General Information of the Fire Department
Your Fire Department responded to 3,598 alarms in 2000. The alarms were received as:
|Alarms, No Fire||872||992|
To report a FIRE residents are urged to use the Township fire alarm boxes, and/or the fire emergency number (837-7783) for the quickest, most reliable fire response service. State mandated 911 service is also available. On average, fire personnel respond two minutes quicker to signals from fire alarm boxes which makes a significant difference during the early stages of a fire. We encourage you to program our seven digit number (837-7783) into your telephone speed dialer should there be a problem with the 911 system. If the entire phone system should fail, the Township fire alarm boxes will be available to report any emergency. You should make a note of the location of the one closest to your home today.
An analysis of the 104 structure fires in Teaneck in 2000 reveals that there were eleven serious fires: ten of them were in one or two family houses, and one was in a commercial Laundromat. Fires in buildings injured fourteen civilians and nine firefighters. Members of four families had to escape suddenly, rising from sleep. Ten families and one business were temporarily or permanently displaced.
Of the eleven serious fires, three were the result of clothes dryer fires, four were electrical in origin, two were the result of using propane torches to solder pipe, one came from a knocked over candle, and one was unclassified. Clothes dryers also caused six other fires. Most were the failure to keep the dryer clear of lint; some were the result of overloading the dryer, so the drum could not rotate properly, concentrating the heat against a small portion of the load. There were thirteen other electrical fires, including one where a building contractor added to a house without taking down the existing outside light fixture. It was built into a new wall, and started a fire when the circuit was re-activated and the light bulbs were touching the new insulation. Most of the electrical fires came from worn or loose electrical outlets. A serious fire resulted from an attic fan surrounded by storage. Unattended candles caused three fires. This is part of a dangerous national trend. Work with propane torches caused six fires. In one case, lint in a nursing home dryer exhaust duct was ignited by the use of a torch by a roofer. In another case, a handyman used a torch to search for a gas leak, seriously burning himself. Fifteen fires were classified either as incendiary or suspicious; two were unknown.
There were 165 other fires attended by the Teaneck Fire Department in 2000. Thirty-seven involved outdoor utility lines, 32 involved vehicles, twenty-three were brush fires, twenty-three were leaf pile fires, and twenty-one were miscellaneous outdoor fires.
There were 466 smoke emergencies. Many of these had the potential to become full-scale fires if the Fire Department did not provide rapid intervention. There were also 465 hazardous conditions. Some, like gas leaks, overheated equipment, or loose electrical lines could have caused fires or injuries. Others, like loose building components during high winds, or spilled slippery substances on roadways could have caused various other injuries and property damage. It is evident that Teaneck Fire Department's proactive approach to community safety is of great value in that 931 potentially disastrous situations were quickly resolved without any great loss.
All Department members are certified as Emergency Medical Technicians or medical First Responders. We have six semi-automatic defibrillators located on all first line fire equipment in Teaneck for a quick response when the Fire Department is requested. On 211 occasions, the Department provided first responder services to people who were hurt or sick during periods when Teaneck Volunteer Ambulance Corps units were busy with other calls. In 75 other incidents, the Department provided forcible entry or other back-ups to TVAC, and on 31 runs, extricated trapped patients from wrecked cars or trapped elevators.
Fifty-six times, Teaneck fire units responded to water or steam leaks which were causing or threatening damage to life and property. Sixteen times, we responded to Carbon Monoxide activations. On seven occasions, this deadly gas was actually present and immediate intervention was needed to preserve human health and life.
Uniformed members of the Department attended continuing education courses covering a wide variety of subjects including firefighting, health and safety, arson detection, Firefighter 2, Firefighter 3, Heavy Rescue, CPR, and fire incident command. Department members continued to expand their knowledge by also taking additional optional fire schooling, and participating in in-service company training to increase their level of expertise. Haz-mat team members complied with OSHA mandated training requirements. This Haz-mat training is conducted at State academies and in-house by team member certified State instructors.
The Fire Prevention Bureau conducted approximately 6,000 fire prevention activities, which includes fire and building inspections and re-inspections, building plan reviews and meetings with contractors, business owners and developers. These inspections and meetings occur before and during construction to insure compliance with the New Jersey Uniform Building Code and Fire Safety Act. The principal goal of the fire prevention program involves inspection of existing buildings to maintain a high level of life safety for building occupants. Neighborhood fire companies conducted approximately 1,800 inspections of commercial buildings and occupancies to insure proper storage conditions and adequate maintenance of existing facilities to comply with the NJ State Uniform Fire Code. In addition, over 900 inspections and re-inspections of residential smoke detectors were made in 2000 pursuant to State requirements in the resale of private homes and re-rental of rental units. The Bureau is also responsible for the investigation of all fires which occur in the Township. The investigations are conducted with cooperation from local, County, State and Federal agencies. These include local police, County Prosecutors Arson Task Force, State Police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
Teaneck's municipal fire alarm system continued to be the best way to report fires, smoke and other emergencies to the Fire Department. When you activate a fire alarm box, your signal for help goes instantly and directly to Fire Headquarters, without being processed by other agencies. The fire alarm boxes are completely separate from the telephone company, and have days of back-up power. They will work even though the phones or power is out. Boxes were activated for fires in schools six times, twice for fires in senior citizens housing, once for a nursing home fire, once for fire in a chemical testing lab, and twice for fires in the hospital. Boxes were also activated to report 70 smoke emergencies, many of which could have become fires if not instantly attended, 15 leaks of steam or water doing damage in buildings, seven hazardous conditions needing immediate Fire Department response and two potentially serious medical emergencies resulting from serious car accidents. The Teaneck Fire Department encourages everyone to use the fire alarm boxes to report any serious emergency, regardless of the type. Firefighters will respond instantly, do whatever they can to stabilize the situation and radio for additional agencies as needed. The most important project for the Fire Alarm Bureau in 2000 was the connection of tie lines and antenna line for the new Firegound Radio System. For the first time since 1937, the Department has a second radio channel to use. The new channel will allow uninterrupted transmission of urgent tactical messages between individual fire fighters, fire officers, and company sized units within burning building, leaving the existing main channel free for dispatch, command and logistic signaling. This increases firefighter safety as well as making the most efficient use of fire personnel at the scene. The system includes four remote receivers connected to Fire Headquarters by Fire Alarm Bureau cables. By connecting these remote receivers into Fire Headquarters, if a message from a distressed firefighter is inaudible at the scene, the firefighter on desk will have a chance to monitor and relay his call for assistance. Included in this project, with the full cooperation of Holy Name Hospital, is an indoor antenna system designed to pick up signals from firefighters' portable radios when working in even the deepest, most radio-shielded sections of the hospital. The Fire Alarm Bureau worked closely with the radio system vendor to build a highly reliable and useful system.
