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Channel 7 and Harrison FD

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Saw a report on Ch. 7 where the Kearny Fire Chief said that Harrison was terribly understaffed.

Harrison has a population of about 20-25K people, covering an area of about 1 square mile.

Kearny has about 40K people, the residential area covering about 3 square miles, and an industrial area.

Harrison, currently, has 7 firefighters on duty on a particular day.

Kearny has 15, covering the stated larger size and population.

How are we any safer??

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Guest Fire Fact Checker

Saw a report on Ch. 7 where the Kearny Fire Chief said that Harrison was terribly understaffed.

Harrison has a population of about 20-25K people, covering an area of about 1 square mile.

Kearny has about 40K people, the residential area covering about 3 square miles, and an industrial area.

Harrison, currently, has 7 firefighters on duty on a particular day.

Kearny has 15, covering the stated larger size and population.

How are we any safer??

Huge difference.

7 in Harrison if they all show up. With sick days and vacation days and personal days, that happens infrequently. Total of 28 firefighters in Harrison to cover four 24-hour shifts.

Kearny has 89 firefighters. that equals about 22 per 24-hour shift (before vacation, personal and sick days). 15 is the MINIMUM staffing on the shift.

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Guest carmine

It doesn't matter. If you have one pig or a hundred pigs trying to solve a math problem it's not gonna get done. The G.E.D. firemen have proven this over and over again. Therefore, the less pigs to feed the better.

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Guest Guest

Fair enough. How many days did the KFD ride at the MINIMUM? Because that would be a pretty good indication.

Huge difference.

7 in Harrison if they all show up. With sick days and vacation days and personal days, that happens infrequently. Total of 28 firefighters in Harrison to cover four 24-hour shifts.

Kearny has 89 firefighters. that equals about 22 per 24-hour shift (before vacation, personal and sick days). 15 is the MINIMUM staffing on the shift.

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Guest What needs to be done

If the Town of Harrison could get the already paid fire dept to do some Department of Public work during the time that they are waiting for fires.

Then we could eliminate the Dpw workers that are too old or fat and get a stronger DPW and a stronger Fire Dept. Dou you see my reasoning here?

Make some dpw workers go to the fire academy, get trained, And have the Dpw workers/ Fire dept out there on the streets everyday doing work for the town instead of doing nothing in a firehouse and getting paid to do nothing.. This will benefit the town And clean it up immensely. The question is ..... Which dpw workers care enough about the town to get the ball rolling. This scenerio would be great for every town ,not just Harrison. Just for the paid fire depts though This was thought up by my Uncle a few weeks ago and it makes sense if you think about it..

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Guest Guest

less face it----------harrison is the laughting stock of hudson county -ask anyone in north hudson or jersey city truly disgraceful another town should take over this huge mess at this point they cannot be saved

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Guest Harrison Senior

If the Town of Harrison could get the already paid fire dept to do some Department of Public work during the time that they are waiting for fires.

Then we could eliminate the Dpw workers that are too old or fat and get a stronger DPW and a stronger Fire Dept. Dou you see my reasoning here?

Make some dpw workers go to the fire academy, get trained, And have the Dpw workers/ Fire dept out there on the streets everyday doing work for the town instead of doing nothing in a firehouse and getting paid to do nothing.. This will benefit the town And clean it up immensely. The question is ..... Which dpw workers care enough about the town to get the ball rolling. This scenerio would be great for every town ,not just Harrison. Just for the paid fire depts though This was thought up by my Uncle a few weeks ago and it makes sense if you think about it..

If the Town of Harrison could get the already paid fire dept to do some Department of Public work during the time that they are waiting for fires.

Then we could eliminate the Dpw workers that are too old or fat and get a stronger DPW and a stronger Fire Dept. Dou you see my reasoning here?

Make some dpw workers go to the fire academy, get trained, And have the Dpw workers/ Fire dept out there on the streets everyday doing work for the town instead of doing nothing in a firehouse and getting paid to do nothing.. This will benefit the town And clean it up immensely. The question is ..... Which dpw workers care enough about the town to get the ball rolling. This scenerio would be great for every town ,not just Harrison. Just for the paid fire depts though This was thought up by my Uncle a few weeks ago and it makes sense if you think about it..

