Southwestern NH District Fire Mutual Aid By-Laws
Updated – April 22, 2015
BY-LAWS OF THE
SOUTHWESTERN NEW HAMPSHIRE DISTRICT FIRE MUTUAL AID SYSTEM
April 18, 2015
Article I Seal
The seal of this corporation shall be circular in form with the words “Southwestern New Hampshire
District” and “Incorporated 1958” around the periphery and the words “Fire Mutual Aid System” within.
Article II Members’ Meetings
The Annual meeting of the members shall be held at such date and time as shall be determined by the
President and Secretary. At such meeting, they shall elect a Board of Directors and shall transact such other
business as may come before the meeting. Notice of the annual meeting shall be given in writing to each
delegate at least ten days before the annual meeting and may be signed by the President or the Secretary. The Officers and Directors shall meet at least fourteen days previous to the annual meeting.
Special meetings of the members shall be called by the President at any time for any purpose upon
the written request of a majority of the Directors, or of one-fourth of the voting members, or upon resolution of the Board of Directors, which request or resolution shall state the purpose or purposes of such meeting. Upon the filing of such request, or upon the adoption of such a resolution, written notice setting forth the
time and place of such special meeting and the general nature of the business to be considered thereat, shall
be given by the President or Secretary to each delegate at least five days before the meeting. No business other than that stated in the notice thereof shall be considered or transacted at any special meeting.
As provided by law, the delegate representing each Full Dispatched Member’s department shall be the Chief of its department, or such alternate as the chief may designate.
At meetings of the members, fifteen delegates representing the dispatched members shall constitute a
quorum for the transaction of business, each delegate being entitled to one vote. Delegates, or designated alternates, may be represented by proxy in writing at all meetings, and written proxies shall be counted in
determining the presence of a quorum. Non-dispatched member delegates may attend meetings, without vote.
At annual meetings of the members, the order of business shall be as follows:
A. Message of welcome by the President
B. Roll call by the Secretary
C. Introduction of guests;
D. Minutes of last meeting by the Secretary
E. Treasurer’s report
F. Old business
G. Report of the Nominating Committee
H. Election of Board of Directors for the ensuing year
I. New business
J. Reports of Special Committees
K. Suggestions for the good and welfare of the organization
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Article III Board of Directors
The affairs of the corporation shall be managed by a Board of Directors of twelve members. Eleven
members shall be elected, and have full voting powers. The Chief Coordinator shall serve in an advisory role, with no voting privileges.
Members of the Board of Directors shall be elected for a three year term. A member of the dispatch staff shall be allowed to serve on the Board of Directors but they shall abstain from all business which is a conflict of interest. The employee shall be elected to the Board by the membership.
Five members of the Board of Directors shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of any business.
Meetings of the Board of Directors shall be held at such time and place as shall be fixed from time to
time by resolution of the Board and without further notice thereof. Special meetings of the Board may be called upon like notice to the President on five days notice to each Director, and shall be called upon like
notice to the President’ on written request of five directors. Special meetings of the Board may be held at any
time and place without previous notice if all the elected Directors are actually present, and at such meetings
any and all Board action may be taken. Vacancies in the Board, however occurring, shall be filled by the
remaining Directors for the unexpired term, or until the election of a Director to fill the vacancy at the
member’s next Annual Meeting. The Board of Directors may exercise any and all powers of the corporation
not required by law or these By-laws to be exercised by the members. Amendments to these By-laws shall be introduced to the Board of Directors at their meeting, and at least fourteen days prior to the meeting at which time said amendments will be voted on by the member delegates. So far as reasonably possible, the Board of
Directors shall be chosen in such a manner that all geographical sections of the system shall have representation on the Board.
