The Jersey City Fire Department has a new weapon in its arsenal now that it has New Jersey’s first three-stage pumper truck designed to combat high-rise fires.
The new fire truck doubles the water pressure of standard engines to 1,000 pounds making it possible for the department to reach high-rises of at least 50 stories without needing to rely on a building’s standpipe system.
The new $680,000 truck will allow for more significant water pressure to reach a building’s top floors when responding to a working fire, ultimately extinguishing fires faster.
Currently, Jersey City’s skyline consists of nearly 200 high-rise buildings citywide, including several buildings over 900-feet tall.
“We have nine out of the 10 largest high-rises in the state of New Jersey now. Many of them are larger than 500 feet,” said Mayor Steven Fulop. “We have the largest buildings in the state of New Jersey, both commercial and residential, and so this is a further investment to make sure that we’re keeping our residents safe.”
He additionally noted that he believes the 2020 census will reveal that Jersey City could be tied with Newark as the largest city in the state.
Jersey City Fire Chief Steve McGill said Jersey City now has five or six “mega high-rises” or high-rises over 450 feet tall and this new truck will allow the Fire Department to extinguish fires in those buildings more quickly.
He explained the department hasn’t had any high-rise fires they were unable to reach, and often had to utilize more resources when combating high-rise fires, as two or three trucks would have to work in tandem in order to build up the same amount of pressure as the three-stage pumper truck.
He said typically high-rise fires occur when a building is undergoing construction and this tandem method had to be used because there have been fires at high-rises under construction when the building’s standpipes were not yet operational even though they were supposed to be.
While fighting a fire obviously comes with its own set of risks, the additional water pressure adds another as the increased water pressure is strong enough to cut off a human limb.
To make sure the Jersey City firefighters are prepared, training began last week will continue over the next two weeks according to Deputy Chief Henry DeGuilio.
He said firefighters began by becoming familiar with the new apparatus and will know it inside out after they continue to put it through its paces and become comfortable with working with the high pressure before it is put into service in the coming weeks.
The department also worked with the New York City Fire Department on training and education because they already have several “super pumpers.”
Investing in safety
Fulop explained this is just the latest public safety project the city has undertaken noting that they are trying to be proactive.
“We have more fire companies on duty, we’ve hired about 200 firefighters, but they really need the equipment to make sure that they can do the job,” Fulop said.
In fact, the fire department is due to hire 20 more firefighters this year.
“This is very good for the city and great for the firefighters,” McGill said.
He added that in the next three to five years he projects Jersey City will invest in at least one more a 3-stage pumper truck.