People Against Distracted Driving's 2nd Annual Walk at the Park

The Washington Township Fire Department supports People Against Distracted Driving's 2nd Annual Walk at the Park




 March Crews of the Month The crews from Engine 1032 and Rescue 1038 that responded to a crash on Greentree Rd have been voted March Crew of the Month. The crews were dispatched along with Battalion 1, BLS 10-9, Inspira Medics, and WTPD for a motor vehicle crash with entrapment on Greentree Rd in the area of Bells Lake Dr around 1:30 am on March 24th. Battalion Chief Zemski arrived on location confirming one patient trapped. Rescue 1038 was the first due fire department resource and was ordered to go in service for a passenger side removal. Crews worked quickly to stabilize and neutralize the vehicle. Engine 1032 arrived and both crews were able to extricate the patient in approximately 7 minutes from arrival of the Rescue Company. Battalion 3 crews were assisted by crews from Engine 1011 (Moore, Earling, Daily, Szilier, Gillespie) and Engine 1012 (Bender, Lord, Antinore) under the command of Battalion Chief Mason. Great work by all involved.


Upper Left: 6 ABC photo from scene

Upper Right: FF Morgan (1032)

Lower Left to Right: Capt Connery (1032), FF Kugler (1032), Deputy Chief Weitzman (1032), Battalion Chief Zemski (301), FF Patrick (1032), FF J Brown (1038), FF Laudenslager (1038)

Not Pictured: Lt Weyand (1038), FF Quinn (1038)




 WTFD 2014 Year in Review

Another year has come and gone and the Washington Township Fire Department continues to thrive and shines as a truly progressive organization from many aspects well beyond fire and emergency response.  Throughout the 2014 year, the men and women of the department once again prove we are deeply entrenched in the community.  Here are some the highlights of our commitment and dedication to the Township of Washington;

Community Events

·        We transport Santa throughout the entire township, certainly an all-time favorite

·        We also deliver Santa on a fire truck to the annual Christmas Tree lighting in the park

·        We play a huge role in Super Saturday, Earth Day, the Wine Festival, and the 4th of July events in Washington Lake Park

·        We support our Veteran’s during Memorial Day and Veteran Day services along with welcoming home of our military personnel from combat tours overseas

·        We lead the parade for the Girls Softball Opening Day event

·        We support our Police Department for the Police Unity Tour, the Levy Ride to Remember event, and the summertime Junior Police Academy

·        We support our Schools and the School District by providing CPR training, being involved in Senior Service Day, the High School’s Homecoming event, the COW project and the annual Hoagie Sales, by reading to students during the Read Across America campaign, by providing fire extinguisher training to new faculty members, and ultimately by providing fire safety education as part of school curriculum in the elementary, middle, and high schools

·        We support our special schools like the Hollydell School during their special events

·        We host Blood Drives for the Red Cross

·        We are a major participant of the township’s National Night Out event

·        We participate in several charity events through the year which includes our own annual Turkey Bowl Firefighter football game

·        And we open the doors of our facilities in support of the Girl Scouts, the Boy Scouts, and youth Ice Hockey organizations

Literally, there is not much that happens in Washington Township that doesn’t in some way or another involve our fire department

With the acceptance of several federal grants last year, our tax rate was able to remain stable and yet we were able to place in service some significant equipment and apparatus to maintain the department’s readiness for fires and other emergencies;

·        The new replacement Ladder 1016 saw its first full year of service

·        We were able to place in service a new replacement for Engine 1011

·        We acquired and placed into service a new interactive and technologically advanced Fire Safety trailer, a key component of our overall public fire safety education program

·        We placed into service fully compliant and highly advanced Self Contained Breathing Apparatus throughout the fire department

·        We placed into service 2 inflatable rescue boats replacing an older one and equipped them to federal USAR standards better enabling us to address emergencies on our ponds, lakes and during floods

·        We acquired an digital fire attack simulator

We continue to stay ahead of the curve by acquiring needed equipment that enables us to provide superior emergency response service and yet we remain fiscally responsible to our tax payers.