The Officers of the Corporation, also known as the Executive Committee shall consist of full
dispatched members and shall extended to full dispatched members who have retired from their agency. The Officers of the Corporation shall consist of the President, Vice-President, Secretary, and Treasurer who shall
be elected by the Board of Directors and shall perform the duties prescribed by the Fire Control Dispatch
Center Plan and such further duties as may be prescribed from time to time by the Board of Directors. The
Executive Committee first elected by the Board of Directors shall serve until the Annual Meeting of the
Board next following their election. The Executive Committee shall thereafter be elected by the Board of Directors at their Annual Meeting and shall hold office for one year or until their successor is elected. The Executive Committee shall be responsible to the Board of Directors.
The Executive Committee shall appoint the Chief Coordinator who shall be a person qualified by
experience in the fire service to perform the duties prescribed by the Fire Control Dispatch Center Plan, and shall fix his compensation as well as that of all employees. The Chief Coordinator shall be appointed for an indefinite term and shall not be removed from office except for good cause shown after a hearing before and determination by the Board of Directors.
Article V Duties of Officers
The President shall preside at all the meetings of the Board of Directors and the members, and shall
have general care and charge of the business and affairs of the corporation, as may be authorized by the Board of Directors, and shall do and perform such additional duties as shall be ordered by the Board of Directors.
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In the absence or inability to act of the President, Vice President shall be vested with all the powers and perform such additional duties as shall be ordered by the Board of Directors.
The Secretary shall attend all meetings of the members and of the directors and shall keep full, true and accurate records in the record books of the corporation of all business transacted at such meetings and
shall discharge all other duties properly pertaining to this office. The Secretary shall have custody of the record books of the corporation. In the absence or inability to act of the Secretary, a temporary Secretary
shall be chosen to act in his place. In the absence or inability to act of the President and Vice President, the
Secretary shall be vested with all powers and perform such additional duties as shall be ordered by the Board of Directors.
The Treasurer, subject to the supervision of the Board of Directors, shall have charge of the financial
affairs of the corporation and of its monies. The Treasurer shall keep or cause to be kept accounts of the
corporation in suitable books and shall disburse money only upon approval of the President or vote of the
Board of Directors. In the absence or inability to act of the President, Vice President and Secretary, the
Treasurer shall be vested with all the powers and perform such additional duties as shall be ordered by the Board of Directors.
The Chief Coordinator shall be the chief, administrative and executive officer, serving as advisor to
the President and Board of Directors. The Chief Coordinator shall have all of the rights and privileges
associated with the rank of a Chief Officer, including the authority to wear a fire service uniform appropriate
to the rank of a five trumpet fire chief; to respond to incidents in the Mutual Aid System, using a vehicle
with customary emergency signaling devices, with attendance at said incidents to be only for the purpose of being available for advisory or consultation purposes when required.
As the Chief Coordinator shall be a non-voting member of the Board of Directors; and will attend all meetings of the Board, the Executive Committee and any other committees at which the services of the Chief Coordinator would be of value.
The Chief Coordinator shall be responsible for administration of the program of work in accordance
with the policies and regulations of the Board of Directors. The Chief Coordinator shall be responsible for hiring, discharging, directing, and supervising all employees. With the cooperation of a finance committee, the Chief Coordinator shall be responsible for the preparation of an operating budget covering all activities of the system, subject to the approval of the Board of Directors. The Chief Coordinator shall be responsible
for all expenditures within approved budget allocations of the annual operating budget and may disburse
monies within these limits, and in this capacity shall be identified as a Deputy treasurer of the corporation.
Any expenditure in the excess of an amount determined by the Board of Directors shall require prior approval of the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors.
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Article VI Committees and their Duties
The President shall annually appoint an auditing committee of two. The Auditing Committee shall
audit the books of the Treasurer just prior to the next annual meeting of the members and report its findings at that meeting.
The President shall appoint a nominating committee of three to prepare a slate of officers for the ensuing year to be acted upon at the next annual meeting of the members and Directors.
The President shall also annually appoint a fiscal committee to prepare a proposed budget and a
planning committee to study the future of the system, and such other special committees as the President deems necessary.
