|William G. Norton, Fire Chief|
|Phone:||Non-Emergency: (201) 837-4858|
|To report a fire: 911 or (201) 837-7783|
|All other business: (201) 837-2085|
|Address:||1231 Teaneck Road, Teaneck, NJ 07666|
In addition to responding to all fire alarms, the Department is often called out for auto accidents, rescue missions and other emergencies.
FIRE CODE ENFORCEMENT: The Department is the enforcement agency for the Township's Fire Code, which is focused on controlling the potential of 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 fire hazards exist. A fire prevention specialist will make a comprehensive examination of the home or apartment and prepare a list of recommendations for changes that will greatly reduce the possibility of fire. All residences upon resale and all rental units upon rental, in accordance with State mandates, are inspected for required smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.
GOOD MORNING CHECKUP PROGRAM: Designed for shut-ins and senior citizens who live alone and have no one to look in on them on a regular basis, this program provides a telephone call seven days a week between 8:00 AM and 9:00 AM. If there is no answer to the first call, a second call is made in about 5 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 this service, a Department representative interviews the applicant to obtain pertinent medical data which may be invaluable in an emergency.
FIRE PREVENTION BUREAU: The Bureau provides a wide range of functions, including inspections, issuance of licenses and permits, enforcement of the Township code, fire protection inspections and investigations of all fires for cause. In cases of arson, the Bureau coordinates with the Police Department, the County Prosecutor, the County Arson Squad and other State and Federal agencies.
FIRE SAFETY EDUCATION: The Fire Prevention Bureau presents educational programs at all school levels, from elementary through college. It also has speakers to present fire prevention to local civic organizations.
FIRE SERVICE SUPPORT UNIT: Box 54 Fire Service Support Unit, is founded in 1952, is a canteen/communications fireground support service consisting of four vehicles staffed entirely by volunteers. The GMC Step-Vans (2), 1994 Recreational Vehicle (RV) and 1985 Dodge Ram are maintained, licensed and insured by the Township and housed at Fire Headquarters and Fire Station 2. The two GMC trucks are equipped with two 25 gallon (hot & cold) water tanks, propane fired stoves, oven coffee urns, barbecues, serving equipment, etc. The 1994 RV is used for rehabilitation at major incidents and the Dodge Ram is used to ferry supplies and personnel. Two freezers and refrigeration units at Headquarters contain enough food provisions to feed 200 people and include Kosher food items. Funding of supplies is from donations made by Teaneck and other fire departments. Call (201) 837- 2085 or visit their website, box54.org, for further information about joining or contributing funds or supplies.
Your Fire Department responded to 3,550 alarms in 2002. The alarms were received as:
|Alarms, No Fire||860||879|
To report a FIRE residents are urged to use the Township fire alarm boxes, 9-1-1 and/or the fire emergency number (201-837-7783) for the quickest, most reliable fire response service. On average, fire personnel respond two minutes quicker to signals from fire alarm boxes and this is a significant difference during the early stages of a fire. The Department encourages residents to program our seven digit number (201-837-7783) 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 are available to report any emergency. Residents should make a note of the location of the one closest to their home today.
An analysis of the eighty structure fires in Teaneck in 2002 reveals that there continues to be a rise in kitchen fires, a dangerous trend that homeowners should be aware of since inattention is often the cause. Additionally, the Teaneck Fire Department responded to 115 other fires in 2002. Twenty-six involved outdoor utility lines, thirty-four involved vehicles, fourteen were brush fires, four were leaf pile fires, and thirty- seven were miscellaneous outdoor fires.
There were 368 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 520 hazardous conditions.
2002 was notable for some things that did not happen: One early morning, a woman was trapped in her second-floor bedroom by a fire burning through the living room floor from the basement of her Herrick Ave. home. The fast arrival of her neighborhood fire company, Engine Co. 3, saved her from serious injury or death. The Fire Officer and firefighters of the first-due engine raised a ladder and carried her down, while other Teaneck fire units attacked and extinguished the fire. Teaneck maintains four fire stations, which are staffed around-the-clock.
A young student nurse saved a patient from injury or death, and all systems worked well, when she saw a fire coming from the air-handling unit in the patient's room. She removed the patient, pulled a fire alarm station, used a fire extinguisher, and shut the door to the room confining the smoke. The alarm she pulled went instantly via the Township's municipal fire alarm system to every firefighter on duty, so her back up was there in three minutes. This happy outcome was a triumph of day-to-day vigilance, both by the health care institution where she was working, and of Teaneck's fire suppression, fire prevention, and fire alarm personnel. The price of saving that helpless patient was paid by the constant day-to-day efforts to gain fire code compliance, encourage fire safety education, and maintain fire suppression readiness.
