North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue

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North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue
North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue Logo.png
Operational area
Country  United States
State  New Jersey
County Hudson
Agency overview[1]
Established 1999 (1999)
Staffing Career
Fire chief Frank Montagne
Facilities and equipment
Divisions 1
Battalions 3
Stations 14
Engines 6
Tillers 3
Platforms 1
Squads 4 (rescue pumpers)
Rescues 1
Tenders 1
HAZMAT 1
USAR 1
Fireboats 2
Light and air 1
Website
Official website
IAFF website

North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue provides fire protection and emergency medical services to portions Hudson County, New Jersey. Included in their protection area are the communities of North Bergen, Union City, Weehawken, West New York, and Guttenberg.[1]

The department is part of the Metro USAR Strike Team, which consists of nine North Jersey fire departments and other emergency services divisions working to address major emergency rescue situations.[2]

History[edit]

North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue's Fire Headquarters, located in West New York.

Discussions to consolidate the North Hudson fire departments began in the early 1980s.[3]

The North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue (NHRFR) was established on January 11, 1999. The former fire departments of North Bergen, Union City, Weehawken, West New York, and Guttenberg were merged to provide a safer, more efficient fire department.[4][5] The department is divided into three battalions, which comprise a fire apparatus fleet of six engines, four ladders, four squads, one rescue, and one fire boat, that operate out of 15 fire stations, located throughout the five communities.

NHRFR Squad 2 operating at a fire in Union City

The agency created a new headquarters on Port Imperial Boulevard in West New York in 2007 to serve the waterfront area.[6][7]

North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue was among the many Hudson County agencies that responded to the January 2009 crash of Flight 1549, for which they received accolades from the survivors.[8][9]

In July 2009, North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue began closing their Rescue Company and the rotational closings of three engine companies. The following January, two buildings adjacent to Engine Company 9 burned down while the company was closed.[10]

The organization opened a two-story firehouse in June 2010 at 4300 Kennedy Boulevard, purchased for $1.2 million, and renovated for $1.5 million, in part with a $500,000 federal grant. The building will house Engine Company 5, formerly housed in a building a block away that Union City Mayor Brian P. Stack described as "antiquated", as well as Rescue Company 1. Stack further stated that the Kennedy Boulevard location, which is actually located off Kennedy Boulevard, would give the firefighters easier access to the area, as Kennedy Boulevard is a four-lane road that runs through the entire county, whereas the previous location was situated in the middle of a block. The agency's dispatch center, which was formed 30 years previously, also moved to a new state-of-the-art facility at the new location, as the equipment at its former, less spacious location at 50th Street and Broadway was deemed outdated.[6]

The agency rotated the closing of various firehouses for certain hours in order to save money until July 2010, when it closed two of its firehouses, according to NHRFR chairperson and Weehawken Mayor Richard F. Turner, in order to allow the remaining 16 to stay open 24 hours, and save $500,000 in overtime costs from July 1 until the end of 2010. Turner further disclosed that the newly implemented Strategic Reorganization Plan, which took two years to create, would also save additional funds. Though Turner insisted that this would not affect performance, Dominick Marino, the head of the North Hudson Firefighters Association, reacted to the closings by stating that this would sacrifice response time from certain locations, and that with the closing of Ladder 2, the agency would not have enough firefighters. According to Marino, "Evidence shows that [a ladder and engine] responding at the same time eliminates the circumstances a lot quicker than having to wait." Marino further asserted that the closing of Engine 6 would mean that the entire west area of North Bergen would lose coverage, and that the promotion of 22 people to higher ranks in the last week of June, including 14 captains, five battalion chiefs and two deputies, meant that there was insufficient personnel to keep the houses open. Turner stated that hiring would be considered, based on upcoming retirements.[11] Turner later stated the intention to hire new members in early 2011.[12]

Fox 5 News reporter Lisa Evers reporting on a January 2012 Union City fire to which the NHRFR responded.

The agency's 2010 budget, which was passed on August 17, 2010, is $55.9 million, a 3% increase from the previous year's budget of $54.2 million, with the largest increase in health benefits, which are covered by Horizon Blue Cross. (The NHRFR was previously covered by Cigna.) The August 17 meeting also saw the passing of a resolution allowing the agency to pay contractual terminal benefits, or retirement packages, to firefighters over the course of the five years following their retirement, instead of entirely within the year of their retirement. This resolution followed the passing a New Jersey state law (N.J.S.A.40A:4-53) that NHRFR officials indicated supersedes contractual obligations with unions.[12]

