NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - New Providence Fire Chief Ralph Parlapiano is stepping down after serving three separate terms over the past 26 years.
New Providence’s all-volunteer Fire Department has 45 active members, one of which is Parlapiano’s son, Joe Parlapiano, who will be moving from second deputy chief into his father’s role as fire chief. The former chief will be staying on as an active firefighter.
Joe Parlapiano has been preparing for two years to take over the job, learning from his father the administrative aspect of the job.
New Providence has an ordinance that limits an individual to five consecutive years as fire chief. Ralph Parlapiano served two extra years, as there was no one in place fully ready to do the job, which goes well beyond fighting fires. There are many other administrative, budgetary and maintenance aspects of being a fire chief. “It’s a lot of work and a lot of time. You’re not only overseeing the firefighting aspect, but you have to balance the budget and maintain the equipment,” said Joe Parlapiano.
Joe Parlapiano is also a police officer in New Providence, “With the four days on four days off schedule, I’m a little luckier than most people, where I have the extra couple of days to get a lot done.”
He joined the department as a junior in high school in 1999 and became a full-time active firefighter in January 2001. New Providence Fire Department responds to 250 to 350 calls per year. Every year is different in New Providence, Joe Parlapiano explained. “During the years with the storms and the hurricane we averaged 100 calls in a couple of days,” he recalled. New Providence Fire Department also has a close working relationship with other towns and participates in mutual aid.
The Firehouse is currently in the process of replacing their oldest fire engine. The new one should be in the firehouse by the fall of this year.
Joe Parlapiano is also involved, along with the rest of the volunteers with fundraising. The “Santa Claus Delivers” fundraiser which was spearheaded by Parlapiano senior, was started this year and was very well received by the town.
On January 4, at the reorganization meeting, Joe Parlapiano was sworn in as Fire Chief and Mayor Al Morgan had many kind words to say about Ralph Parlapiano. “I have the upmost respect for Ralph, Ralph has dedicated his life to our Fire Department. You’ve always made me feel welcome. With your leadership, you have really made this a great fire department. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart and we wish your son, Joe, a lot of luck,” said Mayor Morgan.
To learn more about the New Providence Fire Department by visiting their website www.newprovfd.org.