Decisions near on equipment rules, physicals for firefighters

May 14, 1994 (~estimated)

Decisions near on equipment rules, physicals for firefighters

By John P. McAlpin

Staff Writer

Three issues central to the Princeton Fire Department’s operations —writing new rules and regulations, buying a new fire truck and settling a dispute over physicals — might be resolved in the coming weeks.

Last week, firefighters continued their public dispute with Princeton Borough officials by driving four fire trucks to Borough Hall Friday morning.

About 10 firefighters were there to share their displeasure with a plan to require physical exams for the 150 volunteers in the department’s three companies.

Borough officials say the plan will be changed and that a compromise is near.

Also near is a revised set of rules and regulations for the department and its three fire companies — Mercer Engine Co. No. 1, Hook and Ladder and Princeton Fire Co. No. 1.

The revised rules will be presented to Borough Council “within the month,” said Councilwoman Mildred Trotman.

“There’s really no major changes in the rules and regulations, but they are more detailed,” Ms. Trotman said.

The revised regulations being considered would detail training requirements for each level of membership from entry-level firefighters to chiefs. Also outlined would be the job descriptions and responsibilities for company officers.

“There hasn’t been a problem in the past. We just decided to avoid any future problems because something was not clear,” said Ms. Trotman, who also is the borough’s fire commissioner.

What might take a little longer is the purchase of a new fire truck. The sticking point has been the department’s overall plan to replace its fleet, Ms. Trotman said.

The Hook and Ladder company proposed buying a $430,000 telesquirter’ truck. The two other companies prefer a $250,000 pumper truck.

After agreeing on the pumper truck, the fire department committee began work in January to put together a plan that says when each truck it owns needs to be replaced or overhauled as a way of better managing equipment purchases.

Making choices on the replacement plan, “that is the more important decision. Whether to buy a pumper or a telesquirter, that decision will be made easier when we know what we have to replace for the next 10 years,” Ms. Trotman said.

Princeton Township and Borough officials last met in April to consider the question and they will meet next month if a replacement plan is in the works, she added.

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