Sorry Barney, You're not getting on the FD no matter how many schemes you dream up. You're too short , you're not much taller than a fire hydrant .

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Guest Retired Fire Fighter

your reasoning makes no sense at all. To begin with, you can't just take DPW personnel and train them. They would have to take the Civil Service Exam pass it and then wait for an opening before they get the training. Also, Fire Fighters are not hired to do other work.

There are NFPA standards that state there must be a minimum staffing level of 5 fire fighters on duty per shift. Just because a fire fighter isn't out fighting fires doesn't necessarily mean they aren't doing anything. Most Departments have on-going training that they do at the station. And yes there is a lot of down time. However they can be at the station and get a fire call that takes them hours before they return. When a station gets a call and are going to be on scene for a length of time they call for mutual aid from other towns to fill in until they return. This is routine and in some cases that fill in may be called to the scene for assistance.

Since the towns of Harrison and Kearny have older buildings the chances of a major fire increase each day. The real solution is to hire more fire fighters which won't happen.

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Guest Former FF

your reasoning makes no sense at all. To begin with, you can't just take DPW personnel and train them. They would have to take the Civil Service Exam pass it and then wait for an opening before they get the training. Also, Fire Fighters are not hired to do other work.

There are NFPA standards that state there must be a minimum staffing level of 5 fire fighters on duty per shift. Just because a fire fighter isn't out fighting fires doesn't necessarily mean they aren't doing anything. Most Departments have on-going training that they do at the station. And yes there is a lot of down time. However they can be at the station and get a fire call that takes them hours before they return. When a station gets a call and are going to be on scene for a length of time they call for mutual aid from other towns to fill in until they return. This is routine and in some cases that fill in may be called to the scene for assistance.

Since the towns of Harrison and Kearny have older buildings the chances of a major fire increase each day. The real solution is to hire more fire fighters which won't happen.

You are right the real solution is to hire more firefighter and you are right again, they won't!!.

One of 5 things will happen.

1. Harrison FD will be dissolved. All the guys fired. Kearny will cover Harrison for 2 million and change. Kearny will hire a few guys, off rice bill or new recruits, I dunno.

2. Harrison FD will merge with Kearny FD. Create a West Hudson FD. Harrison will have to pay Kearny current budget. 4 million and change. All Harrison guys keep jobs.

3. Harrison FD, Kearny FD and East Newark FD will merge. Create West Hudson FD. (This will be a combo department) Keeps career staffing at decent levels. Use volunteers when needed. Solves "manpower" issues. Rarely would have to go out of West Hudson to fight a fire. Use other Hudson County towns and boarder towns to cover.

4. Kearny balks, Harrison FD has no choice to but to merge with just East Newark FD. They go combo.

5. Do nothing, don't call nearest fire department to help with fire, someone dies... oh wait... that happened today. Nice job Harrison FD. Stand in front of house where senior died. Look down the block what do you see? a FD with 2 engines and a ladder with it's bay doors closed because Harrison Fire Director got a big ego and tried to blame them for problems at FDR fire and didn't call them to this one. Chances are they could have been there before Harrison if Fire Director could have gotten his foot out of his mouth in time. They are a block and a half away you bone head. Kearny takes about 7-10 mins... Jersey City 25+ mins... You know what this is called. "Gross Negligence". Shouldn't Mutual Aid agreements factor in response time? What are these politicians and chiefs doing?! Be interesting to know what Kearny and Jersey City residents think about their FD responding before another neighboring town who is financially intertwined with Harrison. Why are our tax dollars used first to fight a Harrison Fire? Shouldn't the town with the most shared resources including a combined dispatch have been sent first? That could have streamlined response time and who knows maybe have saved a life. To me sounds like someone dropped the ball. To me sounds like a pending lawsuit. "Gross Negligence"

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Guest Former FF

your reasoning makes no sense at all. To begin with, you can't just take DPW personnel and train them. They would have to take the Civil Service Exam pass it and then wait for an opening before they get the training. Also, Fire Fighters are not hired to do other work.

