On March 1, the three fire companies in Wyckoff are set to compete in the Annual Firefighter Inspection Contest. This 54-year tradition is alive and well.
“It’s really been an evolution,” said volunteer firefighter and Committeeman Doug Christie. “Before we used to just dust off the equipment; now we run through scenarios. It’s all about firefighting awareness.”
The township’s volunteer firefighters spend weeks beforehand dismantling, cleaning and repairing fire pumpers, trucks and equipment. They also hone their firefighting knowledge to prepare for the annual inspection, which includes oral quizzing and scenario run-throughs. A panel of seven independent fire fighting experts will judge them.
Wyckoff Town Administrator Bob Shannon, also a firefighter here, noted the competition is grueling and intense. “The work they all go through is significant,” said Shannon. However, the companies still have camaraderie, he said.
Committeeman Haakon Jepsen asked at the committee’s Feb. 5 meeting why there was no proclamation for the winning fire company.
“The committee generally takes the position that the taxpayers win,” said Shannon.
“The trophy takes the place of the proclamation,” added Mayor Rudy Boonstra. “We wouldn’t want to take away from 50 years of doing this.” Trophies are on display at each fire company.
On March 2, an awards dinner will commemorate the winning fire company.
“It’s time well spent to see how well these guys are trained,” said Boonstra.
Wyckoff is the only township in New Jersey to hold such a competition among its fire companies and uses outside experts to evaluate their fire fighting knowledge, officials said.
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