October is Fire Prevention Month
Hunterdon County has 30 fire companies who are first due in our 26 towns. All of Hunterdon’s fire companies are volunteer, while some have begun to augment their volunteers with paid daytime staff. These men and women spend countless hours training, learning and responding to several thousand calls each year in Hunterdon County. This month is Fire Prevention Month, which provides a reminder that each of us can play a part in keeping our county safe. Some important reminders from the National Fire Protection Association:
- Half of home fire deaths result from fires reported between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. when most people are asleep. Only one in five home fires were reported during these hours.
- One quarter of home fire deaths were caused by fires that started in the bedroom. Another quarter resulted from fires in the living room, family room or den.
- On average, seven people die in U.S. home fires per day.
- Cooking equipment is the leading cause of home fire injuries, followed by heating equipment.
- Smoking materials are the leading cause of home fire deaths.
- During 2009-2013, roughly one of every 335 households had a reported home fire per year.
- Three out of five home fire deaths in 2009-2013 were caused by fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
- Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in reported home fires in half.
- When smoke alarms fail to operate, it is usually because batteries are missing, disconnected, or dead.
Hunterdon County government plays an integral role in the fire service. Hunterdon County’s training center is where most of our firefighters first get trained and continue to practice and expand their skills. All calls to 911 are answered by Hunterdon County Communications. Our dispatchers then alert the appropriate fire company and assist in fire ground communications throughout an incident.
As part of our ongoing effort to improve the safety of our citizens, Hunterdon County recently hired a new leader for Hunterdon County Communications, Jim Curry from Alexandria Twp. Jim’s role as the new Director of Communications is leading a staff of dozens of dispatchers and technical assistants to manage our 911 call center. Jim brings 30 years of experience in law enforcement and emergency management to the job. He also was a volunteer firefighter and EMT.
The fire service in Hunterdon in many ways acts like one fire company with 30 stations. Through the assistance of the Hunterdon County Fire Coordinator and the Hunterdon County Chiefs Association, mutual aid services and various task forces respond across municipal borders to bring the needed resources to keep our residents safe.
So please take some time this month to check your smoke detectors, make a family escape plan, examine your house for fire hazards and above all, thank your local fire company.