By Nia Alexander
On Thursday, July 14th, the UVSO Department of Community Outreach & Planning (DCOP) accompanied by interns Nia, Jenia, and Taylor attended the Newark Fire Department (NFD) Open House at the fire station located on Palm Street in Vailsburg, which houses Engine 26 and Ladder 12. The firefighters welcomed visitors inside of their home from 10AM to 3PM in an effort to show the people of the community what goes an aspect of the department they do not often see. During the open house, the DCOP interns learned how the NFD help protect their community and families, and also learned some home fire safety tips to share with the young and old.
While taking the tour through the firehouse there were many great questions asked and many interesting responses. The firemen shared the difference between the two fire trucks. One truck is called a ladder and the other truck is called an engine. The interns got a chance to climb in and on top of the fire trucks to learn how they operate and what the spacing was like. They learned that there is a button for every sound that the truck makes. For example, there’s a sound for the emergency siren and a different sound for the “get out the way” horn. The firefighters also said that they flush the hydrants twice a year to make sure that everything is fine, and to make sure it’s filled with enough water. One firefighter said that they have to keep track of their radios at all times, because if they lose them, they have to pay $4,000. The interns also learned that there are daily, monthly, and annual trainings from HAZMAT and blood borne pathogens, to sexual harassment.
Intern Jenia asked, “What is your working schedule like?” They said, “We work 24 hour shifts and then get 3 days off. These are called tours. Each fire fighter works a different schedule.” To become a firefighter one has to be fit. During the academy, firefighter candidates have to run an obstacle course to see what their strengths and weaknesses are. When the firehouse is called to a scene the engine truck always leads first. In case of an emergency, firefighters’ clothes are always left inside the truck, on the struck or close to the truck.
The Newark Fire Department Open House was educational, interesting, and fun. We would love to do it again, and thank you for being, “There when you need us!”