In 1954, the Wake County Board of Commissioners created the Wake County Fire Districts Commission. This was the first group to govern the new rural-serving volunteer fire departments that were being organized in the county. Below is the resolution that created the group, from county minutes. View those minutes on this site.
September 7, 1954
WHEREAS, by G.S. Section 153.9 (39) the Board of County Commissioners of Wake County is authorized and empowered to provide for the organization, equipment, maintenance and the governing of fire companies; and
WHERAS, the Board of Commissioners of Wake County is of the opinion and have found and determined that it is for the best interest and necessary for the protection of the citizens of said County and their property to encourage and financially aid in the equipment, the maintenance and government of volunteer fire departments in said County for the protection of the public school buildings and farm buildings, and to establish a protective fire fighting organization for the purpose of civil defense; and
WHEREAS, certain fire departments, as specified in the fire districts of Wake County, meet the qualifications and regulations as outlined in this resolution and will, therefore, be established as fire districts under the minimum qualifications as specified by the North Carolina Fire Insurance Rating Bureau;
NOW, THEREFORE, be it resolved for the purpose of carrying out the terms and provisions of this resolution a Commission be and it is hereby created known as the “Wake County Fire Districts Commission” to be composed of three members – one member appointed from the Board of County Commissioners to be known as Fire Commissioner; the Wake County Civil Defense Director or his designated representative; a Fire Chief from the volunteer department serving rural people in Wake County. This Board to be appointed for a period of one (1) year, except member from Board of Commissioners may be appointed to serve until December 1, 1954. The Fire Commissioner shall be Chairman of the said Board, and one of the other members Secretary. The duties and powers of this Board as specified in this resolution; and all reports made to the Wake County Commissioners.
(A} When any volunteer department of a fire district shall make application to the Board of County Commissioners of Wake County to receive financial aid from said county under this resolution, the said Commission shall inspect the said Fire Department, its equipment, personnel, and organization, method of operation, and shall file written report to the said Board of County Commissioners signifying whether or not such volunteer department meets the minimum requirements and specifications therein referred to, which specifications are made a part of this resolution and are taken from the minimum requirements of the North Carolina Insurance Rating Bureau;
(B) The said Commission will make annual inspection to determine if said fire departments are continuing to meet the minimum standards as specified, and shall notify the Board of County Commissioners and the fire Insurance Rating Bureau as outlined here-under; continuing failure, as outlined, will terminate the financial agreement or support of Wake County. Said Commission, shall, from time to time, review the specifications as set out in this resolution, and shall recommend to the Board of County Commissioners any amendments or changes which the said Commission may deem advisable.
Section 1. The County Fire Commissioner shall have supervision over all paid members of the Wake County Fire Departments and will be responsible for the type of equipment, personnel, and, in turn, submitting the yearly budget with substantiating records of the activity of this department. The Board of Commissioners will cooperate with all fire departments in the field of fire prevention.
Section 2. The Wake County Commissioners will appoint or employ a county Fire Chief at any time they deem necessary at a salary to be designated by them and purchase equipment needed in carrying out his duties;
Section 3. The County Commissioners will appoint the Fire Commissioner a trustee of the Wake County Firemen’s. Relief Fund/as specified by the North Carolina Firemen’s Relief Fund. The County Commissioners shall also appoint a second member to the Board of trustees as specified by the North Carolina Firemen’s Relief Fund who shall offer general advice and support to this organization. The Wake County Commissioners shall appoint the County Accountant as Treasurer of this fund. The Trustees shall be allowed to carry out their duties as specified in the law creating the North Carolina Firemen’s Relief Fund. The Fire Commissioner and members of the Commission shall serve without pay, but the Fire Commissioner will be reimbursed at the rate of seven cents a mile on all trips pertaining to inspection, investigation, prevention and promotion of fire safety up to $100.00 a year;
Section 4. In view of the Wake County Volunteer Fire Departments carrying out the standards as specified therein, Wake County will, upon compliance with the provisions of this resolution, offer financial aid for the general maintenance and operation of fire departments. No individual volunteer shall receive any remuneration for fire fighting under these benefits. A monthly fee shall be payable on or before the fifth of each month in the sum of $100.00 to each department complying with the following minimum standards.