The training our fire department provides to our firefighters and to others remains second to none in the region.  While the bread and butter of the fire service is obviously to fight fires, we have long recognized the need to train our members in a wide variety of emergency response techniques.  Our department is diverse, and highly qualified to meet nearly any kind of emergency threat in our community and in our region.  Along with some of the training recognition being given tonight, here are some of the highlights through 2014;

·        We offered several Incident Command classes for our firefighters and externally for law enforcement agencies

·        We continue to certify and re-certify dozens of our firefighters as Ice Rescue Technicians

·        We began enhancing our Water Rescue capabilities

·        We’ve aggressively trained a significant number of firefighters in dealing with Active Shooter scenarios and have drilled with our Police Department and other local law enforcement agencies

·        As the number of missing person searches have increased, we’ve formally trained several members of our department in Wilderness and Wide Area Search & Rescue techniques and we now have one third of all SAR III rescue technicians in the State of New Jersey

·        We were able to send 5 our department members to the premier fire instructor conference in the country held in Indianapolis once again

·        We sent 15 fire officers and senior firefighters to the National Fire Academy in Emmittsburg, Maryland for a variety of advanced fire service leadership training

·        The department in total dedicated more than 8,000 contact hours in emergency response training, that’s more than 1,000 contact hours over 2013

The Washington Township Fire Department clearly promotes “Excellence” when it comes to training.

Regarding our Emergency Responses for 2014, the department saw a 15% increase in our call load with 1,314 dispatches for emergency service.  Our aggressive delivery of public fire safety education, which by the way reached more than 23,000 people this past year, combined with our effective fire inspection program proves once again that something is working.  Even with the increase in emergency responses, our fire rate is once again one of the lowest in the region.  Our fire rate for 2014 was 2.1 (per 1,000 residents) which is a full two thirds lower than the county overall and a full one half lower than the rest of the state.  Rescue calls dominated our responses in 2014 with 228 incidents in that category.  The department logged more than 8,100 man hours on emergency calls, a 2% increase over 2013.  Our duty crew system has allowed the department’s overall average response time to be consistently around the 7 minute mark which is on par with national standards and ensures that active fires that do occur, remain in check and are prevented from causing more destruction or from spreading.

The combination fire department system, volunteer and career staffing, is unique in itself, however throughout South Jersey, we constantly hear of the dwindling forces of other fire departments.  Some all-volunteer FDs have seen their roles drop by a third or by half the numbers they once had 10 years ago.  Some combination FDs in our region have lost all of their volunteers while others dwindle into single digits.  Most combination fire departments are ripe with strife between their volunteer and career personnel.  Yet among our own department, we still maintain a force of 109 active, SCBA wearing volunteer firefighters along with 19 career firefighters and a healthy number of 13 fire explorers learning the trade to hopefully one day become certified firefighters as well.  To maintain our staffing as we do is a constant battle and effort.  We are known as a department who trains our people very well and thus we produce high quality candidates who eventually seek employment with other departments.  Interestingly enough though, it is always encouraging to hear others who want to join our department as either a volunteer or career firefighter because the relationship between the two components is so profoundly positive.  We hear this noteworthy commentary regularly from within our ranks and even more so outside of our department and it is clear that the positive relationship between our volunteer and career components pays huge dividends in our safety, our performance, and our service to the community.  The notion that we are all firefighters and are all in the danger zone together is profound and cannot be taken likely.

Each and every member of this fire department is a team member critical to the infrastructure of Washington Township, critical to the safety of their fellow firefighters, and critical to the wellbeing of the residents of this community.  I am proud to be a member of this team, I am proud of what we do together, and I thank all of you for your SERVICE!!!!!

John Hoffman

Fire Chief

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Congratulations to Jay Reisenwitz who was sworn in last night to a 3 year term as Battalion 2’s (Whitman Square Fire Company) Chief.
Congratulations Chief Reisenwitz!




Congratulations to Battalion Chief Matt Zemski who was nominated Battalion 3 February FF of the Month. Matt joined WTFD in February 1995, just celebrating 20 years of service. Chief Zemski is a 3rd generation Firefighter. He was fortunate enough to serve on the front lines with his Dad, Chuck Zemski, for a number of years prior to his retirement. Matt states that serving along side his Dad is one of the highlights of his 20 years. Matt's grandfather Walter also served with the Nanticoke Hose Co in Nanticoke, PA. Chief Zemski is married to his wife Kristi and has three children, Benjamin, Gracie, and Reese. Matt works full time for Kennedy Health System as a Physical Therapist.  Battalion Chief Zemski is assigned to Hurffville-Battalion 3 with the WTFD. With the help of his line officers, he supervises two fire stations and four pieces of fire apparatus including the towns only Rescue Company. Matt states that it is his honor to lead Battalion 3 everyday and takes pride in the actions of his Battalion.

Chief Zemski was nominated for FF of the Month by the crew from Engine 1033 (Weyand, J Godish, Alessandrini, Laudenslager, and J Brown) who were the January Crew of the Month. In their write up, they stated "his pride and dedication to the department and the community should be acknowledged". The group went on to say "while maintaining a hectic work and family schedule, Matt has played an important role in being a leader of the company during our recent reorganization and has been a main leader during the implementation of in house duty crews".

Congratulations to Battalion Chief Zemski on being named February FF of the Month. 



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