City of Hackensack to Pursue Automatic Aid Agreements
With Nearby Municipalities After Recommendations From Fire Safety Audit
Comprehensive Report Shows That Department’s Current Staffing Level Meets NFPA Standards
The City of Hackensack is announcing that it will pursue automatic fire safety aid agreements with nearby municipalities in order to enhance public safety in a fiscally responsible manner. The City Council ordered a comprehensive review of the Hackensack Fire Department in March 2022 as part of its ongoing efforts to improve public safety in the city. The report by risk management firm Lexipol states that the current staffing level of the Hackensack Fire Department exceeds National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards for response to structure fires in moderately sized residential dwellings.
The 173 page report by Lexipol lists 79 recommendations, none of which include increasing staffing levels. The primary recommendation is to establish automatic aid which is assistance dispatched automatically between two communities or fire districts to all first alarm structural fires, rather than waiting until a second alarm as is current practice under the existing mutual aid system. The Lexipol report recommended reaching automatic aid agreements with the Teaneck Fire Department and Englewood Fire Department, both of which are highly respected paid fire departments located minutes away from Hackensack. In addition, the report states that pre-incident response plans should be developed for major structures throughout the City.
“Nothing is more important to the members of the City Council and I than keeping our residents safe, and we are incredibly proud of the job that the men and women of the Hackensack Fire Department do each and every day,” said Mayor John Labrosse. “It is gratifying to see that the actions we have taken have allowed our fire department to maintain the staffing level needed to protect our city, and we are working to enter into these automatic fire safety aid agreements to further enhance our ability to respond to major fires while keeping costs under control and protecting our taxpayers.”
“The City of Hackensack has entered into many shared service agreements in order to improve services while containing costs, including a pending agreement with the Teaneck Fire Department to provide fire dispatch services, and we are making it one of our top priorities to implement an Automatic Aid Agreement as soon as possible. Ensuring the safety of our residents is paramount to the City of Hackensack,” said City Manager Vincent Caruso.
As one of the few paid fire departments in Bergen County, the Hackensack Fire Department maintains one of the fastest response times in the area. City officials are committed to continuing to closely monitor HFD’s staffing level to ensure that its capabilities are sufficient as the city continues to grow.