Fire ordinance upgrades on tap

A project that was initiated by Town Councilor Dan Hurley is connecting all aspects of the town, most recently the council and Plainville Fire Company. Last week, after several months of discussions and changes, the council approved the upgrades made to the town’s fire ordinance, something that has not been done in 30 years.
While the town has made changes and updates throughout the years, the fire ordinance has not had a full, detailed look-through and changes made since 1983.
“We are not 30 years behind the times,” former Fire Chief Ray Swanson said at last week’s council meeting, explaining that the department has updated with the times regarding training and practices. However, he said, the ordinances needed to be realigned with current practices.
Later last year, many town firefighters attended a monthly council meeting to show how much they wanted to be involved in the changing of the fire ordinance. One detail in particular was the elimination of the retirement age of 65-years-old. In the final outcome, members of the Fire Company and Department are to retire by the age of 65, unless appointed to the Fire Police or Support Staff positions. A Fire Police position is an active member who has duties such as traffic control, maintaining order at a fire incident, but has no right to operate any fire department vehicle and apparatus vehicles, other than utility vehicles, as directed by the chief, the ordinance reads.
Some firefighters aren’t ready to retire at 65-years-old, so with the changes in the ordinance they are still active in the company and able to impart education and wisdom among their younger peers, and aren’t participating in activities that may be beyond their physical abilities.
Some other changes to the ordinance included wording and rephrasing of statements, and adding or taking out details of certain sections.
One addition was that each member is to complete all components of the refresher training as required, every two years.  The council unanimously approved the changes to the ordinance, and Hurley said the entire project of looking over each town ordinance for upgrades is nearing completion.
“This was a big one,” he said. “It brings the ordinance up to what we’re doing today.”
Council chair Kathy Pugliese sat on the committee charged with making the changes to the fire ordinance and said “it was a big task” and was handled professionally with attention paid to detail. Those who sat on the committee included members of the council and of the fire company.
The ordinance can be seen on the town’s website (
Also at last week’s council meeting, the schedule for the summer meetings was voted on. The already scheduled meetings this summer will be June 17, July 15, Aug. 19, and Sept. 16. The council will schedule special meetings if needed, and meetings will be posted outside of Town Hall as usual, and also on the towns website.

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