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Volunteer Firefighters May Get Support Crew

Officials introduced an ordinance that would establish an associate fire department membership to provide support to the borough's volunteer firefighters.

The borough is moving ahead with a plan to allow associate members to assist the shrinking volunteer fire department on calls by providing food, drinks and other support during rescue efforts. 

Officials introduced an ordinance Tuesday night that would add a new article to the borough’s code in order to create an associate corps. The membership would allow those that wish to be a part of the department but can’t devote the required amount of time to still take part by assisting the regular volunteers with calls and events.

According to the ordinance, the associate members could assist firefighters on calls by providing food, drink and other comfort during firefighting and rescue efforts.

They would also be able to take part in promoting social interaction within the organization and community, assist with events, such as Fire Prevention Week and participate in parades, the ordinance states.

The associate members would serve as a support crew for a department that has lost 15 firefighters since March — 12 by resignation and three of whom were terminated for non-compliance of by-laws.

The drop-off of firefighters had caused concern among residents at a meeting earlier this month, but Fire Chief Richard Giarratana said the department still had a sufficient number of members: 36. 

But despite Giarratana's remarks, some former members have blamed the department's leadership for their departure.

On a recent report on Patch regarding the establishment of an associate membership,   challenged the leadership of the fire department. 

The fire chief said many resigned because those volunteers were unable to meet the required amount of hours, as well as extensive training that is needed. 

But Mike Christensen, one of the volunteers who recently resigned,  told Patch it wasn’t an inability to make calls that led him to resign but rather his concerns with safety and leadership in the department.   

A public hearing on the ordinance is planned for the Tuesday, July 10.

Have a question or news tip? Contact editor Alana Quartuccio at alana.quartuccio@patch.com, or follow Hasbrouck Heights Patch on Facebook or Twitter. For news straight to your inbox sign up for the daily newsletter.

Mike July 01, 2012 at 08:22 PM
As i said, HH. has lost on this one.....Trainng was NOT the issue....the individuals let go had more training from FDNY than HH could ever give them, not to mention NJ training from another Dept. A SECOND JOB TO PAY THEIR BILLS!.and after holding. !TWO! Jobs and all these skills, they volunteered their time.(whatever spare time they had). And still were there for HH. but not given any slack or RESPECT by the FD MANAGEMENT OR MAYOR. so now, HH wants to replace them with waterboys..passing out flyers and water..HOW SAFE DOES THAT MAKE YOU FEEL HH? And as for the firefighters leaving, it was due to the way they were treated and the unjustified and disgusting treatment doled out to the EMERGENCY MEDICAL TECHNICIAN. Good Luck and God Bless all Emerg. Resp. Workers. Mike Adams
thehhinsider July 04, 2012 at 09:22 PM
HHlongtimer is that you whining here 2
john smith July 04, 2012 at 09:40 PM
Hhinsider is prob one of the hhfd chiefs that just can't take this social media bashing. Insider just sit back relax and pray you don't look like a fool at the next emergency event. Don't worry this will all blow over soon and it will be buisness as usual. Hopefully.
john smith July 04, 2012 at 09:42 PM
Hey insider you guys would be amazed at how many current HHFD members talk about the issues of the HHFD and how dangerous and bad its been. Control the current membership. You guys got all the troublemakers out. Lol what else do u want?
Joseph Benkovic July 10, 2012 at 02:44 PM
Dept Meeting in May - Chief does the usual disturbing mad pace around the room and goes on and on how moral is low and things are bad and then tops it all off with mad face pointing finger at the few remaining members that "no-one is special and you are all replaceable" Thats all I needed to hear. Good moral booster! Oh and how can we forget someone elses comments about "you guys are like the navy seals of ems" LOLOL Doesnt have a clue about anything!!! Maybe Moonachi EMS! By the way where has this "navy seal ems" dpw member been all these years? Everyone left is going to burn out soon. Town seriously needs to have a plan in place. This "helper" thing is a waste of time. Need the per diem EMS service that was talked about years ago now with resumes taken and ambulance ordered to spec and even lettered for that reason. (white letters on sides saying "emergency medical services") It never happened. Why? Why can Lodi do it for so many years and HH cant? Times have changed and you CAN"T count on the chance that maybe someone will come up for a call. There is never a guaruntee you will get a response. In medical or traumatic emergencies time is EVERYTHING. Seconds count! To wait and wait for a memebership that may or may not show puts the lives of all residents and people the dept is supposed to serve in DANGER. As far as fire service good luck. Roll the dice as usual I guess for who knows how much longer. Worst ever.

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