There are NFPA standards that state there must be a minimum staffing level of 5 fire fighters on duty per shift. Just because a fire fighter isn't out fighting fires doesn't necessarily mean they aren't doing anything. Most Departments have on-going training that they do at the station. And yes there is a lot of down time. However they can be at the station and get a fire call that takes them hours before they return. When a station gets a call and are going to be on scene for a length of time they call for mutual aid from other towns to fill in until they return. This is routine and in some cases that fill in may be called to the scene for assistance.

Since the towns of Harrison and Kearny have older buildings the chances of a major fire increase each day. The real solution is to hire more fire fighters which won't happen.

I believe most volunteer towns have DPW guys who happen to be firefighters. There is state law regarding this saying the town must allow a town employee to respond to a fire call while working.

A combo department in Harrison would be a good idea. Just merge with East Newark if thats what they want to do. Go combo. Look at Nutley it has really worked well for them.

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Guest Retired Fire Fighter

As you know there is a difference between paid and volunteer. In a volunteer Department then the question becomes one of liability. If a person on duty as a DPW worker goes to a fire and gets injured who would be responsible for his/her medical bill and lost time. In some instances a paid fire fighter will respond but again the what if occurs. The IAFF has been fighting for years to bar professional fire fighters from being a member of a volunteer company because of this very issue.

Keeping the mutual aid agreements in place, while not perfect may be the best solution. And with regards to the incident in Harrison, there will be an investigation probably done by the state fire marshal. Their investigation won't be done by innuendo but will be done with care and if the town fire department is proven to be at fault then actions to correct the situation will be taken.

You know as a fire fighter that we plan for all situations and have fire plans in place for certain structures and especially large buildings. It always looks easy on paper until it isn't. That's why we train for these situations. I once was on a propane explosion that took out most of the block and sadly we lost a person in the building.

Merging both Harrison and East Newark might make sense but I can also see problems. I don't know if East Newark is a volunteer Company or not but I have seen the politics of a volunteer company and it can be worse than having a paid department.

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Guest *What needs to be done*

Thank you to everyone who responded to this post. It goes to show that the retired and former firefighters have the class and intelligence to entertain what my uncle thought up. Posting your real names would give the posts a bit more substance, And I'm sure that the Firemen in all three said departments that became firemen to be a help to the entire community and do so with good intentions. Would get a moral lift in the recent troubled times. Might be cool for you to pass by your former depts and give the men a clap on the back. That would really help out with all the mud slinging that has been going on as of late. Thank you again

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Guest Former FF

As you know there is a difference between paid and volunteer. In a volunteer Department then the question becomes one of liability. If a person on duty as a DPW worker goes to a fire and gets injured who would be responsible for his/her medical bill and lost time. In some instances a paid fire fighter will respond but again the what if occurs. The IAFF has been fighting for years to bar professional fire fighters from being a member of a volunteer company because of this very issue.

Keeping the mutual aid agreements in place, while not perfect may be the best solution. And with regards to the incident in Harrison, there will be an investigation probably done by the state fire marshal. Their investigation won't be done by innuendo but will be done with care and if the town fire department is proven to be at fault then actions to correct the situation will be taken.

You know as a fire fighter that we plan for all situations and have fire plans in place for certain structures and especially large buildings. It always looks easy on paper until it isn't. That's why we train for these situations. I once was on a propane explosion that took out most of the block and sadly we lost a person in the building.

Merging both Harrison and East Newark might make sense but I can also see problems. I don't know if East Newark is a volunteer Company or not but I have seen the politics of a volunteer company and it can be worse than having a paid department.

You are 100% right about the points you mention. As both a former paid and volunteer firefighter I've seen both sides. In regards to who is responsible for medical bills, it would be covered under workman's comp. All volunteer firefighters are considered employees of the town and are covered under this. In regards to time lost from work I am not sure. Maybe the town would cover it in the same way as if they got hurt as a DPW employee, I am not sure about this.

East Newark is volunteer and Harrison is paid. One thing I do know is Nutley is a perfect example of a combination department. Harrison and East Newark should get together and model after them, or look at Wood-Bridge. They also have a very good set up of combo. It works. It will make both towns safer.

You are right about the politics of a volunteer department. Especially when it comes to officer selections. Make sure the people are qualified at the very least.