On December 12, 2011, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the squad's hiring policy discriminated against African-Americans, because it only accepted residents of local towns, who are predominantly Latino and Caucasian. The lawsuit, which was filed in 2007 by the Newark branch of the NAACP on behalf of three black firefighters, was the latest development in a longstanding controversy over whether the NHRFR should hire applicants from outside towns.[13]

In July 2014, the NHRFR launched Marine 1, a new fireboat obtained through a 2010 $1.2 million FEMA port security grant. Marine 1 was specially designed by Chief Frank Montagne for the areas served by the NHRFR, which include buildings and walkways situated very close to the edge of the Hudson River. Manufactured by Metal Craft Marine in Ontario, Canada, Marine 1 can operate in less than two feet of water, and carries four hose guns capable of supplying 4,250 gallons of water per minute and 100 gallons of firefighting foam for combustible liquid fire. It is also equipped with infrared cameras and night vision googles. It joins a smaller, 27-foot-long quick response boat that was also acquired through a grant two years earlier. Both boats are docked at Lincoln Harbor in Weehawken.[14]

Stations and apparatus[edit]

Tower Ladder 3's quarters in West New York
Engine 4 and Deputy 1's quarters in Union City

As of May 2015 below is a list of the stations and apparatus of North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue.[15]

Engine Company Ladder Company Squad Company Special Unit Chief Battalion Address Municipality
Engine 1 1 917 Paterson Plank Road North Bergen
Squad 1 Rescue 1, Rescue 2 (USAR Collapse Unit) Battalion 2 2 4300 John F. Kennedy Boulevard Union City
Ladder 1 Squad 2 Battalion 1 1 1600 New York Avenue Union City
Engine 3 Marine 1, Marine 2 1 1900 Willow Avenue Weehawken
Engine 4 Foam Unit 1 Deputy 1 1 541 29th Street Union City
Engine 5 2 4610 Park Avenue Weehawken
Squad 7 Field Comm. 1, USAR (Urban Search And Rescue) Collapse Shoring Unit 2 11 Port Imperial Boulevard (Fire Headquarters) West New York
Engine 9 Battalion 3 3 6237 John F. Kennedy Boulevard North Bergen
Squad 10 3 6510 Hudson Avenue West New York
Engine 13 3 7507 Hudson Avenue North Bergen
Tower Ladder 3 2 4911 Broadway West New York
Ladder 4 3 428 60th Street West New York
Ladder 5 3 8311 John F. Kennedy Boulevard North Bergen
Safety/Mask Service Unit 1 3 6801 Madison Street Guttenberg

Closed NHRFR Companies[edit]

* Squad Company 6 - 1809 44th St., North Bergen - Closed 2011
* Engine Company 7 - 303 47th St., Union City - Closed 1999
* Engine Company 11 - 580 66th St., West New York - Closed 2011
* Engine Company 12 - 6301 Madison St., Guttenberg - Closed 2008 - Reorganized as Squad 7 and Relocated to HQ.
* Engine Company 14 - 625 61st St., West New York - Closed 1999
* Ladder Company 2 - 541 29th St., Union City - Closed 2011

Former Municipality Department Companies[edit]

