The City of Hoboken was at its zenith in the last decade of the Nineteenth Century. 70,000 people crowded its streets and tenements as the great immigrations from Europe came, like so many waves, to the mile square City on the New York Harbor. The City was incorporated in 1852. Its piers were bustling and industry was vibrant. The City Fathers, seeing the need for a more reliable and efficient method to protect its citizens from the horror of fire, elected in 1891 to establish a paid Fire Department. Taking the best of its fine volunteer organization, the City of Hoboken named Ivan D. Applegate as Chief. Applegate served as Chief of the volunteers and was a principal architect of the transition. Chief Applegate was the first of eight Fire Chiefs to lead a Department dedicated to serve and protect.

Throughout the years the Hoboken Fire Department strived for a standard of excellence in its determination to protect its citizens from an enemy that maims and destroys, causes pain and loss, and knows no social, racial or economic boundary. The methods have changed little.

Stopping a fire from taking a life or destroying a home still comes down to the firefighters, a group of human beings who work as a team and place their bodies at risk to do the job. Each fire takes its toll on the firefighters' bodies. Fire doesn't always kill in a spectacular sense. It goes after the lungs and the heart in an insidious way. Even with the fifty pounds of protective gear the modern firefighter has today, fighting the enemy exacts its price.

The Department of the early days numbered close to 200 members. Three aerial trucks and six pumpers roared through the less congested streets for the Department's first fifty years. Improvement of water supply and equipment enabled a more streamlined Department to look after the protection of the City. Despite modernization fire still took its toll, with many lost to its ravages.

Today, 120 firefighters and fire officers man our apparatus, forming a tough defense for the 40,000 citizens and 5500 parcels of property against fire.

Traditionally, there are two major divisions of the fire service, suppression and prevention. The Hoboken Fire Department in meeting with the situations and hazards of today, has further refined and strengthened its preparedness in these and additional areas:

SUPPRESSION DIVISION:
The Hoboken Fire Department is comprised of 6 companies with 120 officers and firefighters. They operate with three (3) 1250 gallon per minute pumpers, one (1) I 00' Tillered Aerial, one (1) 110' Rear Mount Aerial, and one (1) Heavy Rescue vehicle. Additionally, there is one (1) command vehicle, 1 reserve 100' Rear Mount Aerial, one (1) reserve 1250 GPM Pumper, and one (1) Mask Service Unit.

Suppression Forces respond to all alarms of fire, emergencies, extrications and first responder medical calls including cardiac defibrillation. All members of the Department are CPR certified, with the members of Rescue Company #1 certified as First Responder D.

BUREAU of FIRE PREVENTION and INVESTIGATION:
The City of Hoboken is a thriving urban community in close proximity to New York City. It is also a major transportation hub for the metropolitan area. In addition to 40,000 residents, the Hoboken Fire Department has the responsibility to protect over 200,000 commuters and visitors who pass through the city each day.

The Bureau of Fire Prevention is the vanguard of the Department in providing a safe haven for all citizens. The members of the Prevention Unit rigorously enforce the provisions of the fire code, investigate complaints of violation of the code, and enforce occupancy regulations for all places of public assembly.

The goal of the Bureau is to prevent fires and accidents from occurring. To that end, community wide public education programs have been developed and implemented in order to increase public awareness and reduce the loss of life due to fire. In October of each year, the Bureau coordinates fire education in all schools throughout the city, as well as sponsoring a well received Fire Safety Fair.

In the event a fire occurs, the Bureau Arson Investigation Unit is responsible for determining the cause and origin of the blaze, as well as assist in the prosecution of suspected arsonists. Arson Unit members receive 13 weeks of training with the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice.

TRAINING DIVISION:
The Hoboken Fire Department recognizes training as the key element in maintaining a prepared fire fighting force. Under the direction of the Training Officer, all suppression forces attend classroom training sessions as well as hands on evolution drills in order to maintain skills and keep abreast of current developments in fire fighting strategy and tactics. All training is coordinated through the entire department to ensure that each member is trained according to the same standard and receives training in all aspects of the job. Each new appointee is required to obtain Firefighter I, Firefighter II and EMT Certification at the Fire Academy.

COMMUNICATIONS:
The radio station of the Hoboken Fire Department is WPEN-949, operating on the assigned frequency of 170.150 mhz. The Fire Alarm office is responsible for receiving fire calls or other emergency calls and dispatching the appropriate alarm response. During an incident, the Fire Alarm Operators monitor transmissions to ensure receipt of all necessary communications. The Department has implemented a Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system which is linked to the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS), as well as to the personnel and administrative modules of the program.

HOBOKEN FIRE DEPARTMENT INCIDENT TOTALS:
In 1995, FireHouse Magazine recognized the Hoboken Fire Department as having the most runs in the country per one square mile.

2000
3,323
1999
3,230
1998
3,392
1997
3,251
1996
2,667
1995
2,758
1994
2,726
1993
2,662
1992
2,325
1991
2,165
1990
1,833
1989
1,759
1988
1,716



TABLE OF ORGANIZATION
1
Chief of Department
2
Deputy Chiefs
4
Battalion Chiefs
22
Captains
7
Lieutenants
84
Firefighters
8
Fire Alarm Operators
4
Clerical Staff
132
Total Personnel

 

DEPARTMENT APPRATUS
1

Heavy Rescue Vehicle

4
1250 gpm Pumper
3
Aerial Trucks
1
  • 1 - 100' Tractor Drawn Tillered Truck
  • 1 - 100' Rear Mount Aerial
  • 1 - 110' Rear Mount Aerial
1
Command Vehicle
1
Mask Service Unit/Mobile Air Supply
1
Arson Investigation Unit
4
Fire Prevention Vehicles
1
Training Van
1
Maintenance Vehicle
1
Chief's Car

 


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