguished or the fire drill completed at which time the fire police shall take the arrested person before a justice of the peace and charge the arrested person with failure to obey the order of a fire police officer.

47 Del. Laws, c. 82, § 5; 16 Del. C. 1953, § 6706; 59 Del. Laws, c. 322, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

Whoever refuses to obey the orders of a fire police officer in the exercise of the fire police officer's duties shall be fined no less than $25 and no more than $50.

Prosecutions for violations of this section shall be before a justice of the peace.

47 Del. Laws, c. 82, § 6; 16 Del. C. 1953, § 6707; 59 Del. Laws, c. 322, § 2; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

For the purposes of this chapter:

(1) "Advisory committee" means the advisory committee on ambulance service.

(2) "Ambulance" includes any privately or publicly owned vehicle that is specially designed, constructed or modified and equipped and is intended to be used for and is maintained or operated for the transportation upon the streets and highways in this State of persons who are sick, injured, wounded or otherwise incapacitated or helpless. Vehicles designed primarily for rescue operations and which do not ordinarily but may transport persons upon the streets and highways are excluded.

(3) "Ambulance attendant" shall have the same definition as is set forth in Chapter 97 of this title.

(4) "Ambulance service district" means a geographical area with boundaries which are typically aligned to fire service districts within the State as identified and certified by State Fire Prevention Commission.

(5) "Ambulance service provider" means an organization or company which has been authorized and certified to provide ambulance service within the State by the State Fire Prevention Commission.

(6) "Certification" means original certification as an ambulance attendant or emergency medical technician by the State Fire Prevention Commission.

(7) "Commission" means State Fire Prevention Commission or a duly authorized representative thereof.

(8) "Criminal history" means a person's entire criminal history record from the State Bureau of Identification and the person's entire federal criminal history record maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

(9) "Decertification" means the cancellation or revocation of the certificate issued by the State Fire Prevention Commission to an ambulance attendant or emergency medical technician.

(10) "Emergency medical technician" (EMT) shall have the same definition as is set forth in Chapter 97 of this title.

16 Del. C. 1953, § 6721; 58 Del. Laws, c. 177; 71 Del. Laws, c. 49, § 2; 72 Del. Laws, c. 137, § 6; 73 Del. Laws, c. 176, § 1.;

(a) No person, firm, corporation or association either as owner, agent or otherwise shall hereafter furnish, operate, conduct, maintain, advertise or otherwise engage in or profess to be engaged in the business or service of transporting patients under emergency conditions upon the streets or highways of this State unless the person, firm, corporation or association holds a currently valid permit for each ambulance used in such business or service issued by the Commission or a duly authorized representative thereof.

(b) Before a permit may be issued for a vehicle to operate as an ambulance, the registered owner must apply to the Commission for an ambulance permit. Application shall be made upon forms and according to procedures established by the Commission. Prior to issuing an original or renewal permit for an ambulance, the Commission or a duly authorized representative thereof shall determine that the vehicle for which the permit is issued meets all requirements as to medical equipment and supplies and sanitation as set forth in this chapter and the regulations of the Commission. Permits issued for ambulances shall be valid for a period specified by the Commission not to exceed 1 year.

(c) The Commission may issue temporary permits for vehicles not meeting required standards valid for a period not to exceed 90 days when it determines the public interest will be served thereby. Any temporary permit issued hereunder shall not be renewed.

(d) When a permit has been issued for an ambulance as specified herein, the vehicle for which issued and records relating to maintenance and operation of such vehicle shall be open to inspection by duly authorized representatives of the Commission at all reasonable times.

(e) The issuance of a permit hereunder shall not be construed so as to authorize any person, firm, corporation or association to provide ambulance services or to operate any ambulance without compliance with all ordinances and regulations enacted or promulgated by any county or municipal government concerning ambulances.