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Thank you to everyone who responded to this post. It goes to show that the retired and former firefighters have the class and intelligence to entertain what my uncle thought up. Posting your real names would give the posts a bit more substance, And I'm sure that the Firemen in all three said departments that became firemen to be a help to the entire community and do so with good intentions. Would get a moral lift in the recent troubled times. Might be cool for you to pass by your former depts and give the men a clap on the back. That would really help out with all the mud slinging that has been going on as of late. Thank you again

You are right. Many of the firefighters in West Hudson do care about the community. But we must realize some of them have no ties what so ever and to them it's just a job. This is due to the NAACP lawsuit from the early 90's. Many of the recent firefighter hired were from out of the area and to them it's nothing more then a job. All the volunteers in East Newark are obviously locals tied in to the community and most of the HFD and KFD that have been on the department for awhile obviously have ties to. They care. But the issues at hand having nothing to do with individuals feelings. It has to do with current budget issues and the positions the towns are in due to recent economic troubles. The firefighters want to do the best, but they don't have the support they need due to budget cuts and manpower.

The fire leaders of West Hudson need to put politics aside, need to put paid vs volunteer ideas aside and come together to find a way to better serve all the residents. All 3 departments need each other.

Kearny FD recently has started using more M/A from across the river and that will eventually bite them in the ass when the shit hits the fan. Resources that take 20 plus minutes to arrive should not be counted on as your first call for help. Wake up before a Kearny resident perishes next. All the West Hudson towns should be the first call to work together. I swear if a relative of mine dies in a fire in Kearny and Jersey City FD is the first call for mutual aid at the fire, I will sue and I will make sure the town pays dearly, no settlement, I will make sure a jury gives my family a hefty reward.

And just wait, next time there is a little fire in Kearny and the whole department is there. Wait for the second emergency call to come in... when Jersey City is still 15 minutes out and there is that GAP coverage because they chose not to contact the neighboring departments first for aid again, I hope who ever loses life or property because of it will make sure you pay dearly. Kearny hope you increased your insurance policy because with decisions like this you are going to need it. I promise.

The only real solution for the area is for the 3 towns to work closely together. Maybe the problem is the Harrison Fire Director isn't talking to other local department heads just like he isn't talking to the media I don't know. The guy seems to be a phantom these days. When it's time to lead, lead if you can't lead step aside. Let someone else do it.

As for the HFD well I hope they get there shit together. None of those guys deserve to lose their jobs. They work hard with little resources they have. East Newark use to be automatic on fires, well they seemed to have stopped that since the last 3 fires ENFD did not respond at all. Same dispatch would have been easy and quick. Who knows a block and half or so away maybe they get there first if enough guys were around, maybe they don't. Maybe a life is saved, maybe it's the same outcome. The truth is no one knows. One thing for certain is when you put pride and as someone quoted earlier "ego's" ahead of life and safety you've missed out the whole reason fire departments exist. Time to go back to the drawing board Harrison cause your new philosophy just failed and resulted in a death.

As for East Newark... well what can you say... volunteers... when called upon they help with as much as they can... when they aren't called... well they don't help...

One thing is for sure. It's time for change. It's time to again put life, property and safety first. It's time to re-organize mutual aid or combine these departments.

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Guest ciCitizen with children

Well said doc13mets... what's the purpose of putting pride or ego before saving LIFE & PROPERTY. Last I read that's the main objective of a Fire Department. To save LIFE & PROPERTY. were does it end

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Guest observer

Way to try and scare the public! Fortunately, your tirade didn't seem to amount to more than an attempt to discredit E.Newark an try to convince everyone in Harrison that they are going to burn to death tomorrow. If your on the list that was a sad way to go about trying to get hired! Harrison employees are already taking a major hit on their medical benefits to keep just the current staffing. Hiring at this point is off the table.

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Guest Guest

The average response time from the first mutual aid companies from "across the river is the s, ame as the engine in South Kearny" so lets not exaggerate the time. Secondly Harrison is on the same alarm as Jersey City. If somebody dies calling help from either East Newark, Harrison, Belleville or North Arlington will not matter. If the first alarm companies can not get that person out when they get there, by the time mutual aid gets inside the chances of anybody still being alive are slim to none.

