Bureau of Fire Prevention

About the Bureau of Fire Prevention

The Washington Township Bureau of Fire Prevention was established in 1985 in response to the State of New Jersey mandating that certain buildings and occupancy types should be inspected for fire and life safety violations. Since its inception, the Bureau of Fire Prevention has continued to grow due to increased inspection responsibilities attributed to continued commercial growth in Washington Township. The Bureau of Fire Prevention has also undertaken an aggressive fire prevention program aimed at stopping fires before they start.

This involves a very active Fire Prevention Week promotion and education program. Every school is visited with a fire prevention program along with fire apparatus manned by district firefighters. The volunteer fire companies also have an open house at their fire stations during this week. Firefighters are on hand to explain the tools and equipment on fire trucks and put on demonstrations of different fire fighting operations to help educate the public in the operations at a fire.

In addition to fire prevention education and conducting fire safety inspections, the Bureau of Fire Prevention is also responsible for the investigation of all fires that occur within Washington Township. The goal of the investigation team is to determine the origin and cause of a fire, so that proactive fire prevention measures can be undertaken to prevent a similar fire from occurring. The investigation unit also works closely with the Washington Township Police Department, Gloucester County Fire Marshal’s Office, Gloucester County Prosecutors Office, N.J. State Fire Marshal’s Office and Federal agencies on fires that involve a criminal act.

The Washington Township Fire Investigation Unit is comprised of five full-time members and one part-time member. There is an investigator from the investigation unit on call 24/7 in rotating shifts. The Duty Fire Investigator is assigned vehicle #1061, which is a 2015 Ford F-250 pick-up. This vehicle contains all of the equipment and gear necessary to perform a fire investigation. Vehicle #1062 is a 2010 Ford Explorer and is assigned to the Fire Marshal and is also equipped to perform a fire investigation. All four of the vehicles assigned to the Fire Marshal's Office are utilized to perform daily fire code inspections during business hours.

****  Anyone that wishes to report information concerning a fire, may do so anonymously by calling 856-863-4012 and leaving a message. ****


Plan ahead

  • Install smoke alarms on each level of your house and outside each sleeping area.
  • Test them regularly each month by pushing the “test button” (use a broom handle or stick to test alarms that are too high – or ask someone to assist you in doing this).
  • If the alarm has batteries, replace the batteries at least twice a year. If the alarm is “chirping” the battery is low and needs changing.
  • Clean alarms with a vacuum cleaner without removing the cover from the alarm.
  • Never remove an alarm battery because it sounds off while you’re cooking. Get assistance in placing the alarm in a different location.
  • If a battery operated smoke alarm is more than ten years old replace the unit.
  • Develop an escape plan with two ways out of every room and practice the plan.
  • Keep all exits clear.
  • Keep glasses, medicines, a telephone, flashlight and walking aids close to your bed.
  • Have a visible address on your residence.
  • Know your emergency contact phone number (911 or others).

If a FIRE occurs…

  • STAY CALM and use your escape plan.
  • If the door is hot to touch, don’t open it. Use your alternate exit.
  • When escaping through smoke, crawl low to the floor or ground, if possible, where it’s easier to breathe. Smoke rises in a fire and contains deadly gases. Even one breath can render you unconscious.
  • If in a multi-story building when fire occurs, use the stairs. Don’t use the elevator.
  • Call or be sure that someone has called your emergency number (911 or another) from a neighbor’s house, cell or cordless phone once outside the building. Listen and give the information needed (name, address, location of fire, etc.) as calmly as possible.

“What if I can’t get out?”

  • If the door is hot to touch, DON’T OPEN IT!
  • Use your second way out if possible.
  • If smoke is present, stay low under the smoke.
  • If your window is your second way out and you cannot get through it, signal by waving a cloth or light to attract attention, especially if you’re not on the ground floor. Keep calm and wait for firefighters. DO NOT JUMP or smash glass that could be more dangerous than the fire!

“What if my clothes catch fire?”

STOP (don’t run)
DROP to the ground
ROLL over and over to smother the flames.

  • If you can’t Stop, Drop and Roll, SMOTHER the flames with a towel or blanket.
  • Remove clothing over burns, if possible.
  • Call for medical help immediately.
  • Immerse or run cool water over burns for 10-15 minutes.
  • Cover any burned areas with clean dry cloth.

Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives

  • Smoke detectors are required on every level of a home and in all sleeping areas
  • All detectors should be tested at least once a month
  • Batteries should be replaced every 6 months (change your clock; change your battery)
  • Regularly clean smoke detectors by gently vacuuming them
  • Replace smoke detectors every 10 years
  • Practice home fire drills

For more information on smoke detectors, including installation tips, visit the NFPA or contact the Washington Township Bureau of Fire Prevention at 856-863-4012 (M-F 8am–4pm).

Fire Safety Trailer

Once again the Fire Safety trailer is making its tour of the Township's six elementary schools to teach hands on fire safety to the schools' third graders.

If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact the Bureau of Fire Prevention at 856-863-4012.