Police & Fire

Paid Firefighters Under Consideration in Flemington

9ae5f2e1165d48c16523_b87648cb861d8e103aea_walton.jpg
Freeholder and volunteer firefighter Rob Walton reviews a plan for paid firefighters in Hunterdon. Credits: Curtis Leeds
9ae5f2e1165d48c16523_b87648cb861d8e103aea_walton.jpg

FLEMINGTON, NJ – Fire Chief Scott Williamson will review with Borough Council a proposal for Hunterdon County to hire paid firefighters at its meeting this evening.

The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in the old Historic Courthouse on Main Street here.

Plans by a committee established by the county’s Fire Chiefs Association to establish a paid firefighting force in Hunterdon have been overwhelmingly endorsed by the fire chiefs. The projected first-year cost of salaries under the plan, which would be paid by county taxes, is about $1.37 million. The total annual cost to the owner of a house assessed at $300,000 would be about $21.99, according to the Association.

Sign Up for E-News

County Freeholder Rob Walton, who is also a volunteer firefighter in Hampton, said governing bodies in High Bridge, Califon, and both Lebanon Township and Lebanon Borough have already approved resolutions in support of the plan. Resolutions in support of the plan will be on Township Committee agendas in Delaware, Kingwood, and West Amwell in the next few weeks, he said.

So far, the only fire chiefs to oppose the plan are those in Raritan Township and East Amwell.

Other than providing some paid staff to supplement daytime firefighting coverage, Walton said the plan doesn’t change much else.

“The county operates as one fire company with 28 stations,” Walton said at a recent briefing on the proposal. “Because of task forces and mutual aid, all operate under the same command system ... This is no different.”

The plan would divide the county into three regions: west, east and south. The paid firefighters would be divided among two existing firehouses and a third location that would be established in the county’s hazmat building on Route 12 in Raritan Township.

The fire chief in each municipality would be “king of their castle,” Walton said. “They get to choose how this mutual aid company would be used.”

That could even include not using the paid staff at all.

“If the chief for some reason didn’t want to use it, they don’t have to. We can’t force it on a fire chief to use this in their municipality,” he explained. “ I don’t know why they wouldn’t use it, but certainly the chief gets to decide.”

The plan outlined by the Fire Chiefs Association recommends hiring 18 firefighters who would work an average of 42 hours a week. They’d be scheduled from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., and would work alternating schedules: Three days for one week, then four days the next week.

County Fire coordinator Drew Stephens said the training required of volunteer and paid firefighters is the same. An initial 220 hours of training is mandatory; ongoing training is required after that.

Paid firefighters are suggested because, “Daytime staffing is not sufficient to meet the needs of our county,” Walton said.

In a borough such as Hampton, a minimum standard set by the National Fire Protection Association would require 10 people to respond to a fire call within 10 minutes, 80 percent of the time, Walton said.

In the county’s “more rural areas,” such as the townships, the standards require six members responding to fire call, within 14 minutes, 80 percent of the time, he said.

“The county is not meeting that on a regular basis,” Walton said.  

Currently, Hunterdon’s only paid firefighters are in Lambertville, where they are paid under the city’s Fire District tax.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Flemington/Raritan

Proposal for Flemington Candidates' Forum

July 17, 2018

To The editor,

This is an open note to Flemington Mayoral candidates Phil Greiner and Betsy Driver; and Borough Council candidates  Marc Hain, Brooke Warden, Chris Runion Caitlin Giles-McCormick

Re: Proposal for Candidate Forum[s] in Flemington

Folks,

Seeing how this is an extremely important election with many significant issues facing Flemington, I propose all ...

Malinowski Supports NJ Infrastructure

To the editor,

I support Tom Malinowski in the election to represent New Jersey’s 7th district this November because he will support infrastructure investments that are essential to the continued prosperity of this district.

Tom recognizes this district’s dire need for infrastructure appropriations, and he knows how essential the Gateway Project is for not only those who commute ...

Upcoming Events

Mon, July 23, 9:00 AM

Flemington Public Library, Flemington

Coding Camp at Mediatech

Education

Tue, July 24, 9:00 AM

Flemington Public Library, Flemington

Coding Camp at Mediatech

Education

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 18

On this week’s AtlantiCast, you’ll find out how accessing care at Atlantic Health System is now easier, more affordable and closer to home than ever, learn which item from the produce aisle could be the newest weapon against cancer, see what Atlantic Health System, the New York Times and Instagram all have in common and much more.

 

 

Proposal for Flemington Candidates' Forum

July 17, 2018

To The editor,

This is an open note to Flemington Mayoral candidates Phil Greiner and Betsy Driver; and Borough Council candidates  Marc Hain, Brooke Warden, Chris Runion Caitlin Giles-McCormick

Re: Proposal for Candidate Forum[s] in Flemington

Folks,

Seeing how this is an extremely important election with many significant issues facing Flemington, I propose all ...

Notice of Hearing, Raritan Township

July 16, 2018

A public hearing will be held before the Raritan Township Zoning Board of Adjustment at the Municipal Building, located at 1 Municipal Drive in the  Committee/Court Meeting Room on Thursday July 19 at 7:30 p.m. on the following application: The above applicant is requesting approval of and any and all variances and waivers as may be required by the Board for an 28.56 kw Ground Mounted P.V.