- Report Published -
|A Plan for the Inspection of Fire Fighting Vehicles of all Volunteer Fire Departments and Companies|
|Department of Fire Programs; Department of State Police|
|Chapter 717 (, 1991)|
|This report is in response to the mandate contained in Section 46.2-1157 of the Code of Virginia as enacted by the 1991 General Assembly. The Department of Fire Programs and the Superintendent of State Police were directed to develop a plan for the inspection of the payment of the inspection of fire fighting vehicles owned or operated by all volunteer fire departments or companies. Such plan is to be presented to the General Assembly by January 1, 1992.|
A review was made of the inspection rules and regulations by the Superintendent of State Police to determine their applicability to fire fighting vehicles. A determination was made that three exemptions and one addition should be made to the regulations for these vehicles. The exemptions were:
1. Emergency warning lights should not be inspected on fire fighting vehicles manufactured prior to January 1, 1992.
2. Fire fighting vehicles should be allowed to be equipped with interior map lights that exceed 15 candlepower.
3. Gutter lights on tiller steered vehicles should not be inspected.
It was also determined that windshield wipers on the forward facing windshields of tiller steered vehicles should be subject to the same inspection requirements as other windshield wiper systems.
The Departments of Fire Programs and State Police caused an AD-Hoc Committee to be appointed to study the inspection of these vehicles. The Ad-Hoc Committee was made up of representatives of paid and volunteer fire departments and companies and a representative of the Department of State Police.
The Committee reviewed current inspection rules and regulations, a report of the National Transportation Safety Board concerning accidents involving fire fighting vehicles, and the mandate of the General Assembly. They scheduled public hearings at eight locations throughout the State and prepared an information packet to be distributed during the public hearings.
Public hearings were held at the selected locations beginning on August 26, 1991 in Norton, Virginia and concluding on October 17, 1991 in Fairfax, Virginia.
Public hearings were attended by 172 persons. All of those attending were members of paid or volunteer fire departments or companies. No opposition was voiced during any of the public hearings to the requirements that fire fighting vehicles be subject to safety inspection.
Comments were made concerning cost to rural volunteer organizations to update their vehicles to inspection standards.
Without exception, all agreed that volunteer and paid departments should be treated the same in regards to the requirement that their vehicles be safety inspected.
The Ad-Hoc Committee, after careful consideration of their study and comments made during the public hearings, recommended to the Department of Fire Programs and the Superintendent of State Police that fire fighting vehicles owned and operated by members of all volunteer fire departments and companies be subject to the same inspection requirements as paid fire departments.
This plan as submitted by the Department of Fire Programs and the Superintendent of State Police recommends the following plan:
Fire fighting vehicles owned or operated by fire departments or companies made up exclusively of all volunteers shall, effective July 1, 1992, be submitted to an official inspection station for inspection of their safety components and any such defects found shall be corrected before such vehicles shall be operated upon the highways of the Commonwealth.
Fire fighting vehicles shall be inspected in accordance with the rules and regulations as promulgated by the Superintendent expect as listed in this report.
Volunteer fire departments or companies may enter into written agreements with governmental entities for the inspection of their fire fighting vehicles.
The Department of Fire Programs and the Fire Services Board will provide training in the Development and operation of preventive maintenance programs to those fire departments or companies that do not have such programs in place.
fire departments and companies made up exclusively of all volunteers, and those that do not receive financial support from the local governmental entity in which they are located, may utilize funds provided by the Department of Fire Programs for the payment of inspection fees provided by statute.
The General Assembly is encouraged to establish an emergency fund to be administered by the Department of Fire Programs for emergency repair of volunteer fire departments' or companies' vehicles deemed defective or inadequate by inspection criteria.