Fire Protection

League members may also request an opinion directly from the League via email. Please include the subject heading and number when making such a request.

193. Villages have authority under sec. 61.34(1), Stats., the legislative home rule provision, and sec. 66.60(16), Stats., to charge village property owners a fee for the cost of fire department services provided to their property. However, we have concluded in previous opinions, Fire Protection #175, #182, #183, and #190, that certain public policy concerns argue against municipalities charging property owners a fee for the cost of fire department services provided to their property. 10/24/97.

194. Where city has chosen not to establish a municipal fire department and instead contracts with two ch. 213, Stats., fire companies for fire protection services, there is no need or requirement that the city's police and fire commission appoint a chief under sec. 62.13(3), Stats., for a non-existent municipal fire department. (1/15/98).

195. Describes the Volunteer Fire Fighter and Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Length of Service Award program (LOSA) created by 1999 Wisconsin Act 105. The goal of the program is to provide a financial incentive, in the way of a retirement stipend, to encourage volunteer fire fighters and EMTs to remain volunteers for many years. The program began operation in fall of 2001. 9/30/01.

196. Reaffirms Fire Protection 193, which opines that cities and villages can bill for fire protection services, and concludes that Highway Trailer Co. v. Janesville Electric Co., 178 Wis. 340, 345, 190 N.W. 110, 112 (1922) and Dept. of Natural Resources v. Wisconsin Power & Light Co., 108 Wis.2d 403 405-07, 321 N.W. 286, 287-88 (1982) do not stand for the proposition that municipalities cannot bill for fire protection services provided in relation to auto accidents. 4/14/02.

197. Volunteer firefighters cannot receive compensation for their services but can be paid expenses, reasonable benefits, or a nominal fee or any combination thereof without being converted to "employees" who are subject to the Fair Labor Standard Act's (FLSA's) minimum wage and overtime provisions. Legal comment reviews status of volunteers under FLSA and Department of Labor (DOL) Wage and Hour Letter stating that DOL will presume a fee is nominal as long as the fee does not exceed twenty percent (20%) of what the public agency would otherwise pay to hire a full-time person to perform the same services. 1/31/07.