Picatinny's fire department promotes 'service before self'

By Jacob McAfee, Fire Chief, Picatinny Arsenal Fire DepartmentAugust 30, 2016

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(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J.--How much do you know about your local fire department?

Recently, there have been changes to Picatinny Arsenal's Fire Department. In March, Jacob McAfee was sworn in as the Arsenal's new fire chief. New Assistant Chief Jeremy Rebok was welcomed on board, and the department promoted four new officers: David Parker was promoted to Deputy Fire Chief; Paul Wind to Battalion Chief of Training; Bill Erichsen to Captain; and Steven Shatzel to Captain.

The department also underwent a rigorous Installation Management Command Army level inspection during which our members did exceptionally well and received the highest marks possible during our exercises. In addition, the fire department will be leading multiple new initiatives that help to improve its outreach and make our community safer through education, community involvement, and highly trained and highly educated professionals. Some of the upcoming initiatives include:

• "Reading is more fun with a firefighter," a program designed to interact with our kids at their educational level in an informal and fun setting.

• Home safety checks (smoke/carbon monoxide detectors/extinguishers/general fire safety).

• Numerous information and safety publications.

• Fire department community days.

• Fire Prevention Week

• Car seat safety checks.

• Community Town Halls

• Fire department magazine.

• Firefighting 101 learning sessions


Picatinny's department provides an active Fire Prevention division that performs fire inspections and code enforcement, organizes public education events, performs fire investigations, and reviews plans for construction projects. To handle emergency response the department is staffed with 12 firefighters and one shift supervisor, 365 days per year 24/7, and are capable of mitigating:

• Structural fire response.

• Emergency medical services.

• Response to natural and man-made disasters

• Wildland firefighting.

• Hazardous materials response.

• Technical rescue

• Water rescue

• Automobile extrication

• High/Low angle rescue

• Confined space rescue

• Structure collapse awareness

Its members also provide CPR and first-aid training, fire extinguisher training, and fire warden training to educate our community and the workforce on how to work in a safe environment and provide critical lifesaving care should an employee experience a life-threatening medical emergency. In 2015, we trained 300 people, and more than 100 in 2016 thus far.

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