16 Del. C. 1953, § 6722; 58 Del. Laws, c. 177; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

(a) For the purpose of assisting the Commission in developing standards for use in the administration of this chapter, there is hereby created the advisory committee on ambulance service. The advisory committee shall be composed of 8 members, whose names shall be submitted to the Commission by resolution of the following respective organizations: 6 representatives, 2 from each county from the Delaware Volunteer Firefighter's Association, 1 representative from the non-fire department owned volunteer ambulance organizations, and 1 representative from the privately owned ambulance companies. Each representative shall serve at the pleasure of the organization which the representative represents and the representative successor shall be chosen in like manner. The Chairperson of the Commission shall call the advisory committee to its first meeting. The advisory committee shall choose a chairperson and shall meet thereafter at the call of the chairperson of the advisory committee or the Chairperson of the Commission.

(b) The committee shall provide technical assistance for the establishment of regulations for ambulance services and make recommendations to the Commission.

16 Del. C. 1953, § 6723; 58 Del. Laws, c. 177; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 75 Del. Laws, c. 239, § 1; 77 Del. Laws, c. 378, § 1.;

(a) Powers of the Commission.

(1) The Commission shall inspect equipment and supplies required of ambulances when it deems such inspection is necessary and shall maintain a record thereof. Upon determination, based upon an inspection, that required supplies or equipment fail to meet the requirements of this chapter or regulations adopted pursuant hereto, the Commission may suspend the permit for the ambulance concerned, until such requirements are met.

(2) Every ambulance shall be equipped with equipment and supplies specified by the Commission.

(3) [Deleted.]

(b) Emergency ambulance licensing and certification.

(1) The Commission shall carry out the licensing and certification activities assumed by the State under this chapter and perform all inspections required by this chapter, filing all records required by law. The Chairperson may issue a temporary certificate and/or permit with or without inspection when the chairperson finds that such will be in the public interest. A temporary certificate and/or permit shall be valid for a period not to exceed 90 days. All renewals must be authorized by the Commission.

(2) The Commission shall adopt regulations specifying operational standards for ambulances. Regulations so adopted shall also require that the interior of the ambulance and the equipment within the ambulance be sanitary and maintained in good working order and sufficient quantities at all times.

(3) Every ambulance, except those specifically excluded from the operation of this chapter, when operated on an emergency mission in this State shall be occupied by at least 1 person who possesses a valid ambulance attendant's certificate from the Commission.

(4) [Deleted.]

16 Del. C. 1953, § 6724; 58 Del. Laws, c. 177; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 73 Del. Laws, c. 176, §§ 2-4.;

(a) A person seeking certification as an ambulance attendant or as an emergency medical technician (EMT) shall apply to the Commission using forms prescribed by the Commission. With the application, the applicant shall submit fingerprints and other necessary information in order to obtain the following:

(1) A report of the individual's entire criminal history record from the State Bureau of Identification or a statement from the State Bureau of Identification that the State Bureau of Identification Central Repository contains no such information relating to that person.

(2) A report of the individual's entire federal criminal history record from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The State Bureau of Identification shall be the intermediary for the purposes of this section and the Commission shall be the screening point for the receipt of said federal criminal history records.

(b) Upon application, the Commission or its governmental designee shall acquire and review the state and federal criminal history records for the applicant and may interview the applicant. If the Commission determines that the applicant meets the requirements of this section and of its regulations, then it shall issue a certificate to the applicant, subject to the following provisions:

(1) Certification must be denied to an applicant convicted of the following crimes:

a. A felony involving sexual misconduct where the victim's failure to affirmatively consent is an element of the crime, such as forcible rape;

b. A felony involving the sexual or physical abuse of a child or of a person who is elderly or impaired, such as sexual misconduct with a child, sexual exploitation of a child, making or distributing child pornography, incest involving a child, or assault on a person who is elderly or impaired;

c. A crime in which the victim is an out-of-hospital patient or a patient or resident of a health care facility, including abuse, neglect or theft from or financial exploitation of a person entrusted to the care or protection of the applicant.

