TRENTON, N.J. – The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs’ (DCA) Division of Fire Safety strongly encourages residents this winter season to help remove snow around on-street fire hydrants and building Fire Department Connections. Both are critical resources for fighting fires, but are often neglected during snow removal activities.
“We recognize that because this year’s snowfall totals are reaching record levels, fire hydrants and building Fire Department Connections may have inadvertently become buried in mounds of snow,” said DCA Commissioner Lori Grifa. “This makes it difficult for firefighters to have quick access to these critical assets in the case of a fire.”
Fire Department Connections (FDC), or fireplugs, are normally found on the exterior ground floor of a commercial building. They are used by firefighters as a ready and pressurized water supply to attack fires.
Clearing fire hydrants and FDCs may be a fire department responsibility in major cities; however, in suburban and rural areas serviced by volunteer fire stations it may not be part of the routine, especially with municipal public works departments busy with other snow removal responsibilities.
“We encourage residents to identify where a hydrant or FDC is and to find out if it is scheduled for snow removal by calling their local fire department,” said Commissioner Grifa. “Civic groups, non-profit organizations or local volunteers may want to consider making this activity part of an ongoing ‘community works’ project.”
It is also important for residents to clear pathways through the snow for emergency responders. Residents should shovel paths in front of their own homes, as well as in front of the homes of elderly and disabled neighbors.
The Division of Fire Safety serves as the central fire service agency in the State. The Division is responsible for the development and enforcement of the State Uniform Fire Code, as well as for implementing public education and firefighter training programs. For more information, log on to http://www.state.nj.us/dca/dfs on the DCA website.