All Fire Department members are certified as either Emergency Medical Technicians or medical First Responders. We have six semiautomatic defibrillators located on all first line fire equipment for a quick response when the Fire Department is requested. On 369 occasions, the Department provided first responder services to people who were hurt or sick during periods when Teaneck Volunteer Ambulance units were busy with other calls. On 24 runs, Fire Department personnel extricated trapped patients from wrecked cars or trapped elevators.
Forty-two times, Teaneck fire units responded to water or steam leaks, which were causing or threatening damage to life and property. Twenty-one times, the Department responded to carbon monoxide detectors activations; on at least six 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. In addition, members participated in in-service company training to increase their level of expertise. The logistical demands of all this training required the Department to create a full time Training Officer position in 2002. This Fire Officer is in charge of seeing that all Department members receive their required training in addition to available optional training. Haz-Mat team members complied with OSHA mandated training requirements. Haz-Mat training was conducted at State academies and in-house by team member certified State instructors.
The Department had an extensive fire prevention and fire protection program in place for 2002. The principal goal for the fire prevention program involves performing inspections of existing buildings, which includes schools, local businesses, factories, hospitals and nursing homes in the Township. There were over 7,000 fire prevention activities performed during the 2002. In addition, over 1,000 required inspections and reinspections of residential smoke detectors were made in the sale and resale of private dwellings or rental properties. The Fire Prevention Bureau reminds residents that two to three weeks notice is required for a smoke detector inspection due to the large volume of requests. In 2003, carbon monoxide detectors will also be required when selling your home.
Fire companies conducted approximately 1,800 fire pre-plan and maintenance inspections of the local buildings in their districts. This insures that proper storage conditions and adequate maintenance are being performed in the buildings for items such as exit signs, emergency lighting, and blocked exits. These inspections also familiarize the fire companies with buildings' layouts. The Bureau conducted investigations of all fires that occurred in the Township with the cooperation from local, County, State and Federal agencies (Teaneck Police, Bergen County Prosecutors Arson Task Force, State Police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms). Fire Prevention staff also responded to over 200 fire responses throughout 2002 to assist the line fire personnel.
Teaneck's municipal fire alarm system continued to be the best way to report fires, smoke and other emergencies to the Fire Department. In August 2002, Teaneck suffered a wide-area failure of commercial telephone service when a severe lightning storm knocked out hundreds of phone lines in the northwest section of Teaneck. While the telephone company diligently sent a large force and immediately began repairs, many households lacked telephone service for up to four days. How could people get help in case of fire or other life-threatening emergency? They could just go to their neighborhood fire alarm box, pull the hook, and wait for about three minutes for the first fire engine to pull up. By staying by the box, they could then direct the firefighters to the exact problem. There are over 300 fire alarm boxes throughout Teaneck, on some street-corner utility poles, and others on the front wall of schools, houses-of-worship, factories and other principal buildings. No one will ever be penalized if they summon the Fire Department for what turns out to be an honest error. In 2002, 91 fires and emergencies were reported via the fire alarm boxes. The instant alarm signals helped limit damage and injuries in fires occurring at the hospital, a high-rise hotel, a senior citizens apartment house (twice), a single-family home and other public and commercial occupancies. Dozens of smoke emergencies were signaled through the system, in some cases preventing smoldering materials or objects from reaching the stage of open flaming. In other cases boxes were used to get help for hazardous conditions, leaks, and rescue situations. There were only 30 street malicious false alarms, less than 1% of Fire Department runs.
In the year 2002, Box 54 responded to 146 calls, which averaged slightly fewer than 3 runs per week. Box 54 members continued to be trained in areas of CPR and Haz-mat awareness, Incident Command and other fire related fields as well as continuing to refresh their training and provide training in fireground rehab, to firefighters, EMTs and auxiliary personnel through Bergen County and other locals. Also in the year 2002, Box 54 was the recipient of the prestigious Matthew Feldman Award, given by the Township of Teaneck to service organizations who are deserving of it. The year 2002 was also the 50th anniversary of Box 54. Funding of sup- plies for Box 54 continued to come from donations made by Teaneck and other fire departments.