(2) Certification must be denied to an applicant convicted of the following crimes, except in extraordinary circumstances:

a. Any crime for which applicant is currently incarcerated, on work release, on probation, or on parole;

b. A crime in the following categories, unless at least 5 years have passed since the applicant's conviction or at least 5 years have passed since the applicant was released from custodial confinement, whichever occurs later:

1. A serious crime of violence against a person, such as assault with a dangerous weapon, aggravated assault, murder or attempted murder, manslaughter (other than involuntary manslaughter), kidnapping, robbery of any degree, or arson;

2. A crime involving a controlled substance or designer drug, including unlawful possession or distribution of, or intent to unlawfully possess or distribute, a controlled substance in Schedules I through V of the Uniform Controlled Substances Act of Chapter 47 of this title;

3. A serious crime involving property, such as arson, burglary, embezzlement or insurance fraud;

4. Any crime involving sexual misconduct.

(3) In extraordinary circumstances, certification granted pursuant to paragraph (2) of this subsection may be granted only if the applicant establishes by clear and convincing evidence that certification will not jeopardize public health and safety.

(c)(1) Certificates issued pursuant to this section shall be valid for a period as determined by the Commission and may be renewed after reconsideration, which may include an interview, if the holder meets the requirements set forth in the regulations of the Commission. The Commission may decertify any ambulance attendant or EMT at any time it determines that the person no longer meets the qualifications prescribed for certification.

(2) The Commission may extend the suspension of an ambulance attendant or emergency medical technician's certification for a period not to exceed 30 days, if the Commission reviews the charges supporting the suspension of an ambulance attendant or EMT's by an Emergency Medical Services Medical Director pursuant to § 9806(b)(7) of this title and concludes that a Commission hearing should be scheduled to consider the charges.

(d) Information obtained pursuant to subsection (b) of this section is confidential and shall not be disclosed under any circumstances except:

(1) The State Bureau of Identification may release any subsequent criminal history to the Office of Emergency Medical Services or the State Fire Prevention Commission when properly requested; and

(2) All information that has been forwarded to the Commission pursuant to this section shall be reviewed with the person seeking certification pursuant to this section upon his or her request.

(e) Costs associated with obtaining criminal history information pursuant to this section from the State Bureau of Identification and the Federal Bureau of Identification shall be borne by the applicant.

(f) A person seeking certification pursuant to this section who knowingly provides false, incomplete or inaccurate criminal history information, or who otherwise knowingly violates the provisions of this section, shall be guilty of a class G felony and shall be punished according to Chapter 42 of Title 11.

(g) Any student enrolled in the University of Delaware seeking certification as an EMT through the University of Delaware Department of Safety and Homeland Security is exempted from the provisions of subsections (a) and (b) of this section; provided, however, that the criminal history background check and review procedures employed by the University of Delaware Department of Safety and Homeland Security are at least as restrictive as those contained in this section. For the purposes of any criminal history background check or review conducted pursuant to this subsection, the State Bureau of Identification shall be the intermediary and the University of Delaware Department of Safety and Homeland Security shall be the screening point for the receipt of said federal criminal history records.

(h) The Commission shall adopt regulations to implement this section setting forth the qualifications required for certification of ambulance attendants and emergency medical technicians.

73 Del. Laws, c. 176, § 5; 73 Del. Laws, c. 239, § 1; 74 Del. Laws, c. 110, § 138; 75 Del. Laws, c. 54, § 1; 77 Del. Laws, c. 327, § 299; 78 Del. Laws, c. 179, § 234.;

(a) Upon the receipt by the Commission of a court document charging an ambulance attendant or EMT licensed by the Commission with a felony, the Commission shall issue an order temporarily suspending the certificate holder's certificate, pending a final hearing on the complaint. An order of suspension under this section shall remain in effect for a period until such time as a determination of the case of said order.

(b) The certificate holder whose certificate has been temporarily suspended shall be notified forthwith in writing. Notification shall consist of a copy of the complaint and the order of suspension pending a hearing and shall be personally served upon the certificate holder or sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the certificate holder's last known address.

(c) A certificate holder whose certificate has been suspended pursuant to this section may request an expedited hearing. The Commission shall schedule the hearing on an expedited basis provided that the Commission receives the certificate holder's request for an expedited hearing within 15 calendar days from the date on which the certificate holder received notification of the Commission's decision to temporarily suspend the certificate holder's certificate.

(d) As soon as possible, but in no event later than 180 days after the issuance of the order of temporary suspension, the Commission shall convene for a hearing on the complaint. In the event that a certificate holder, in a timely manner, requests an expedited hearing, the Commission shall convene within 15 days of the receipt by the Commission of such a request and shall render a decision within 15 days.

