By JESSICA WRIXON
Cresskill Fire Department, a department that is both paid and volunteer, were informed in mid September that they will be moving a step closer to being a prestigiously recognized fire department in Bergen County through their hard work and dedication to the community.
On Sept. 18, the Cresskill Fire Department, as well as the community of Cresskill, received news that the Insurance Services Offices (ISO), a rating agency, ranked Cresskill from a Class 4 to a Class 3 fire department. ISO is an organization that collects data, rates information with the Fire Suppression Rating Schedule by evaluating the firefighting proficiencies of individual towns, and creates insurance policy forms suitable for clients and their employees.
The Cresskill Fire Department became one of 58 fire departments out of 683 to be rated ISO class 3 all across the United States, making that a total of 4 percent. After being classified as class 4 for the last 30 years, Cresskill Fire Department had been working very hard since last April to achieve this goal to move up the ranks.
“I’ve been a volunteer firefighter at Cresskill for 5 years before I got hired to lead a career in firefighting a little over a year ago,” said William Oliver, 27 and a life-long Cresskill resident.
“The department as a whole had to follow a strict set of rules and regulations that was required to meet the standards of becoming class 3. Although it’s just a small step, it’s a great thing for the town because we now provide more fire
protection coverage and services,” added Oliver.
Although the best classification to receive in a fire department is class 1, many fire departments strive to work towards a class 3 because it is still a very honorable place to be ranked. For fire departments all across the United States, ISO provides fire departments with a classification of 1 though 10, with class 1 being the highest quality of service and class 10 being very limited to absolutely no service.
“I’ve been a volunteer firefighter at Ridgefield Park Ladder 1 for almost 8 years and we’ve been a class 3 fire department for a while now. We’ve been working on becoming a class 2 department for a few months by following a set of rules and regulations, as well as responding to every single call,” said Brian O’Grady. The 24-year-old Ridgefield Park resident has been responding to hundreds of calls that have came and are coming in through the department.
“It is crucial that so many of us make each and every call as soon as they come in. Our job is to risk our lives to save others and their belongings and if we want to provide them with the best protection, we have to follow the smallest of rules,” said O’Grady.
Class 3: A Recognizable Honor
In a letter sent from Cresskill’s Fire Chief, Christopher S. Ulshoefer, to Mayor Romeo of Cresskill indicated the extensive work done by the fire department to accomplish this honor. In order to receive this distinction, Cresskill Fire Department had to follow a set of rules and regulations. According to fofdfire.com, a fire department trying to reach class 3 had to follow the following rules:
- Annual fire code building inspections
- 24-hour central dispatch
- A minimal number of active, on-duty fire fighters
- Training that greatly exceeds the minimal standard
- A reliable, pressurized water supply
- Testing of trucks, hydrants and hoses
- Well-equipped reserve apparatus’
- Pumper capacity
“All the members of the fire department are really excited about our new classification. Cresskill Fire Department is now not only capable of providing top notch help to the community, but also makes it the fifth department to be ranked as class 3 in Bergen County,” said Oliver.