Box 54 Fire Service Support Unit, a pioneer in Fireground Rehabilitation, is the only service of its kind in Bergen County. Established in 1952 and working out of Teaneck Fire Headquarters, this all-volunteer unit responds to fires and emergencies throughout the county around the clock. This unit provides fluids and nourishment to firefighters and other emergency personnel and also provides emergency communication whenever necessary as the trucks are equipped with tri-state communication capability.
The safety-rated fire gear worn by firefighters, hazardous materials crews, etc. creates greater demand on the body for rehydration as per the research and recommendations by the U.S. Fire Administration on nutritional needs of firefighters/emergency workers. Members of Box 54 are trained to recognize and attend to those needs and many are further trained in CPR, Haz-Mat Awareness, Incident Command, and other fire related fields. Box 54 members continued to refresh their training and provide training in Fireground rehabilitation to firefighters, EMT's and auxiliary personnel throughout Bergen County and have also provided the training to other rehabilitation units in Jersey City and Newark.
The unit has four vehicles, two of which are equipped for canteen services. A 1994 Recreational Vehicle was modified to accommodate the needs of emergency personnel at major incidents, thus it is known as a Major Incident Rehabilitation Vehicle (MIRV). A 1985 Dodge Ram was also acquired and has proven a tremendous help in ferrying additional personnel, supplies, etc., to fire scenes. As it is not unusual for Box 54 to be called to more than one fire or emergency at the same time, these units allow the Box 54 Unit multi-response capability. Funding of supplies for Box 54 is from donations made by Teaneck and other fire departments. Call 837-2085 for further information about joining or contributing funds or supplies.
|William Go Norton, Fire Chief|
|To report a fire: 911 or 201-8377783|
|All Other Business: 201-837-2085|
In addition to responding to all fire alarms, the Department is often called out to auto accidents, rescue missions and other emergencies.
FIRE CODE ENFORCEMENT: The Department is the enforcement Agency for the Township's Fire Code, which is aimed at controlling the potential hazards in all structures in the community except owner-occupied one and two-family homes.
FIRE PREVENTION INSPECTIONS: The Fire Code mandates periodic inspections of all commercial businesses, industrial and office buildings in the community. All new construction, including renovations and additions, is inspected by a fire specialist before a certificate of occupancy is issued. Residents may request an inspection of their premises to determine whether a fire hazard exists. A fire-prevention specialist will make a comprehensiveexamination of the home or apartment and prepare a list of recommendations for changes which will greatly reduce the possibility of fire. All residences, upon resale, and all rental units, upon rental, are inspected for required smoke detectors, as required by State law.
GOOD MORNING CHECKUP PROGRAM: Designed for shut-ins and senior citizens who live alone and have no one to look after them on a regular basis, this program provides a telephone call seven days a week, between 8 A.M. and 9 A.M. If there is no answer to the first call, a second call is made in about five minutes. If there is no answer to the second call, a firefighter is dispatched to the house to make sure all is well. Before starting the service, a Department representative interviews the applicant to obtain pertinent medical data which may be invaluable in an emergency.
FIRE PREVENTION BUREAU: The Bureau performs a wide range of functions, including inspections, issuance of licenses and permits, enforcement of the Township codes, fire protection inspections and investigations of all fires for cause. In case of arson, the Bureau coordinates with the Police Department, the County Prosecutor, the County Arson Squad and other State and Federal agencies.
The Bureau presents educational programs to all school levels from elementary through college. It also has speakers available to present fire prevention to local civic organizations.
FIRE SERVICE SUPPORT UNIT: Box 54 Fire Service Support Unit, founded in 1952 and staffed entirely by volunteers, is a canteen/communications fire ground support service consisting of four vehicles. The four vehicles, two GMC Step-Vans, a 1994 Recreational Vehicle and a 1985 Dodge Ram, are maintained, licensed and insured by the Township, and housed at Fire Headquarters and Fire Station 2.
The two GMC vans are equipped with two-25 gallon (hot and cold) water tanks, propane fired stoves, oven coffee ums, barbecue serving equipment, etc. The Recreation Vehicle is used for rehabilitation at major incidents and the Dodge Ram is used to ferry supplies and personnel.
Two freezers and refrigeration units, at Fire Headquarters, contain enough food provisions to feed 200 people and includes Kosher food items. Funding of supplies is from donation made by Teaneck and other Fire Departments. Please call 837-2084 for further information about joining or contributing funds or supplies or contact them at http://www.box54.org.
Back to Teaneck Municipal Services 2001