(e) An order of suspension will remain in effect until such time as a determination of the case. Upon a final decision of the Commission, the order of suspension shall be vacated in favor of the disciplinary action ordered by the Commission.

76 Del. Laws, c. 127, § 1.;

The following are exempted from the operation of this chapter:

(1) Privately owned vehicles not ordinarily used in the business of transporting persons who are sick, injured, wounded or otherwise incapacitated or helpless;

(2) A vehicle rendering service as an ambulance in case of a major catastrophe or emergency when the ambulances with permits and based in the locality of the catastrophe or emergency are insufficient to render the services required;

(3) Ambulances based outside the State rendering service in case of a major catastrophe or emergency when the ambulances with permits and based in the locality of the catastrophe or emergency are insufficient to render the services required;

(4) Ambulances owned and operated by an agency of the United States government;

(5) Ambulances based outside the State engaged in interstate transportation.

16 Del. C. 1953, § 6726; 58 Del. Laws, c. 177.;

The registered owner of every vehicle subject to this chapter shall comply with this chapter and all regulations adopted hereunder. For a violation of any regulation adopted under the authority of this chapter, the Commission may revoke or suspend the permit for all vehicles owned or operated by the violator.

16 Del. C. 1953, § 6727; 58 Del. Laws, c. 177.;

Transferred.

Any owner or occupant of any building or premises or any other person who refuses to obey the orders of a fire officer-in-charge in the exercise of the officer's duties shall be fined not more than $300 or imprisoned not more than 10 days.

59 Del. Laws, c. 476, § 3.;

(a) As the responsible agency for the regulation of ambulance services within the State, the Commission shall adopt regulations applicable to ambulance service providers including but not limited to the establishment of ambulance service districts, establishment of operational and administrative requirements and requirements for certification of ambulance service providers. The Commission shall also have the authority to establish a process for certification renewal and shall have the authority to decertify any agency for noncompliance with its regulations.

(b) The Commission may adopt regulations to establish an Incident Review Committee to consider incidents related to ambulance service and all proceedings of the Incident Review Committee shall be confidential. All records of the Incident Review Committee to include the recording of interviews and all oral or written reports, statements, minutes, memoranda, charts, statistics, data and other documentation either generated or received by the Incident Review Committee or its members for the purpose of considering incidents related to ambulance service shall be confidential and privileged and shall be protected from direct or indirect means of discovery, subpoena or admission into evidence in any judicial or administrative proceedings. No record shall be available for public inspection or is it a public record within the meaning of the Delaware Freedom of Information Act.

(c) The Commission shall produce and make available an annual list of certified ambulance service providers. Ambulance service providers not certified will not be eligible to receive state funding, including but not limited to the special fund established pursuant to § 713 of Title 18 and Medicaid payments, and federal funding requiring certification. Nothing in this provision shall be construed to effect the eligibility of BLS agencies to receive state funding related to the operation of a rescue truck.

(d) The Commission shall, in consultation and cooperation with other components of the Delaware EMS system, develop and maintain a contingency plan for uninterrupted provision of service in the event an ambulance service provider is no longer able to provide service within an ambulance service district.

(e) The Commission shall monitor the occurrence of scratches by each ambulance service provider and take action to decertify any ambulance service provider that has excessive scratches. For purposes of this subsection, "scratches" are defined as instances when a BLS ambulance is alerted but does not respond to a call for assistance. For purposes of this subsection, "excessive scratches" shall mean a number of scratches exceeding a preestablished number or percentage for each BLS provider, determined and communicated annually in advance to the provider by the State Fire Prevention Commission.

(f) This section shall not pertain to the operation of paramedic service as outlined in Chapter 98 of this title.

(g) Any person, company or organization that provides ambulance service within the State without being authorized and certified by the State Fire Prevention Commission as an ambulance service provider shall be fined not more than $300 per offense. Each and every day the provision of ambulance service continues after knowledge or official notice that such activity is illegal shall be deemed a separate offense.

71 Del. Laws, c. 49, § 1; 71 Del. Laws, c. 445, § 1; 72 Del. Laws, c. 137, §§ 4, 5; 74 Del. Laws, c. 304, §§ 1, 2.;