Besides that there has been 3 recent fires that East Newark has messed up big time at. The first being North Arlginton when they were tasked to get a secondary water supply they first did not boost pressure when they were pumping from 1000ft away. Then when they did the engine they showed up with barely had any fuel, and they had to be switched out with a Secaucus engine who had enough fuel to keep the fire fighting efforts going! Then they show up to the garden apartment fire in Harrison, their chief goes to the roof and on video is seen not wearing gloves as he punches holes in the roof down wind of the fire spreading it further along down the cockloft! Finally the famous backdraft video where once again the chief is now watching current and former members in street clothes advance a hose line into a garage door that is charged with smoke!!! So if anything it sounds to me like maybe the KFD is concerned with the protection of its members and thats why now Jersey City is called before East Newark.

And before you start with the conspiracy theories that its paid vs volunteer, North Arlington still gets called to Kearny.

Edited by KOTW
The above is opinion. KOTW has not verified the statments

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Guest Fed UP

Doc,

Good points the three towns do need to work together. The biggest inhibitor is the Director in HFD while he is a former Chief he is a politician first. He is part of the Mayors Puppet regime.

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Guest An O

They will never work together until HFD has a true chief now it's run by committee. Director former chief. And mayor all just worried about their salaries not the residents.

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Guest Legal Owl

You are right. Many of the firefighters in West Hudson do care about the community. But we must realize some of them have no ties what so ever and to them it's just a job. This is due to the NAACP lawsuit from the early 90's. Many of the recent firefighter hired were from out of the area and to them it's nothing more then a job. All the volunteers in East Newark are obviously locals tied in to the community and most of the HFD and KFD that have been on the department for awhile obviously have ties to. They care. But the issues at hand having nothing to do with individuals feelings. It has to do with current budget issues and the positions the towns are in due to recent economic troubles. The firefighters want to do the best, but they don't have the support they need due to budget cuts and manpower.

The fire leaders of West Hudson need to put politics aside, need to put paid vs volunteer ideas aside and come together to find a way to better serve all the residents. All 3 departments need each other.

Kearny FD recently has started using more M/A from across the river and that will eventually bite them in the ass when the shit hits the fan. Resources that take 20 plus minutes to arrive should not be counted on as your first call for help. Wake up before a Kearny resident perishes next. All the West Hudson towns should be the first call to work together. I swear if a relative of mine dies in a fire in Kearny and Jersey City FD is the first call for mutual aid at the fire, I will sue and I will make sure the town pays dearly, no settlement, I will make sure a jury gives my family a hefty reward.

And just wait, next time there is a little fire in Kearny and the whole department is there. Wait for the second emergency call to come in... when Jersey City is still 15 minutes out and there is that GAP coverage because they chose not to contact the neighboring departments first for aid again, I hope who ever loses life or property because of it will make sure you pay dearly. Kearny hope you increased your insurance policy because with decisions like this you are going to need it. I promise.

The only real solution for the area is for the 3 towns to work closely together. Maybe the problem is the Harrison Fire Director isn't talking to other local department heads just like he isn't talking to the media I don't know. The guy seems to be a phantom these days. When it's time to lead, lead if you can't lead step aside. Let someone else do it.

As for the HFD well I hope they get there shit together. None of those guys deserve to lose their jobs. They work hard with little resources they have. East Newark use to be automatic on fires, well they seemed to have stopped that since the last 3 fires ENFD did not respond at all. Same dispatch would have been easy and quick. Who knows a block and half or so away maybe they get there first if enough guys were around, maybe they don't. Maybe a life is saved, maybe it's the same outcome. The truth is no one knows. One thing for certain is when you put pride and as someone quoted earlier "ego's" ahead of life and safety you've missed out the whole reason fire departments exist. Time to go back to the drawing board Harrison cause your new philosophy just failed and resulted in a death.

As for East Newark... well what can you say... volunteers... when called upon they help with as much as they can... when they aren't called... well they don't help...

One thing is for sure. It's time for change. It's time to again put life, property and safety first. It's time to re-organize mutual aid or combine these departments.

Not sure where I come out on providing fire services in Harrison and Kearny, but your threats on filing a lawsuit are misguided. Here's the basic law in New Jersey on liability for municipal public services. Last I checked, firefighting is not a private function.

1. Where a municipality pursues a private function, its

liability is coextensive with that of a private person similarly

engaged.

