LIVINGSTON, NJ – Aside from making New Year’s Resolutions, Jan. is also a time to start planning for the year. Below, Livingston’s Fire Chief Christopher Mullin shares some of his goals and objectives for 2015.
Q. What are a few of your biggest priorities for 2015?
A. To keep "current" with all the new construction projects throughout the community. This includes regular site visits during construction, as well as pre-planning for emergency responses. Also included are site visits with the Department members during drill nights to become familiar with the layout of these new facilities.
Q. What do you need financially to accomplish your priorities?
A. Donations to the Volunteer Department always assist in extra-curricular endeavors, although our main funding is generally provided through our municipal budget. Donations by local civic organizations (i.e., Kiwanis, Unico, Elks and K. of C.) are usually used to fund specific item needs to serve our residents more effectively, and are much appreciated.
Q. What level of community involvement do you need or expect? How should the community best get involved?
A. First, one of our biggest challenges during emergency responses continues to be the "lack of visible numerical house numbers" on residences, which ultimately delays the response by the Fire Department, Police and E.M.S. The Township of Livingston Ordinance Chapter 87-3, requires "in numerals of the size not less than 5" in height and so located as to be clearly visible to persons passing by the premises on the abutting street.”
Secondly, snow covering fire hydrants during and after snow storms continues to hamper our emergency response to accessing the hydrants during emergencies. I implore residents to become involved in their "neighborhood fire safety plans" and to do the "right thing" and clear the fire hydrants in YOUR neighborhood. It is for YOUR OWN GOOD. Fire safety is everyone’s concern—not just the other guys problem!
Q. How will this project benefit your organization or members of the community?
A. A proper display of house numbers "on the residence" and not on a tree or decorative landscape rock, along with 3' clearance around all fire hydrants, will make for a quicker response to a home emergency, as well as quicker fire suppression and decreased property damage to the residence.
Q. Pick a specific goal or project – what does it mean to you personally?
A. Firefighter Health and Safety: The Health and Safety of our firefighters continues to be of paramount concern for all of our Livingston Volunteer Firefighters. Heart attacks continue to be the number one cause of death annually for firefighters nationwide. The U.S. Fire Administration reports that over the past 36 years, heart attacks were the number one (47.2 percent) cause of death to firefighters followed by the second leading cause of death—Trauma (28.2 percent).
As Chief, you never want to see one of your members be stricken by illness, especially when you are a heart attack survivor yourself, on the fire-ground at age 39 years old, and being of average height and weight. After my incident, I believe the majority of our members had a "wake-up call" but as is human nature, when things settle down and the incident is forgotten, people go back to their "bad habits."
I have tried to focus our members on Healthy Eating Habits as well as increased physical activity to improve their individual situations. I have also reached out to local fitness clubs and have gotten discounted memberships for Volunteer Firefighters, Auxiliary Police, and E.M.S. members in an effort to increase their physical well-being.
Q. What is the approximate timeline for implementation of any of these projects?
A. The old saying applies, "No time is better than the present," and that goes for the three projects that I spoke about above. Insure your house number is 5" and mounted in a visible location; make sure your hydrants are dug out after snow storms; and firefighters should watch what they eat, increase their exercise, and take overall better care of themselves so they can take better care of their community.
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