General Information of the Fire Department
Your Fire Department responded to 3,801 alarms in 1999. the Alarms were received as:
|Alarms, No Fire||992||879|
Besides fires, we also respond to vehicle extrications, structural collapses, flooding, assistance to the Ambulance Corps, utility failures, alarm system failures, and weather related problems. To report a FIRE residents are urged to use the Township fire alarm boxes, 911 and/or the fire emergency number (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. 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 for you to report any emergency. You should make a note of the location of the one closest to your home today.
An analysis of the 100 structure fires in Teaneck in 1999 reveals that there were twenty serious fires: twelve were in one or two family houses, five were in residential garages or sheds, two were in apartments, and one was in a commercial repair garage. These 20 fires injured three civilians and nine firefighters. Three civilians and one firefighter were injured in eighty other structure fires. Members of seven families had to escape suddenly, rising from sleep. Fourteen families and one business were temporarily or permanently displaced.
The most serious fire of 1999 destroyed a 200-year-old wood frame mansion on River Road. Despite the size and value of this home and its contents, its only fire protection was two battery-powered smoke detectors. The person who discovered the fire poured water on it, and went back to sleep, awakening a few hours later to find fire already burning through the many interconnected void spaces between walls, floors and ceilings. Failure to call the Fire Department immediately, while it was still small, doomed the building. Four people asleep in the house had a narrow escape, and eight firefighters engaged in the intense, unavoidably dangerous, aggressive interior attack, were injured.
Another large challenge to the Teaneck Fire Department was Hurricane Floyd, which generated 214 runs, including two serious house fires. In one, a family used candles during the power outage, and a teenager fell asleep with the candle still burning in his room.
Most of the hurricane calls were for flooding, downed power lines, electrical and heating emergencies in buildings, and storm related traffic accidents.
Non-fire emergencies included a car colliding into a gasoline tank truck, a stairway collapse at an apartment house, a serious electrical emergency in the basement of a restaurant, and a head-on highway accident requiring extrication of four live patients and two deceased.
The Fire Department participation in the Mid Bergen Mutual Aid Association with Bergenfield, Bogota, Englewood, Hackensack, Ridgefield Park and South Hackensack remains unchanged. The Association also sponsors the Hazardous Materials Response Team, which includes 18 communities for primary haz-mat response.
The Haz-mat Team responded to a variety of calls in 1999. Most of these responses in the member communities were handled by their fire department haz-mat members. The entire team had to respond to several major calls during the year. Serious calls included a chemical spill in the Saddle River in Lodi, which took several hours and in Saddle Brook after Hurricane Floyd, where the Team was called to assist with multiple loose chemical drums due to floodwaters. In Teaneck, the Team responded to the car under the tractor-trailer at Teaneck Road and Degraw Avenue. The Team is currently doing research for a new vehicle to replace the current 1977 model.
The Department had in place extensive fire protection and fire prevention programs in 1999. 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 1999 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 two university buildings, the hospital, a nursing home, a vacant store, a group home, a high-rise office building, and a house. They were also used to report: a collision where a woman was trapped in an overturned car, a child struck by a car at a school, major arcing at an electrical substation, power lines down and one fire, eleven steam or water emergencies, and eighty smoke emergencies.
During Hurricane Floyd, while the 911-phone system was operating poorly if at all, every Teaneck fire alarm box was in full service. This reliability also kept all Teaneck Fire radios and tie lines in full service. The only telephones able to call north Teaneck from South Teaneck were the fire and police telephone system owned by the Fire Department. In 1999, fire alarm boxes were added to the fronts of Fire Stations 2 and 4, so that anyone running to a fire station to get help, and finding all the firefighters out responding to other calls, can still instantly and reliably get help. Fire alarm boxes were also added to automatically relay alarm activations from a religious high school, a place of worship, and a medical office building. Three street fire alarm boxes were added in a neighborhood where recent experience showed that residents were discontinuing hardwired phone service in favor of cell phones. Interviews of fire victims and witnesses have shown that reporting a fire via cell phone is laden with delay, and sometimes with calls misdirected to the wrong fire department.
Preventive maintenance included adding more lightning protection to outdoor communication lines, and upgrading surge protection in the Fire Headquarters dispatch room, as well as routine replacement of older wires, pole transfers and on-going maintenance.
All Fire Department members are certified as Emergency Medical Technicians or medical First Responders. We have one semi-automatic defibrillator, located on all six first line fire apparatus in Teaneck for a quick response when the Fire Department is requested.
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 taking additional optional fire schooling. Members participated 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 inhouse by team member certified State instructors.
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 and around the clock. This unit provided 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.
In 1999 Box 54 responded to 150 calls, of which 25 were for Teaneck fires and emergencies. The unit has four vehicles, two of which are equipped for canteen services. A 1994 Recreational Vehicle (valued at $50,000) was donated by the Bergen County 200 Club. This 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 which 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.
General Information of the Fire Department
|To report a fire:||call 911 or 837-7783|
|All other business:||call 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 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 business, 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 comprehensive examination of the resident's 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 programs to local civic organizations.
FIRE SERVICE SUPPORT UNIT: Box 54 is a canteen/communications Fireground support service consisting of four vehicles staffed entirely by volunteers and founded in 1952. These 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. The two GMC trucks are equipped with two 25-gallon (hot & cold) water tanks, propane fired stove, oven, coffee ums, barbecue, 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 837-2085 for further information about joining or contributing funds or supplies.
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