Barnegat Admin Explains Fire Department Consolidation
Barnegat Township officials are hoping to clear up any misinformation after council members recently voted to consolidate its two fire companies into to one.
Township Administrator David Breeden said first, they plan to keep the doors of the Pinewood Estates Volunteer Company open and active. He said the move will enhance safety to the western side of the township where several mobile home communities are located. However, its leadership will be concentrated under the Barnegat Volunteer Fire Company where only residents will be allowed to participate.
"So as a result of the consolidation, Barnegat Fire members who live in town will be stationed at the Pinewood Estates Fire Company. The township is not closing the fire station," Breeden explained.
It appears to be a winning formula since Breeden said the response times of the Barnegat Volunteer Fire Company is faster than the Pinewood Estates Company. He also added that the Barnegat department also already responds to 90% of the fires in the township anyway and he's got the numbers to prove it. Breeden said in 2013 the Barnegat Company responded to over 400 calls while the Pinewood Estates responded to roughly 72.
Breeden said the township will also be able to realize cost savings of approximately $1.1 million dollars since we will not have to go out and bond this year for additional fire apparatus and equipment."
The Barnegat First Aid Squad will also be placing an EMS rig at the Pinewood Estates facility to quickly respond to medical emergencies as well.
In a written statement: Breeden said "This greatly improved level of fire and first aid service will be achieved at less expense to the Township, allowing additional funds to be allocated to other areas of need in the Township, such as replacement of police officers and law enforcement equipment necessary to keep the town safe."