A glimpse into the world of volunteer firefighters in New Jersey

When the tones drop, the fearless members of our community spring into action, unsure of what lies ahead or whether they will return safely.

Despite the lack of compensation, they continue to do it anyway. In fact, approximately 75% of firefighters in New Jersey volunteer their services without receiving any payment.

Andrew Sarna, a volunteer firefighter, emphasizes the importance of being there for others in their times of need. He poses a thought-provoking question, asking who we would want to come to our aid on our worst day. Sarna believes that we should strive to be the person who goes above and beyond to help others in the face of danger. Whether it’s risking their own safety to save lives in a burning building or making every effort to provide assistance, Sarna urges us to be the ones who are willing to take that leap of faith for the sake of others.

At just 23 years old, Sarna earns his living in private wealth management. However, his true passion lies in serving as a volunteer firefighter for the Mount Bethel Fire Company, a part of Warren Township Fire Department.

“When I was 16 years old, I found myself unsure of what path to take in life. It was then that I decided to explore the world of EMS in Bergen County. As I became more involved in emergency services, I discovered a deep passion for this field. However, I soon realized that medicine wasn’t the right fit for me. I yearned for something more thrilling. It was during this time that I observed the firefighters across the street, equipped with their impressive fire trucks and making a difference in the community. Their adventurous lifestyle and the excitement that accompanied their work captivated me, and I knew I wanted to be a part of it.”

“It’s not just a group of individuals, it’s a tight-knit brother and sisterhood,” expressed Derek Reedman, Assistant Chief of Mount Bethel. “We share a deep bond and consider ourselves one big family.”

The station earned the nickname “House of Aces” due to its commitment to maintaining exceptionally high training standards.

Volunteers actively participate in monthly nighttime drills to ensure they stay prepared and ready. These drills serve as a means to hone their skills and protect the safety of the township’s approximately 16,000 residents.

According to Reedman, Warren Township has a significant portion of Interstate 78, making it prone to a high number of motor vehicle accidents. Additionally, the township is home to numerous high-risk facilities.

Before donning their turnout gear, every firefighter must undergo extensive training, totaling over 200 hours. Each drill and exercise they participate in is designed to prepare them for the critical moments when they might be called upon to bravely enter a blazing structure.

Reedman emphasized the importance of community service, stating, “You’re here to assist your neighbors. By voluntarily taking on a potentially life-threatening job without any monetary compensation, you demonstrate your willingness to make a significant impact. The training provided plays a vital role in equipping individuals to handle the tasks at hand effectively.”

Fire departments across the country are not only battling fires but also grappling with a scarcity of volunteers.

According to fire company President Peter Childers, volunteer firefighters play a crucial role in the firefighting force of the country, as paid fire departments are primarily found in major metropolitan centers and bigger cities.

Warren Township Mayor Victor Sordillo expressed his gratitude for the invaluable service provided by the firefighters. He emphasized that the township would face significant financial implications if they had to rely on a paid department, with costs estimated to reach several million dollars. Sordillo acknowledged the firefighters’ dedication and highlighted the crucial role they play in keeping the community safe.

If you believe you possess the necessary skills and passion for the job, we encourage you to pay a visit to your local volunteer fire company. By doing so, you will have the opportunity to witness firsthand how you can contribute and make a positive impact on your community.

Childers emphasized that their motivation for helping others goes beyond financial gain. They believe in the importance of being present and providing assistance to those in need.

Reference Article

Avatar photo
MBS Staff
Articles: 6899

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *