In recent weeks there has been a rash of newspaper articles regarding the Secaucus Volunteer Fire Department, all of them negative and all involving alcohol consumption in the local firehouses. Certain individuals have taken a non-situation and blown it out of proportion. Yes, admittedly all the firehouses did have alcohol on the premises. And yes, occasionally an individual did have a beer at the firehouse, but the percentage of firemen who even indulge in a beer at the firehouse is minute; the vast majority never consumed any. A recent article quoted several unnamed firefighters as stating that less than half the 100 firemen participate regularly in social firehouse drinking. We believe a more accurate statement would have been that less than five percent are involved.
However, all these recent articles, attributed to town officials, would make it sound as if these dedicated firemen do nothing but carouse in their firehouses. That is as far from the truth as is humanly possible. Our firemen are dedicated professionals who would never let an individual who was drinking endanger their lives or the lives of innocent victims. If an individual were having a few drinks at the firehouse, his fellow firemen would prohibit him from responding to an alarm or driving the rig. Think about it, do you really think that they would get into a vehicle weighing 25 tons, with an impaired person behind the wheel or have that person back them up in a burning building?
There has always been alcohol in volunteer firehouses, not just in Secaucus but statewide, nationwide. Politicians themselves have partaken of alcoholic drinks in these very same firehouses. Going back a few years to the fifties and sixties, drinking in the firehouses was fairly commonplace. Today drinking and driving is a serious issue and our firefighters have responded, they themselves have a "no tolerance policy" in place at all the firehouses in town. They have been able to police themselves very successfully without any outside interference. They give freely of their time and place their lives in danger every time they respond to a call, 24-hours a day, seven days a week, no time off for holidays. They are the volunteers who have protected our homes for over 110 years and done it splendidly. Think of the many fires fought by them, the property and lives saved, catastrophes averted; then think of the other situations they respond to, jaws of life extrications, water rescues in winter, flooded homes, they are always there for you.
Earlier it was stated that all of these negative articles are stemming from town officials. Up until now, the members of the Secaucus Volunteer Fire Department have kept quiet regarding the negative comments made about them, not wishing to get into a mud-slinging contest. However, we are tired of being undeservedly bashed by a certain town official. There is some discussion that perhaps this is a ploy by town officials to stir up feelings of discontent among the citizens of Secaucus, making it that much easier for the town to replace our volunteers. As everyone knows, we are a volunteer department which helps mightily in keeping Secaucus' taxes the lowest in Hudson County. There is some speculation that a certain non-elected town official is quite interested in bringing in a paid fire department in Secaucus. How much easier it would be to accomplish that then by casting a cloud of controversy over your volunteer fire department?
Think about how your taxes would skyrocket with a paid department. The Secaucus Volunteer Fire Department is an enduring tradition of Secaucus; they are a proud, dedicated unit of men who care passionately about their fire department, they care about Secaucus and they care about you. We know about their commitment and devotion because we are your volunteers. The Secaucus Volunteer Fire Department is an honorable, professional group. Please tell our officials to treat us as such. We thank you for your support.
Members of Engine Company #1
Secaucus Volunteer Fire Department