2. If the function is governmental, a municipality is not

liable for either its neglect to perform or its negligence in the

performance of such duty, and the same rule applies where the

default is on the part of its employees.

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Not sure where I come out on providing fire services in Harrison and Kearny, but your threats on filing a lawsuit are misguided. Here's the basic law in New Jersey on liability for municipal public services. Last I checked, firefighting is not a private function.

1. Where a municipality pursues a private function, its

liability is coextensive with that of a private person similarly

engaged.

2. If the function is governmental, a municipality is not

liable for either its neglect to perform or its negligence in the

performance of such duty, and the same rule applies where the

default is on the part of its employees.

Could be get a reference source for this? I could creativly write something...

1. Where a municipality pursues a private function, its

liability is coextensive with that of a private person similarly

engaged.

2. If the function is governmental, a municipality is

liable, if negligence is proven by a jury, in the

performance of such duty, and the same rule applies where the

default is on the part of its employees.

3. A municipality is at fault on Tuesdays and Thursdays if

negligence is present. The county is at fault on Monday, Wednesday

and Friday if negligence is present. The state is at fault on Saturday and

Sundays, excluding Christmas and Easter when the municipality is always

at fault.

Look I can just randomly create laws with no basis or reference too.

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Guest Legal Owl Too

Really, when someone disagrees with you, your response is to belittle him? You can't accept that you were wrong?

The answer to your question is: numerous times by the NJ Supreme Court beginning with Freeholders of Sussex v. Strader in 1834, and regularly upheld since then including Osback v. Lyndhurst.

Think about it. Have you ever heard of a NEGLIGENCE lawsuit against a police or fire department?

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Guest retired fire fighter

There are two reasons that a Town will call for Mutual Aid. When the decision is made the request may be for an engine company to stand by at the station so that there is sufficient coverage because the Department will be tied up on the fire scene and the station is manned by a different department to cover any additional calls. Or they are requested to report directly to the scene for equipment and man power assistance.

I read the article in the Observer and cannot understand why no one from the Town of Harrison was there. To get the information on the meeting from another Mayor is inexcusable. There should have been a report prepared explaining in writing what they felt went right, what went wrong and how any problems can be addressed in the future.

When a fire fighter is hired whether that person is from Kearny or anywhere else, they come to the station for one purpose and that is to protect life and property. It's not just a job to them. When they respond to a call they are putting their lives on the line and will fight to protect life and property. This commitment is unwavering and absolute.

The Fire Departments from the four towns could and should be holding joint training together so that each Department can learn to work as a team and assist a town like East Newark to be better prepared. The volunteers are good people who want to protect their Town but there are probably times when they cannot get enough fire fighters to respond because of work schedules.

Does the Harrison Fire Department have a Command Structure besides having a Director? If they were to decide to hire a Chief where is the money to pay him or her going to come from. I hope they do get a grant to hire more personnel and that Kearny also gets money to hire additional personnel. Being the Chief of the Department is a hard position because he has the responsibility not only for staffing but insuring that the Town has the right equipment. Having to replace old equipment and keeping the existing equipment in proper working condition is an expensive proposition that can eat up a large portion of his budget. Requesting funding for new equipment in an already tight budget is difficult and he has to be both a chief and politician if he wants to get what he needs.

I hate to say this, but if you want to insure your town is protected than you also need to pay more in taxes to see that it happens. With the Federal and state money drying up you are going to have to decide whether you want to make the investment or not. If you choose not to then you essentially end up getting the Department you pay for. Regardless of how you feel personally about your town fire fighters when the alarm sounds they come to do their jobs and they do it well.

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Guest Guest

Really, when someone disagrees with you, your response is to belittle him? You can't accept that you were wrong?

The answer to your question is: numerous times by the NJ Supreme Court beginning with Freeholders of Sussex v. Strader in 1834, and regularly upheld since then including Osback v. Lyndhurst.

Think about it. Have you ever heard of a NEGLIGENCE lawsuit against a police or fire department?

They happen all the time..... They dont GO Anywhere, but they do happen. the Police are Indemnified by several SCOTUS rulings, that show, absent some "Special Relationship", the Police can't be held responsible for the safety of an individual, mainly because the police cannot be everywhere at once. I dont know if there are any similar Appellate, US DIstrict, or SCOTUS rulings concerning FD's

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