Fire Dept. protects town
Outlines plans for the coming year & beyond
HAMMONTON—The Hammonton Fire Department, which consists of Hammonton Volunteer Fire Co. No. 1 and Hammonton Independent Volunteer Fire Co. No. 2, is looking ahead to what 2023 has in store in terms of protecting the community and homeowners from fires.
Hammonton Fire Chief Sean Macri, Assistant Fire Chief Jim Day and Administrator Domenick Digiovannangelo have been working hard to move everything forward, trying to update equipment with the newer technology to make everyone’s lives easier.
“We’re doing continuous training and just bringing everyone up to speed to where we’re comfortable and we have to constantly train, and that goes without saying, we have to train all the time with everything,” Macri said.
With hybrid and electric cars now on the roads, Digiovannangelo stated that the fire department has specialty classes that train the firefighters to safely take people out of these cars and disconnect the power, which they consider as ongoing training and it constantly updates as the technology updates. The department trains once a month, sometimes twice a month.
“Right now with winter in store, we’ll be doing classroom activities and once the spring hits, we’ll be outside training on buildings out back,” Day said. “Number one, we’ll be doing rescue simulations with cars and our training goes with the weather, too. We’re constantly training.”
“That’s not counting that the state and county itself requires you to have 200 hours of schooling just to get you certified just to be a firefighter,” Digiovannangelo said.
The fire department is moving forward with two new command vehicles and a newly-purchased engine that they are currently waiting for delivery, which they said could be a year away due to ongoing circumstances with supply and demand. Macri stated that he has a meeting with Mayor Steve DiDonato later this month to replace the fire tower.
“The town itself the last couple of years have been very grateful to the department and as the times change, the technology changes probably more than once a year,” Day said.
In terms of new equipment that the fire department will be seeking for 2023, they will be acquiring air bags for the new engine and highway rescue tools such as lifting struts like pyrotechnic hydro fusions.
“We’ve had a couple of incidents with large vehicles and they require special tools so we’re moving forward with updating the tools we have to do the job we needed to do,” Macri said. “Other than that, we update hoses all the time, and our turnout gear which is our protective clothing. We have to update so often that we update as we see fit.”
The town of Hammonton runs every call with both fire companies, with Macri, Day and Digiovannangelo working together to run every call.
“When the pager goes off for any kind of fire or rescue emergency situation, there is no station 1 and 2, it’s the department and everyone goes together,” Macri said.
The fire department is always involved at a community event once or twice a month and will start looking at the community events for 2023 to volunteer.
“Like New Year’s Eve this past week, we were out at midnight for firework details plus fire prevention, we’re at the school all week,” Day said. “Downtown Trick-or-Treat, we’re invited to everything.”
Digiovannangelo also added that while they get invited to everything, sometimes they’re not able to attend because they’re at other events.
“They have two or three events in a day and everybody wants you there but unfortunately, you kind of have to go with a bigger one,” Digiovannangelo said.
The fire department is still counting the totals of incidents that they have fought but as of current record, they have fought approximately 500 to 525 overall incidents for 2022, with actual fires being 20 to 25, according to both Macri and Digiovannangelo.
Regarding homeowners and commercial property owners who are trying to keep their homes and properties from fires and incidents, Digiovannangelo advised that those who live near the woods or heavily watered areas to keep the leaves raked back and the trees back on the property and to store their fuels in proper containers or in storage sheds.
“Don’t put them in a plastic jar, have it marked as gas and put in a separate space because a lot of times, they’ll cause fires,” Digiovannangelo said.
Day also emphasized being able to have clearly-lit addresses to make it easier for the fire department to track these addresses and Macri also advised homeowners to keep up with the smoke detectors in the house.
“If they need batteries changed, change them and if they need to be changed out because they’re too old, change them out and if they have any questions, they can always contact the fire prevention bureau or myself,” Macri said.