* North Bergen Engine 661 - 6237 Kennedy Blvd., North Bergen (Now NHRFR Engine 9)
* North Bergen Engine 662 - 917 Paterson Plank Rd., North Bergen (Now NHRFR Engine 1)
* North Bergen Engine 663 - 1809 46th St., North Bergen (Squad 6, Closed)
* North Bergen Engine 664 - 7507 Hudson Ave., North Bergen (Now NHRFR Engine 13)
* North Bergen Engine 665 - 4233 John F. Kennedy Blvd., North Bergen (Closed, North Bergen Town Hall )
* North Bergen Engine 666 - 6400 Tonnelle Ave., North Bergen (Spare, Closed, NBFD/NHRFR HQ Moved)
* North Bergen Truck 668 - 8311 Kennedy Blvd., North Bergen (Now NHRFR Ladder 5)
* North Bergen Truck 669 - 4233 Kennedy Blvd., North Bergen (Closed, North Bergen Town Hall)
* North Bergen Rescue 1 - 6400 Tonnelle Ave., North Bergen (Closed, Former NBFD/NHRFR HQ)    
* North Bergen Deputy Chief 667 - 6237 Kennedy Blvd., North Bergen (Now NHRFR Battalion 3)
* North Bergen Mask Service 1 - 6400 Tonnelle Ave., North Bergen (6801 Madison ave.)
* North Bergen Spotlight 1 - 6400 Tonnelle Ave., North Bergen (Closed, NBFD/NHRFR HQ Moved)
* North Bergen Marine 1 - 1809 46th St., North Bergen (Now NHRFR Marine 1, Weehawken Waterfront)
* Union City Engine 21 - 541 29th St., Union City (Now NHRFR Engine 4, Deputy 1)
* Union City Engine 22 - 1003 Central Ave., Union City (Now NHRFR Squad 2, Ladder 1, Battalion 1)
* Union City Engine 23 - 541 29th St., Union City (Now NHRFR Engine 4, Deputy 1)
* Union City Engine 24 - 314 34th St., Union City
* Union City Engine 25 - 417 43rd St., Union City (Now Union City Police Dept.)
* Union City Engine 26 - 303 47th St., Union City
* Union City Engine 27 - 303 47th St., Union City
* Union City Ladder 11 - 1003 Central Ave., Union City (Now NHRFR Squad 2, Ladder 1, Battalion 1)
* Union City Ladder 12 - 541 29th St., Union City (Now NHRFR Engine 4, Deputy 1)
* Union City Ladder 13 - 417 43rd St., Union City (Now Union City Police Dept.)
* Weehawken Engine 201 - 1818 Willow Ave., Weehawken (Now NHRFR Engine 3)
* Weehawken Engine 202 - 143 Jane St., Weehawken (Now Weehawken Police Dept.)
* Weehawken Engine 203 - 4610 Park Ave., Weehawken (Now NHRFR Engine 5)
* Weehawken Engine 204 - 50 Duer Pl., Weehawken
* Weehawken Ladder 221 - 4610 Park Ave., Weehawken (Now NHRFR Engine 5)
* Weehawken Ladder 222 - 1818 Willow Ave., Weehawken (Now NHRFR Engine 3)
* Weehawken Rescue 1 - 50 Duer Pl., Weehawken
* West New York Engine 303 - 6510 Hudson Ave., West New York (Now NHRFR Squad 10)
* West New York Engine 304 - 4901 Broadway Ave., West New York (Now NHRFR Ladder Tower 3)
* West New York Engine 305 - 625 61st St., West New York
* West New York Engine 306 - 580 66th St., West New York (Now West New York EMS)
* West New York Ladder 321 - 428 60th St., West New York (Now NHRFR Ladder 4)
* West New York Deputy 355 - 428 60th St., West New York (Now NHRFR Ladder 4)
* Guttenberg Engine 501 - 6301 Madison St., Guttenberg (Now NHRFR Safety/M.S.U. 1)
* Guttenberg Engine 502 - 6810 Park Ave., Guttenberg (Now Guttenberg Police Dept.)
* Guttenberg Ladder 523 - 6810 Park Ave., Guttenberg (Now Guttenberg Police Dept.)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "About". North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue. Retrieved 29 May 2015. 
  2. ^ Steadman, Andrew. "Bayonne firefighters participate in mock disaster drills in Newark", The Jersey Journal, May 1, 2012. Accessed June 6, 2016. "According to the press release, the Metro USAR Strike Team is made up of nine fire departments from Bayonne, Elizabeth, Hackensack, Hoboken, Jersey City, Newark, Paterson, Morristown as well as the five-municipality North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue Agency."
  3. ^ "New Jersey Journal". The New York Times. April 12, 1981. Retrieved 2011-01-27. 
  4. ^ North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue History page Accessed January 14, 2009
  5. ^ Smothers, Ronald (January 12, 1999). "Regional Fire Service Succeeds in Its First Test". New York Times. Retrieved 2011-01-27. 
  6. ^ a b Tirella, Tricia (June 13, 2010). "New firehouse for regional squad" The Union City Reporter. pp. 3 and 7.
  7. ^ North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue at Firefighting News; Accessed June 16, 2010
  8. ^ "Miracle on the Hudson' survivors to return to waterfront", The Union City Reporter, July 26, 2009, Page 4
  9. ^ Tricia Tirella. "A pat on the back" The Union City Reporter; Pages 5 & 17
  10. ^ Hack, Charles. "North Bergen fire ruins two buildings two doors down from closed firehouse" Jersey Journal/NJ.com; January 18, 2010
  11. ^ Tirella, Tricia (July 4, 2010). "North Hudson FD closes two firehouses", The Union City Reporter. pp. 3 and 15
  12. ^ a b Tirella, Tricia (September 5, 2010). "Regional fire dept. budget up 3 percent". The Union City Reporter. pp. 5 and 7.
  13. ^ "Briefs". The Union City Reporter. December 18, 2011. pp. 2 and 5.
  14. ^ Schwartz, Art (July 27, 2014). "River patrol". The Union City Reporter. pp. 1, 8 and 9.
  15. ^ "Locations". North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue. Retrieved 29 May 2015.