(A) Each department receiving any funds from Wake County must carry liability insurance on its firemen and equipment, leaving the county free from any responsibility for damages or claims arising out of the maintenance and operation of said fire department;
(A-1) If any Fire Department does not meet the minimum standard as set forth, the monthly payments will be withheld under the following procedure;
(B) In making an inspection, if deficiencies are found, the Fire Commissioner must notify the Fire Chief and at least two (2) members of the corporation of the local department in writing, by registered mail, and a time 1imit of fifteen (15) days will be allowed to correct such deficiencies;
(C) A second inspection must be made after a period of fifteen (15) days to determine if these deficiencies have been corrected. If not, the benefits herein provided will be discontinued and the Fire Commissioner will notify the North Carolina Fire Insurance Rating Bureau as to the conditions that exist in the said community and fire department, for whatever action they may deem necessary in regard to fire insurance or reductions;
(D) Each Fire Department must have a Fire Chief and other necessary officers and men as needed to properly maintain equipment and fight fires;
(E) Each department must have a minimum of ten (10) active members; a list of all members with the addresses and telephone numbers must be given to the Fire Commissioner in July of each year;
(F) All departments are required to carry out an organized training program as approved and attached by the Wake County Volunteer Fire Association, and each Fire Chief shall keep a record on all written examinations of each member in good standing;
(G) Each department must participate in one drill per month, and the fire truck shall be driven a minimum of ten miles per month;
(H) Each fire department must be incorporated under the laws of the State of North Carolina;
(I) Each department must have a traffic department and at least one captain and three members. These men should be trained in the handling of traffic, and if possible, along with members of the fire department should be given a basic course of Red Cross First Aid;
(J} No one but members of the fire department shall ride the fire truck when they are on fire call;
(K) Only drivers approved by the 1ocal fire chief shall drive fire trucks. These drivers should be listed with the membership of the department;
(L) All Fire Chiefs are responsible to keep adequate and accurate records of all calls and all fires. A regulation fire record book will be furnished by the Wake County Fire Commissioner upon request. The Fire Chief will also be responsible for filing with the Fire Commissioner any additional reports which are required either locally or by the Fire Insurance Rating Bureau;
(M) Fire truck drivers shall drive with caution, keeping the truck under control at all times, and it will be the responsibility of the Fire Chief to stress “Safety” throughout the department, especially the firemen driving their own automobiles to the scene of the fire, and also conduct attending the fires;
(N) All recognized members of good standing in each department should have some identification such as a card, badge, hat or car plate to identify them that they are “bona fide” firemen. No one other than “bona fide” firemen.·, in good standing should be allowed these identifications in any community;
(O) A telephone should be available at all times during the day and night to receive the alarms and notify members of the Fire Department. Each member of the fire department should be furnished with a copy of the names and telephone numbers of all members and all departments within the County;
(P) It is especially recommended that an electric siren be mounted within the community for the notification of all firemen and preferably installed so that it can be operated from a public place;
(Q) The Fire Departments shall, be mutual agreement, decide on the area in which they will give basic fire protection, and within which they will solicit funds. Any difference of opinion on area shall be decided by the Directors of the Wake County Volunteer Firemen’s Association, with a final appeal to the Fire Commissioner;
(R) Each department shall give full cooperation to other departments in case of fire;
(S) Each department will be expected to respond to the call of the County Fire Chief or Fire Commissioner or members of this Department when and where needed. The Fire Chief in the area where the fire is being fought will be in charge of the members and equipment from other departments responding to calls for assistance. The Fire Chief acting for a local department is the final authority as to the range of its fighting equipment, upon calls from other districts for assistance.
(T) Each Fire Chief, or associate, will make full investigation of each fire to determine, if possible, the cause. If any evidence of arson is suspected, the Wake County Fire Commissioner shall be notified immediately and also other proper authorities.
(U) All carelessly-set grass or brush fires shall be handled in the discretion of the local fire chief;
(V) Each department shall have the following minimum equipment as GRADE A COMMUNITIES, and this equipment shall be kept in good condition at all times and operative at all times, barring accidents or acts of God. Wake county fire commissioner will accept any minor deviations from this equipment which is allowed within the discretion of the North Carolina Fire Insurance Rating Bureau;
- One or more motorized fire trucks equipped with a water tank of 200 to 500 gallons capacity and a pump with a capacity of at least 60 gallons per minute against not less than 100 pounds when taking suction from tank.
- Two reels, each with 200ft. of 3/4-inch rubber hose, kept connected to water tank with suitable nozzle attached.
- Two combination spray (fog type) and straight stream nozzles or one spray (fog type) and one straight stream nozzle. Nozzles should be of the shut-off type and of a size suitable for above mentioned hose.
- One 24 foot extension ladder
- One 12-foot roof ladder
- Four 5-gal. hand pump tanks (knapsack type)
- One 2 1/2 gallon foam extinguisher or the equivalent, suitable for oil fires
- One 10-foot pike pole
- One axe
- Two small extinguishers suitable for electrical fires
- One claw tool
- One crowbar
- 100 feet 5/8-inch manila rope
- Two lanterns
- Four 12-quart buckets
- Two scoop shovels, spades or bell mouth shovels
When a portable pump is used, it should have a capacity of not less than 200 gallons per minute at a pressure suitable to the terrain of the community but not less than 100 pounds per square inch and the following minimum equipment for use in connection with the pump;
- Two 1 1/2-inch combination spray (fog type) and straight stream nozzles or one 1 1/2-inch spray (fog Type) and one straight stream nozzles. Nozzles should be of the shut-off type.
- Two 10-foot sections of suitable hard rubber suction hose with strainer
- 500 feet of 1 1/2-inch cotton, rubber-lined hose.
- Six spanner wrenches.
- Appropriate male and female connectors and reducers for use with other hose and apparatus.
Section 5· It will be necessary for each department qualifying under this resolution as a Wake County Fire District and the volunteer fire department offering service, that a copy of this resolution must be signed by the President of the Corporation, treasurer of the corporation, and the Fire Chief of the department, and that all other agreements previously made will be concluded and ended as of that date;
Section 6. When and if the said fire departments operating within specified fire districts have been investigated and meet the minimum requirements of the North Carolina Fire Insurance Rating Bureau,* each fire district will be so designated as a fire District on the Minutes of the Board of County Commissioners showing date of the establishment of said Fire District.
* Organized fire departments that have obligated themselves to serve a larger area than a radius of three miles will be allowed to do so until sufficient number of fire departments are organized.