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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.

Alana Quartuccio June 27, 2012 at 03:03 PM
Just a note folks, we will have to remove comments that include charges against people. We encourage comments on this issue but those that state charges against others that can't be backed up will have to removed.
Barry bolton June 27, 2012 at 03:14 PM
Truth hurts sometimes, as the editor u have a duty to find out the truth and all the facts and tell the people of Hasbrouck heights what is really going on . So do your job and come find us and will all talk but we won't use names this time. But in the new when someone accuses someone of something they use names don't they. And 95 percent of the time it is true and the person lies and lies and lies and then it all come out. This town and fire department is a joke. On a good note my taxes went done about 800 bucks
Alana Quartuccio June 27, 2012 at 03:32 PM
Thanks for your input Barry. As I have stated before, anyone is welcome to contact me if they wish to speak. My comment regarding naming charges against people was directed towards users commenting, not news reporting.
Deborah Greco June 27, 2012 at 04:29 PM
What is the point of Associate Members?
Deborah Greco June 27, 2012 at 04:48 PM
What this town needs is a PAID, 24 hr FD/EMS service. The Fire Chief successfully FORCED everyone to resign or be terminated because they could not accomplish a percentage requirement that was never enforced before because everyone knew that the volunteers were doing the best that they could. I began asking questions about Boro funding and other money matters and coincidentally I was terminated. The HHFD has By-Laws in place to address impropriety. No one has responded to my request for a By-Law hearing. The Mayor and Council are ALL aware of what is happening and of my case. They have time to create an Associate Membership but no time to address a Volunteer EMT who has served this town for years and was WRONGFULLY terminated. This town does not need people to serve coffee. This town needs Firefighters/EMT's to respond when they dial 911.
john smith June 27, 2012 at 05:39 PM
The problem with this new firemens helper issue as i see it is that the fire chief says that this will help the current problem. When Mrs. Collins asked at the council meeting about the FD issue he answered with this program. THIS IS NOT THE SOLUTION TO NO FIREMEN/EMT's. Maybe the FD should try and fix its current problems before starting a new program.
john smith June 27, 2012 at 05:45 PM
The real issue here is that people in this town are not getting the service they deserve and think they are getting. Patch.com needs to understand that none of these posts are attacks on people. It is simply the truth and alana would be amazed if she knew the real truth of what has gone on in that firehouse in the past year. Hmm Maybe she can just find a police report, maybe she can see how the mayor and council dealt with the situation, what a snowball of issues.
john smith June 27, 2012 at 05:48 PM
alana says charges that cant be backed up on here in previous comments. Alana be careful what you type because everything on here can be backed up with dates and times and im not sure the mayor or council would like it and would probably give you a lot of crap over it.
john smith June 27, 2012 at 05:49 PM
remember rose thinks everything is ok in this town. the fd is fine. the pd is great (even though houses have gotten broken into in record numbers the past couple of years), she cannot handle the truth on here i guarantee it
Mike Christensen June 28, 2012 at 12:11 AM
Just so people are clear, the picture above is from maybe 2 years ago.
Alana Quartuccio June 28, 2012 at 12:24 AM
Mike is correct - It's a file photo from the May 2011 inspection as noted in the caption.
Frank LaSalle June 28, 2012 at 11:35 AM
The total number of members is around 34 now. Subtract the 4 members whose duties are strictly ambulance related take you down to 30. I've also been told there are a handful who are on leave for whatever reason. There's your "25". I cannot see how creating an "associate" membership would help the situation when whats needed are more firemen. Not someone who is just going to stand there providing "other comforts".
Barry bolton June 28, 2012 at 02:25 PM
The leadership is a joke. Laughing stock on the fire service. Unsafe and mis managed, can't trust anything out of there mouths, the guys a power freak he should be on medication.......with that said its our own fault for voting them in, now we just wait tell they run it into the ground and everyone that quite rejoins when he is gone to build it back up and save the mayors ass. U think the bugget can fit a paid fire service into it. I don't think soo soo there goes your taxes way up. And u can blame the mayor for not acting on all our crys for help
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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