Article VII Dues and assessments
The dues and assessments to be charged against members for the ensuing year shall be set annually
by the Board of Directors. Pursuant to this requirement, the Board of Directors shall present a proposed
budget in the month of October and finalize the annual budget by November 30th. After such date members
may contact the Chief Coordinator or their designee for their amount of dues and assessments for the ensuing year prior to the time when warrants for annual town meetings are customarily posted, so that the request for necessary appropriations may be included therein.
Article VIII Duties of Members
It shall be the duty of the members, acting through their respective fire departments, when called by
the Dispatch Center of this corporation, to donate the aid requested by the Dispatch Center to the town or
area which as requested such aid and to conform in all other respects to the plan or plans for coordinating the services of all fire departments belonging to the corporation as established from time to time by the Board of
Directors. It is understood that the authority vested in the chief of the department requesting the assistance shall prevail and that all assisting departments shall be under their jurisdiction or that of their senior officer
present at the fire. It is also understood that these obligations may be waived when local equipment is already
engaged within the locality and cannot be spared at the time of the request. It is also understood that these obligation shall not alter any previous commitments made by members to other towns, cities or districts in
regard to financial reimbursement for fire protection. The members agree to keep the Dispatch Center constantly advised of the kinds and number of equipment available and of charges in equipment. The
members further agree that all requests for assistance will be made to the Dispatch Center and not directly to other members and that all dispatching of mutual aid assistance will be handled from said Center.
Private fire departments located within the State, in view of the legal limitations on their obligations
to respond to fires, shall be associate members, entitled to the benefits of membership, and subject to such
arrangements for responding to fires and shall be mutually agreed upon between them and the Board of Directors.
Article VIII-A Non-Resident Associates
Non-resident fire departments of municipalities and private fire departments situated in the States of Vermont and Massachusetts in the area the boundaries of this mutual aid system may be associated with this
corporation in the development and execution of plans for co-ordination of fire fighting services and are
entitled to the benefits of membership, on such terms as may be mutually agreed upon between them and the Board of Directors.
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Article VIII-B Dispatched and Non-Dispatched Members
Membership in the Southwestern New Hampshire District Fire Mutual Aid System is currently in two
classes, Dispatched Members and Non-Dispatched Members. The terms and conditions pertaining to Non-
Dispatched Members who are in the category as of December 31, 2014 will continue, however, on January 1, 2015, no new Non-Dispatched Members will be accepted in the System.
The terms and conditions of Dispatched Membership are as follows:
A. Dispatched Members are assessed for services based on the following formula:
10% of the annual budget is divided equally among all dispatched members;
40% of the annual budget is divided proportionately among all dispatched members based on the
equalized property value of the town;
50% of the annual budget is divided proportionately among all dispatched members based on the
latest population count available from the town or state. The Board of Directors may assess additional fees as necessary.
The Board of Directors may assess additional fees as necessary.
B. Dispatched Members receive the following services:
1. Taking initial call. 2. Toning of pagers.
3. Activating fire alarm, if necessary. 4. Announcing of incident.
5. Conduct all emergency communication traffic. 6. Activate running card.
7. Record all phone and radio information.
8. Maintain electronic records, including times, of all incidents. 9. Monitoring all calls on primary frequencies. 10. Guarantee mutual aid requests.
11. Conducting communications of service calls. 12. Offer radio repair services.
13. Test toning on either a scheduled basis or on request.
Dispatched Members are full members of the System, having the obligations and privileges of
membership as described in these By-Laws and as enumerated in subparagraphs A and B above.
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The terms and conditions of Non-Dispatched Membership for the municipalities who are in
that category as of December 31, 2014 are as follows:
A. Non-Dispatched Members are assessed flat rate membership dues.
B. Non-Dispatched Members are assessed a minimum rate established by Board of Directors
C. Non-Dispatched Members receive the following services that include but are not limited to:
1. 2. 3. 4.
Tone pagers and fire alarms of towns in our System for mutual aid. Maintain electronic records, including times, of all incidents. Monitor all calls on primary frequencies.
