Lakewood Career and Volunteer Fire Fighters Protect the Town
Fire protection for the approximately 93,000 Lakewood citizens comes from the Lakewood Career Fire Department and the Lakewood Volunteer Fire Department, dedicated people who are always here for the town, seven days a week, 24 hours a day, holidays, weekends, and workdays; and like the post office through rain, sleet, or cold weather only in more dangerous circumstances.
Both departments recently participated in training at Ocean County Fire and First Aid Training Academy, Waretown, to hone their skills. Forty-two Lakewood volunteer and career firefighters worked with four instructors from the training company Fire Fighter University, made up of exchiefs and firemen from New York City, Newark, and Jersey City fire departments, who provide training seven days a week for fire departments, such as Lakewood.
Committeeman Meir Lichtenstein said, “Our Fire Department continues to pro actively train so as to be ready to protect our town. We are so grateful for their constant dedication.”
The Lakewood training session, which began at 8:00 a.m., incorporated the use of two ladder trucks, four engines, a salvage truck, and the fire police. It also included an interior attack evolution during which firemen bring hoses inside to fight the fire, ground ladder rescue from a window, a truck company search and rescue, and ladder tower operation and techniques.
Steve McNamara, # 7410, first assistant Fire Chief of both the career and volunteer fire fighters, said, “Our fire companies conduct drills once a month to keep our skills sharp. This particular training was an overall exercise in which all departments work together. The Ladies’ Auxiliary even brought us breakfast, lunch and water.”
Lakewood has a two-pronged approach to firefighting, a combination fire department made up of career firefighters and volunteers. The career firemen handle incidents, such as oven fires, CO calls, and smaller calls. When there is a more serious fire, the career fire fighters put out a General Alarm, and the entire fire department and all volunteer firemen respond.
“This works out well for the entire town of Lakewood, not only helping people but keeping taxes lower,” said Chief McNamara. “Most towns with 100,000 people have just a career fire department with a budget of around $25 million. We operate on an eighth of that, a $3-4 million budget. We owe a special thanks to our devoted and hard-working volunteers.”
According to Chief McNamara, about 50-60 active firefighters and fire police members make up the Lakewood Volunteer Department, founded in 1888. The volunteer fire stations are located on 119 First Street, 1350 Lanes Mills Road, 976 New Hampshire Avenue, 300 River Avenue, and 733 Cedarbridge Avenue. Fire Chief Todd Stark’s office and the Lakewood Fire Police are at 40 Clover Street. Two paid “Career” Lakewood Fire Stations, #74 at 735 Cedarbridge Avenue and #74-1 at 800 Monmouth Avenue, cover Lakewood, one on each end of town.
Chief McNamara says, “We can always use help.” To get an application go to www.lakewoodnjvolunteerfd.org and follow the link to apply.