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Chapter 35—Fire Department

35.01 Establishment and Purpose
35.02 Organization
35.03 Approved by Council
35.04 Training
35.05 Compensation
35.06 Election of Officers
35.07 Fire Chief: Duties
35.08 Obedience to Fire Chief
35.09 Constitution
35.10 Accidental Injury Insurance
35.11 Liability Insurance
35.12 Calls Outside Fire District
35.13 Mutual Aid
35.14 Authority to Cite Violations


A volunteer fire department is hereby established to prevent and extinguish fires and to protect lives and property against fires, to promote fire prevention and fire safety, and to answer all emergency calls for which there is no other established agency.
(Code of Iowa, Sec. 364.16)


The department consists of the Fire Chief and such other officers and personnel as may be authorized by the Council.
(Code of Iowa, Sec. 372.13[4])


No person having otherwise qualified shall be appointed to the department until such appointment is submitted to and approved by a majority of the Council members.


All members of the department shall meet the minimum training standards established by the State Fire Marshal and attend and actively participate in regular or special training drills or programs as directed by the Fire Chief.
(Code of Iowa, Sec. 100B.2[4])


Members of the department shall be designated by rank and receive such compensation as shall be determined by resolution of the Council.
(Code of Iowa, Sec. 372.13[4])


The department shall elect a Fire Chief and such other officers as its constitution and bylaws may provide, but the election of the Fire Chief shall be subject to the approval of the Council. In case of absence of the Fire Chief, the officer next in rank shall be in charge and have and exercise all the powers of Fire Chief.


The Fire Chief shall perform all duties required of the Fire Chief by law or ordinance, including but not limited to the following:
(Code of Iowa, Sec. 372.13[4])

  1. Enforce Laws. Enforce ordinances and laws regulating fire prevention and the investigation of the cause, origin and circumstances of fires.
  2. Technical Assistance. Upon request, give advice concerning private fire alarm systems, fire extinguishing equipment, fire escapes and exits and development of fire emergency plans.
  3. Authority at Fires. When in charge of a fire scene, direct an operation as necessary to extinguish or control a fire, perform a rescue operation, investigate the existence of a suspected or reported fire, gas leak, or other hazardous condition, or take any other action deemed necessary in the reasonable performance of the department’s duties. (Code of Iowa, Sec. 102.2)
  4. Control of Scenes. Prohibit an individual, vehicle or vessel from approaching a fire scene and remove from the scene any object, vehicle, vessel or individual that may impede or interfere with the operation of the fire department. (Code of Iowa, Sec. 102.2)
  5. Authority to Barricade. When in charge of a fire scene, place or erect ropes, guards, barricades or other obstructions across a street, alley, right-of-way, or private property near the location of the fire or emergency so as to prevent accidents or interference with the fire fighting efforts of the fire department, to control the scene until any required investigation is complete, or to preserve evidence related to the fire or other emergency. (Code of Iowa, Sec. 102.3)
  6. Command. Be charged with the duty of maintaining the efficiency, discipline and control of the fire department. The members of the fire department shall, at all times, be subject to the direction of the Fire Chief.
  7. Property. Exercise and have full control over the disposition of all fire apparatus, tools, equipment and other property used by or belonging to the fire department.
  8. Notification. Whenever death, serious bodily injury, or property damage in excess of two hundred thousand dollars ($200,000) has occurred as a result of a fire, or if arson is suspected, notify the State Fire Marshal’s Division immediately. For all other fires causing an estimated damage of fifty dollars ($50.00) or more or emergency responses by the Fire Department, file a report with the Fire Marshal’s Division within ten (10) days following the end of the month. The report shall indicate all fire incidents occurring and state the name of the owners and occupants of the property at the time of the fire, the value of the property, the estimated total loss to the property, origin of the fire as determined by investigation, and other facts, statistics, and circumstances concerning the fire incidents. (Code of Iowa, Sec. 100.2 & 100.3)
  9. Right of Entry. Have the right, during reasonable hours, to enter any building or premises within the Fire Chief’s jurisdiction for the purpose of making such investigation or inspection which under law or ordinance may be necessary to be made and is reasonably necessary to protect the public health, safety and welfare. (Code of Iowa, Sec. 100.12)
  10. Recommendation. Make such recommendations to owners, occupants, caretakers or managers of buildings necessary to eliminate fire hazards. (Code of Iowa, Sec. 100.13)
  11. Assist State Fire Marshal. At the request of the State Fire Marshal, and as provided by law, aid said marshal in the performance of duties by investigating, preventing and reporting data pertaining to fires. (Code of Iowa, Sec. 100.4)
  12. Records. Cause to be kept records of the fire department personnel, fire fighting equipment, depreciation of all equipment and apparatus, the number of responses to alarms, their cause and location, and an analysis of losses by value, type and location of buildings.
  13. Reports. Compile and submit to the Mayor and Council an annual report of the status and activities of the department as well as such other reports as may be requested by the Mayor or Council.



No person shall willfully fail or refuse to comply with any lawful order or direction of the Fire Chief.


The department shall adopt a constitution and bylaws as they deem calculated to accomplish the object contemplated, and such constitution and bylaws and any change or amendment to such constitution and bylaws before being effective, must be approved by the Council.


The Council shall contract to insure the City against liability for worker’s compensation and against statutory liability for the costs of hospitalization, nursing, and medical attention for volunteer fire fighters injured in the performance of their duties as fire fighters whether within or outside the corporate limits of the City. All volunteer fire fighters shall be covered by the contract.
(Code of Iowa, Sec. 85.2, 85.61 and Sec. 410.18)


The Council shall contract to insure against liability of the City or members of the department for injuries, death or property damage arising out of and resulting from the performance of departmental duties within or outside the corporate limits of the City.
(Code of Iowa, Sec. 670.2 & 517A.1)


The department shall answer calls to fires and other emergencies outside the Fire District if the Fire Chief determines that such emergency exists and that such action will not endanger persons and property within the Fire District.
(Code of Iowa, Sec. 364.4 [2 & 3])


Subject to approval by resolution of the Council, the department may enter into mutual aid agreements with other legally constituted fire departments. Copies of any such agreements shall be filed with the Clerk.
(Code of Iowa, Sec. 364.4 [2 & 3])


Fire officials acting under the authority of Chapter 100 of the Code of Iowa may issue citations in accordance to Chapter 805 of the Code of Iowa, for violations of state and/or local fire safety regulations.
(Code of Iowa, Sec. 100.41)