R.S. 33:2022 through 33:2042 apply to any municipality, whether existing under special charter or under general law, having a population of less than twenty-five thousand and maintaining a regular fire department with equipment of the value of not less than one thousand dollars.

As used in R.S. 33:2022 through 33:2042, the word “fireman” includes persons employed or engaged by the municipality in fire fighting or fire prevention services, including operators of fire alarms or signal systems, and the chief of the department.  It does not include employees of privately owned and operated fire fighting or fire prevention services.