Conducting communications of service calls
Offer radio repair services. Activate running cards.
D. Non-Dispatched Members operate on their own primary frequency. The dispatch frequencies of
154.430, 154.445, and 159.450 may be used when requesting or responding to mutual aid calls.
E. Non-Dispatched Members may receive regular notice, attend and address meetings of this
corporation, but will not be entitled to vote.
Any municipality may apply for Membership in Southwestern New Hampshire District Fire
Mutual Aid System. Any request for membership, or any request for change in status of membership from any current Non-Dispatched Member to become a Dispatched Member should be directed to the
President. The matter will then be placed on the agenda for a regular meeting of the Board of
Directors. The Board shall consider any such applications as it see fit in the best interest of the
System and its membership, and notify the applicant municipality. The final determination on any
application for membership in the System or change in status of membership shall rest soley with the Board of Directors pursuant to RSA 154:30.
Any municipality may withdraw from the System provided that 90 days written notice is
given to the Chief Coordinator or President of the Board advising of the municipality’s intent to
withdraw. Provided further that a withdrawing municipality will be responsible for its share of the
budgeted appropriations for the calendar year during which the withdrawal takes place. In the event a
withdrawing municipality gives notice of intent to withdraw on or before September 30 of any year,
that municipality’s share will not be considered in the budgetary process of the following calendar year.
In the event a municipality withdraws from the System, and wishes to rejoin, the municipality
must wait for two years from the date of withdrawal to have its application for readmission as a member considered.
Article IX Vacancies in Office
If, by reason of death, resignation, disqualified or otherwise, any office shall become vacant, the Board of Directors may appoint a person to act in their place during such absence or disability.
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Article X Coordination
It shall be the duty of the Officers and Directors of Southwestern New Hampshire District Fire
Mutual Aid System to coordinate the services of all municipalities and fire departments belonging to it, so as to provide better and more efficient cooperation in the protection of life and property within the area which it
comprises and toward this end shall cooperate with other state agencies and local emergency management authorities.
Article XI Restitution
Any member may, if it is so desired, request of a member it is dispatched to assist, replacement for
foam, wet-water, etc., and other expended materials. Each member department shall secure adequate
collision insurance coverage to provide restitution to itself for equipment damaged while dispatched to assist
another member; and protection for itself and the assisted member against liability for personal injuries or
property damage incurred by any person or persons while the requested member is dispatched to assist another member.
Article XII Removal or withdrawal from membership
Any member department, whether Dispatched or Non-Dispatched, may be removed from
membership of this corporation for violation of these By-laws. A member violating these By-laws shall be removed only after a hearing before the Officers and Directors and by vote of the Board.
Any member may, by vote of its governing board, withdraw from the system but such withdrawal
shall not be effective until 90 days after written notice of such withdrawal shall have been delivered to one of the officers of the System. Upon termination of membership, whether do to a violation of these By-Laws, or
by vote of the member’s governing board, the obligations and benefits of the withdrawing member shall cease.
Article XIII By-law amendments or changes
These By-laws may be amended, altered, or repealed by a majority vote at any annual meeting of the members or any special meeting of the members called for the purpose; provided however, that the changes
shall be reviewed by the Board of Directors at least fourteen days previous to such special or annual meeting,
and that notice of such special meeting shall contain a statement of the proposed amendment or action to be taken.
Article XIV Private Alarm Systems
No alarm systems may be connected from any home or business to the Dispatch Center by public or
private telephone or by any other means without the approval of the Chief Coordinator or the Board of
Directors. Notification of any new alarm installation or removal will be provided to the authority having
jurisdiction. Refusal by anyone to disconnect upon request will result in prosecution to the full extent of the applicable state or local law.
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Article XV Tone encoders
No tone encoders used for the purpose of paging or alerting or for any other purpose shall be
permitted on fire frequencies 154.430, 154.385, 154.445, 155.220, 155.265, 159.45, 155.715, and 33.78 Mhz
except those utilized by the Dispatch Center, Chief Coordinator, or by express written permission of the Board of Directors.
