RED BANK, NJ – TAPinto Red Bank will be offering a series of “Back of the House” articles profiling the men and women of who make Red Bank “work.”  Our purpose is to have the borough residents gain a personal sense of the people and the support personnel who perform behind the scenes to keep the town running and safe, 24/7/365.  Hence, “Back of the House.”

We spoke with Frank Woods, Red Bank Fire Inspector and Code Enforcement Officer, and asked him a few questions.

TAP: Tell us about yourself, where you grew up and how long you’ve been the Code Enforcement Officer/Fire Inspector  

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I was born and raised in Red Bank, and have lived in the same home that I grew up in for over  50 years.  I live with my wife Kimberly and my 11 year-old daughter Caitlyn.

I am a graduate of Red Bank Regional High School and my daughter is a student of the Red Bank School system. 

I have been a Red Bank firefighter for 31 years and a Fire Chief in 2003.  I am also a member of the Red Bank Scuba team and a member of the Red Bank First Aid.  I was a Member New Jersey Task Force One and was deployed to 9/11 ground zero for search and recovery.  

I have worked for the Borough of Red Bank for 25 years starting out in the Red Bank Police Department as a records officer.  I then transferred in 2003 to the Fire Marshal’s Office as a Fire Inspector, Fire Investigator, Code Enforcement Officer and housing inspector.

TAP: Talk about the moment or circumstances in your life where you realized that you wanted to make this your occupation. 

While growing up l learned that I lost my great grandfather in a fire in Red Bank.  I joined the fire department years later and learned more about fire safety.  Dealing with the senior firefighters instilled in me a wealth of knowledge. I think this was my deciding factor to learn more about fire prevention and doing this as a career.

TAP: What is the training for Code Enforcement Officer/Fire Inspector?

As a Code Enforcement Officer, you need to be well-versed in municipal ordinances, international property maintenance code, the zoning regulations, capable in court proceedings and some Building Construction.  A Fire inspector must hold the minimum of Fire Inspector, then Fire Official from the Division of Fire Safety of New Jersey.  I also hold degrees in Fire Investigation from the Division of Criminal Justice and the International Association of Arson investigators.

TAP: Discuss your general duties for fire inspections; residential versus commercial.  How often inspections are performed?

General duties of a residential property may consist of smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers, means of egress and general safety issues.  General duties of a commercial property are essentially the same, but include proper storage of combustibles.  The Fire Marshal's Office inspect commercial properties once a year though some require multiple inspections a year depending on their use.

TAP: Red Bank has several high-rise apartment and large commercial buildings.  What safety issues do you look for in these types of structures?

We monitor various fire code issues including means of egress, emergency and exit lights, fire protection systems, fire suppression systems and other safety issues.  These are just a few but not limited to these issues.

TAP: After there’s been a structure fire, what role do you play in determining the cause of the fire?  

I assist the Fire Marshal in the investigation or in his absence, will take photographs, witness statements, re-create the scene and information gathering for the origin and cause.

TAP: What’s the most satisfying aspect of your job?

Teaching fire prevention to children, young adults, adults and seniors.  What we teach them may possibly save their life and their family and friends. When the students see me out with my family, they tell me how they remember their safety plan; Stop, Drop and Roll.  This makes me feel great because what we are teaching is making an impact on them, their families and their future.

TAP: The most challenging?

For homeowners, rental residence or business/building owners to understand that we are there to help them and to keep them safe. We want everybody to home at the end of the day to their families and friends.

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