Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 27. Fire Protection
Subtitle .
Chapter 1. General Provisions
7/15/2024

Chapter 1. General Provisions.

§ 27-1. Firefighters and equipment may in emergencies go or be sent beyond territorial limits.

Whenever the necessity arises during any actual or potential emergency resulting from fire, personal injury, or other public disaster, the firefighters of any county, city, or town may, together with all necessary equipment, lawfully go or be sent beyond the territorial limits of such county, city, or town to any point within or without the Commonwealth, to assist in meeting such emergency.

In such event, the acts performed for such purpose by such firefighters and the expenditures made for such purpose by such county, city, or town shall be deemed conclusively to be for a public and governmental purpose and all of the immunities from liability enjoyed by a county, city, or town when acting through its firefighters for a public or governmental purpose within its territorial limits shall be enjoyed by it to the same extent when such county, city, or town is so acting, under this section or under other lawful authority, beyond its territorial limits.

The firefighters of any county, city, or town, when acting hereunder, or under other lawful authority, beyond the territorial limits of such county, city, or town, shall have all the immunities from liability and exemptions from laws, ordinances, and regulations, and shall have all of the pension, relief, disability, workers' compensation, and other benefits, enjoyed by them while performing their respective duties.

1942, p. 376; Michie Code 1942, § 3032c; 1966, c. 134; 1977, c. 326; 1995, c. 461; 2015, cc. 502, 503.

§ 27-2. Contracts of cities or towns to furnish fire protection.

The governing body of any city or town may, in its discretion, authorize or require the fire department or division thereof to render aid in cases of actual or potential fire occurring beyond their limits, and may prescribe the conditions on which such aid may be rendered, and may enter into a contract, or contracts, with nearby, adjacent or adjoining counties and cities, within or without the Commonwealth, including the District of Columbia, for rendering aid in fire protection in such counties, cities, or any district, or sanitary district thereof or in the District of Columbia, on such terms as may be agreed upon by such governing body and the governing body of the District of Columbia or of such counties or cities or district, including sanitary districts, provided that each of the parties to such agreement may contract as follows: (i) waive any and all claims against all the other parties thereto which may arise out of their activities outside their respective jurisdictions under such agreement; (ii) indemnify and save harmless the other parties to such agreement from all claims by third parties for property damage or personal injury that may arise out of the activities of the other parties to such agreement outside their respective jurisdictions under such agreement. When the fire department or division of any city or town is operating under such permission or contract, or contracts, on any call beyond the corporate limits of the city or town, it shall be deemed to be operating in a governmental capacity and subject only to such liability for injuries as it would be if it were operating within the corporate limits of such city or town.

Code 1919, § 3033; 1938, p. 576; 1966, c. 134; 1968, c. 801; 1995, c. 461; 2015, cc. 502, 503.

§ 27-2.1. Contracts for fire protection for federal and state property.

Any county, city, or town may contract with the federal or state government to provide fire service to federal or state property located within or without the boundaries of the county, city, or town.

In the absence of a written contract, any acts performed and all expenditures made by a county, city, or town in providing fire protection to property owned by the federal government shall be deemed conclusively to be for a public and governmental purpose and all of the immunities from liability enjoyed by a county, city, or town when acting through its firefighters for a public or governmental purpose within or without its territorial limits shall be enjoyed by it to the same extent when such county, city, or town is so acting, under the provisions of this section, or under other lawful authority.

The firefighters of any county, city, or town when acting hereunder, or under other lawful authority, shall have all of the immunities from liability and exemptions from laws, ordinances, and regulations and shall have all of the pension, relief, disability, workers' compensation, and other benefits enjoyed by them while performing their respective duties.

The amount of compensation to the county, city, or town pursuant to the contract shall be a matter within the sole discretion of the governing body of the county, city, or town.

1980, c. 729; 1995, c. 461; 2015, cc. 502, 503.

§ 27-3. Contract of county with city or another county for fire protection.

