As Fire Prevention Week goes on, the Chatham Township Fire Department hopes to recruit new members.
As the population of Chatham Township grows, so does the number of calls that come into the fire department. According to Lt. Matt Glogolich, the volume of fire incidents in the township has increased from less than 200 incidents in 2008 to over 300 in 2011.
"With the increase in call volume, coupled with the majority of incidents being during the daytime hours, the department is faced with a problem which most volunteer Fire Departments are dealing with now," Glogolich said: "Members who are able to respond."
The fire department is staffed by volunteers, many of whom have fulltime jobs. But the time and service they give to the township is immeasurable.
Besides residential fires and car accidents, the fire department also helps pump out flooded basements in storms, as they did during Hurricane Irene and the October 2011 snow storm.
Members of the fire department attend regular training drills, monthly meetings and respond to emergency calls. Along with this, all firefighters are required to complete the fire academy, which certifies you as a Firefighter in New Jersey. All training and equipment is paid for by the Department.
Any healthy able-bodied person over 16 can join the fire department. Those under 18 can join as junior firefighters. In the junior program, teens receive regular training from other seasoned firefighters and respond to emergency calls with the fire department. The summer after they turn 18, junior firefighters can attend their own training academy to get certified as full firefighters.
Anyone interested in becoming a firefighter in Chatham Township can call (973) 635-2828, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or stop in at the River Road Firehouse after 8 p.m. Fridays.
The Chatham Township Fire Department will host an open house Sunday, at the end of Fire Prevention Week. The open house will go from noon to 3 p.m. at the Southern Boulevard Firehouse.
As part of the open house, firefighters answer questions, provide fire prevention literature and show off our fire fighting equipment and fire apparatus. Guests will also be able to tour a Fire Safety Trailer, and learn how to escape a burning building.
Fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, and carbon monoxide detectors will also be available to purchase, and old fire extinguishers may be disposed of at the firehouse as well. We look forward to seeing everyone there!