Article XVI Communications
No radios (portable, mobile or base) will be equipped with frequencies assigned to the Southwestern New Hampshire District Fire Mutual Aid System, without the written permission of the local fire chief and must be properly licensed. A copy of this permission will be mailed to the Chief Coordinator and kept with
the department’s file. It will be the responsibility of the local authority to enforce proper use of the radios and for assigning call signs based on guidelines established by the Chief Coordinator and Board of Directors.
Forest Fire Wardens and their deputies will be assigned frequencies upon written request from their
communities, and will be responsible to the Chief Coordinator and Board of Directors for their use. The
Chief Coordinator shall be responsible for enforcement of these requirements and granting permission beyond these guidelines. All communications will be within the standards of the F.C.C.
Article XVII Radio Designators
The following list of defined apparatus and their radio designators is the approved method of naming
apparatus for departments in the system. Multiple units of the same type within a department shall be
numbered consecutively (i.e., Engine 1, Engine 2, Engine 3, or Rescue 1, Rescue 2). Any deviation from these designators must be pre-approved by the Chief Coordinator.
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Engine Designator = Engine Any apparatus whose primary purpose is a fire attack pumper
Tanker Designator = Tanker A vehicle used primarily for hauling water, with or without a fixed
pump, carrying at least 1500 gallons of water with the ability to
dump water at a rate of at least 1000 gpm
Aerial Ladder Designator = Ladder Any aerial ladder with an NFPA complement of ground ladders
Tower Ladder Designator = Tower A fire attack aerial platform unit (includes snorkels)
Hose Truck Designator = Hose Any piece of apparatus whose primary purpose is to supply
LDH, and which carries a minimum of 2000′ of hose
Brush Truck Designator = Brush Any vehicle which is primarily used in grass, brush or forest fire
Ambulance Designator = A A unit designed and licensed to transport patients, with or
without a medic on board
Rescue Designator = Rescue Any vehicle used for extrication, technical rescue or non-
transport EMS unit
Squad Designator = Squad Any department vehicle used to transport personnel or to
support EMS services
Utility Designator = U Any fire department vehicle not categorized by another letter
designation, used to support fire services
Watercraft Designator = Boat Any watercraft operated by a member department
Command Vehicle – Staff Car Designator = Car Any vehicle used primarily for transporting personnel,
communications equipment, and not operated by an officer
Any non-fire department units authorized to operate
on the fire department frequency shall use their
normal unit ID preceded by their community name.
Specialized Units Designator = Plain English “37 Rescue 1 responding with the off road vehicle”
“KCF-415 from Fitzwilliam Highway 1”
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MAC = Mutual Aid chief
MAR = Mutual Aid Radio Repair Technician
Dispatcher = Any SWNHDFMA Communications Specialist
C = Any fire officer having command authority holding
the rank of Lieutenant or greater.
O = Any officer or personnel with rank of Captain or
below, as determined by the local department
K = A staff position, regardless of rank
AC = Ambulance officer
AP = Ambulance personnel
RC = Rescue officer
RP = Rescue personnel
DP = Dive team personnel
Medic = A licensed paramedic (a person, not a vehicle)
W = Any individual designated by the State as a Forest
Fire Warden or Deputy Warden
Portable = Limited to those occasions when the radio is being
used by someone who does not have another radio
Article XVIII Emergency and Non-Emergency Operational Guidelines
All members belonging to SWNHDFMA shall adopt an accountability system which compliments that of the dispatch center.
(Accountability is a critical element in the safety of all firefighters working on the fire ground.
The purpose of the accountability system is to establish a coordinated system of monitoring and tracking personnel, and to enable the Incident Commander to identify, locate and account for the functions of all personnel operating on the scene. It also allows for a quick determination of what
personnel may be in trouble and missing by virtue of unclaimed tags at the incident scene. Lastly, it assists with the decision-making process by making evident how many members are in staging and available for additional tasks).
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