Opinion 97 - 23


This opinion represents the views of the Office of the State Comptroller at the time it was rendered. The opinion may no longer represent those views if, among other things, there have been subsequent court cases or statutory amendments that bear on the issues discussed in the opinion.

 

AMBULANCE SERVICE -- Ambulance Corps (simultaneous membership in fire company)

FIRE COMPANY -- Membership (simultaneous membership in ambulance corps)

VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS -- Eligibility (simultaneous membership in fire company and ambulance corps)

VOLUNTEERS -- Ambulance Workers (simultaneous membership in ambulance corps and fire company)

GENERAL CITY LAW, 16-a; NOT-FOR-PROFIT CORPORATION LAW, 1402; PUBLIC HEALTH LAW, 3002; TOWN LAW, 176-b; VILLAGE LAW, 10-1006: There is no statutory prohibition on an individual becoming a member of a fire company and a member of a volunteer ambulance corps at the same time.

You ask whether an individual may be a member of a fire company and a volunteer ambulance corps at the same time.

The provisions of law relating to the qualifications and appointment of members of volunteer fire companies are set forth in section 16-a of the General City Law, section 1402 of the Not-For-Profit Corporation Law, section 176-b of the Town Law and section 10-1006 of the Village Law. Although each of these provisions prohibits an individual from being simultaneously a member of more than one fire company (General City Law, 16-a[10], Not-For-Profit Corporation Law, 1402[c][3], Town Law, 176-b[10], Village Law, 10-1006[10]; see also, e.g., 1991 Opns St Comp No. 91-23, p 70), none of these provisions prohibits an individual from being simultaneously a member of a fire company and an ambulance corps.

Article 30 of the Public Health Law (3000 et seq.) contains provisions of law relating to emergency medical services (see also General Municipal Law, 122-b; Town Law, 198[10-f]; Volunteer Ambulance Workers' Benefit Law). Article 30 defines an "ambulance service", in relevant part, "an individual, partnership, association, corporation, municipality or any legal or
public entity or subdivision thereof engaged in providing emergency medical care and the transportation of sick or injured persons to, from, or between general hospitals or other health care facilities". Among other things, article 30 provides for minimum standards for ambulance service, ambulance service certification, and the training, examination and certification of various categories of emergency medical service personnel (see Public Health Law, 3002[1]; 10 NYCRR 800.6 through 800.26). Article 30, however, does not prohibit a member of an organization constituting an "ambulance service" from being simultaneously a member of a volunteer fire company, and we are not aware of any other statute which contains such a prohibition.

Accordingly, it is our opinion that there is no statutory prohibition on an individual becoming a member of a fire company and a volunteer ambulance corps at the same time. In reaching this conclusion, however, we note that continued membership in volunteer fire companies and ambulance corps often requires compliance with certain minimum service requirements. In such cases, an individual will be able to maintain simultaneous membership in both a volunteer fire company and an ambulance corps only if he or she fulfills the minimum services requirements of both organizations.

December 31, 1997
Walter P. Wagner, Esq., Counsel
Lido and Point Lookout Fire District