NEWTON, NJ—Five volunteers from the Newton Fire Department, along with the Squad 3 truck made their way to the Newton Town Pool on Sunday, August 6.
The Newton Fire Department was represented by the Deputy Chief [acting chief], Scott Verkon, the ex-chief, Jason Miller, candidate fire fighter Kamran Yazdanfar, Junior Fire fighter, Joseph Chavarria, and fire fighter Anthony Perigo, all of whom came to the pool to show off some of their equipment to the pool goers.
According to Miller, a “Junior Fire Fighter is a member of the ‘Newton Fire Department Junior Program’ which is made up a group 14 to 17 year olds who train and get ready for fire school.”
A Candidate Fire Fighter, according to Miller “is any members over 18 years of age that have not gone to Fire Academy yet, but who after graduation of an approved Fire Fighter One course, become ‘A Probationary Fire Fighter Member for one year. Then after the year of Probation and a review of the officers committee, the member will become a ‘Newton Fire Fighter’.”
While at the pool, some of the kids tried on the firefighters’ equipment, such as their jackets, boots, and helmets. One girl, who tried on the jacket had a balancing issue when she realized she was on a hill and the jacket was too heavy.
The volunteers handed out colored bracelets, with pink being the popular color by most of the girls and the lifeguards at the pool as well. One of the lifeguards at the pool even tried on all the gear that the firefighters wear to every call, while some of the younger boys and girls only tried on the jacket or the pants and boots, as they were very heavy.
The volunteers also talked to parents about a new initiative of the fire departments, especially Newton’s, which is to have all parents with young kids, place reflective stickers call “Tot finders” at the bottom of any door where a young child sleeps.
“They used to have these stickers and you would put them in the windows so the fire department could see which rooms had young children, but that also gave it away to the public that there were young kids in the house and exactly where their room was,” said Miller.
“If the sticker is placed on the top of the door jam, it doesn’t help us much when we are crawling around on the floor because of smoke and whatnot,” Miller said.
By placing the reflective stickers on the bottom of the door jam on the outside of the children’s doors, it gives the firefighters a better opportunity of locating the younger children within the household.
Those who came to see the truck even got to go inside, look around, and some even got to sit in the same seats that the firefighters sit in each and every time they get a call.