FIRE COMPANY vs. FIRE DISTRICT
A Fire Company is a non-profit corporation which is established pursuant to Title 15 of the New Jersey statutes. This entity has its own certificate of incorporation filed with the Secretary of State. It also has it own bylaws which govern the actions and activities of the members of the organization.
A Fire District is a municipal entity which is established and governed by the laws and statues of New Jersey and are found in New Jersey Statues Annotated Title 40A:14-70 AND 40A:5A et.seq. It is of the utmost importance that the members of the Boards of Fire Commissioners make themselves knowledgeable of and adhere to the principles contained therein. It is a public body corporate which is an autonomous entity separate and distinct from the Fire Company. A Fire District by statute has the obligation to provide fire protection to the residents and taxpayers within the geographical boundaries of the Fire District.
It is important to remember that a member of the Board of Fire Commissioners of a Fire District is an elected public official and must recognize that he or she represents therefore the entirety of the public in making decisions and not just the Fire Company. You must be able to distinguish your role as a firefighter from your role as a Commissioner.
A Fire District and a Fire Company are separate entities with each providing fire protection services to the public. Each has its own officers and its own bylaws. It is important to recognize this distinction in serving as a Commissioner.