The governing body of any county adjoining or near any city, town, or county, within or without the Commonwealth, including the District of Columbia, having and maintaining firefighting equipment may contract with any such city, town, or county, upon such terms as such governing body may deem proper, for fighting fires in such county, town, or city and may prescribe the terms and conditions upon which such services may be provided on privately owned property in the county, town, or city and may raise funds with which to pay for such services, by levying and collecting annually, at such rates as such governing body may deem sufficient, a special tax upon the property in such county, or in any magisterial district thereof, subject to local taxation.

Code 1919, § 2743; 1942, p. 118; 1966, c. 134; 1995, c. 461; 2015, cc. 502, 503.

§ 27-3.1. Public liability insurance to cover claims arising out of mutual aid agreements.

The governing body of any city, county or town in the Commonwealth is authorized to procure or extend the necessary public liability insurance to cover claims arising out of mutual aid agreements executed with other cities, counties, or towns outside the Commonwealth, including the District of Columbia.

1968, c. 801; 1995, c. 461.

§ 27-4. Contract of county, city, or town to furnish fire protection.

Any county, city, or town that operates firefighting equipment as provided for in § 27-15.2 and any county, city, or town mentioned in § 27-6.02 may contract with counties, cities, or towns in, adjacent to, or near such county, city, or town, including the District of Columbia, for fire protection in the manner provided for in § 27-2.

1946, p. 609; Michie Suppl. 1946, § 2743m; 1948, p. 160; 1970, c. 187; 1991, c. 54; 1995, c. 461; 2015, cc. 502, 503.

§ 27-5. Contracts as to installation of automatic sprinklers with incidental insurance clauses.

Nothing contained in Title 38.2 shall be construed as prohibiting the performance of any contract made for the introduction of automatic sprinklers for reducing the risk by fire on any property located in this Commonwealth and containing provisions for obtaining or guaranteeing insurance against loss or damage by fire or water for a specified time at a fixed rate; provided, that all insurance contracts issued as a result of such contracts shall be in the form required by law in this Commonwealth; provided, further, that the contract rate be less than the published rate on risks covered thereby or the rate used by insurance companies writing such risks.

1930, p. 23; Michie Code 1942, § 4246c.

§ 27-5.1. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1986, c. 429.

§ 27-5.2. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1988, c. 891.

§ 27-5.3. Certain counties authorized to accept grants and other federal assistance.

Any county having a population of more than 2,000 persons per square mile may apply for, accept and utilize grants and other assistance from the federal government pursuant to § 117 of the United States Housing Act of 1949 (79 Stat. 451, 477), as amended, for the purpose of carrying out programs of concentrated code enforcement and related activities.

1966, c. 435.

§ 27-5.4. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1988, c. 891.

§ 27-5.5. Plans of certain state structures to be submitted to local governing bodies; access of local fire officials to state structures; corrective actions.

A. Any agency, commission or institution of the Commonwealth engaging in the construction or renovation of a structure, the cost of which exceeds $25,000, shall submit, prior to the initiation of such construction or renovation, preliminary and working plans and specifications to the governing body, or its designee, of the political subdivision in which the structure is or will be located, provided that such governing body has submitted a written request for such plans and specifications to the Director of the Department of General Services and to such agency, commission or institution.

B. Every agency, commission or institution of the Commonwealth shall permit, at all reasonable hours, a local fire official reasonable access to existing structures or a structure under construction or renovation, for the purposes of performing an informational and advisory fire safety inspection. The local fire official may submit, subsequent to performing such inspection, his findings and recommendations including a list of corrective actions necessary to ensure that such structure is reasonably safe from the hazards of fire to the appropriate official of such agency, commission or institution, the Director of the Department of General Services, and the State Fire Marshal. Such agency, commission or institution shall notify, within sixty days of receipt of such findings and recommendations, the Director of the Department of General Services, the State Fire Marshal, and the local fire official of the corrective measures taken to eliminate the hazards reported by the local fire official. The State Fire Marshal shall have the same power in the enforcement of this section as is provided for the enforcement of the Statewide Fire Prevention Code (§ 27-94 et seq.).

1978, c. 197; 1989, c. 258.