Residents of Maple Shade, it has come to our attention that the township has suspended the operation of your all volunteer fire department as of noon today for a period of 90 days. We were never advised of this until now or given a reason why. Every member of the department takes protecting this community seriously and gives many hours each week away from their families to respond to emergencies, train, and keep the department operating. Every member meets the minimum requirements put in place by the state of New Jersey to be either a firefighter or fire police officer, if not surpasses the minimum requirements and spends many hours each year taking classes to continue their education to better protect the members of the community. By suspending operations, the township is putting all the residents of this town in danger. It will require surrounding towns to respond to Maple Shade to handle any emergencies that may occur. This will increase the time that is required to respond to emergencies in town, especially if the surrounding departments are already handling calls for service in their own towns.
This town has had an all volunteer fire department since 1912 and members of the community have happily and proudly protected this town. We have never had any issues with the township in the way we operate until the new administration took office just over two years ago. Now the township doesn’t want to work with us and is saying that the members are not qualified to provide fire protection. The township is now asking surrounding towns, mainly consisting of career paid departments to cover Maple Shade during this 90 day period. These departments will not continue to do this for free as it will increase the workload on their staff and equipment and increase their operating costs. These departments will want to be compensated for their services. The township is required to provide fire protection services to their residents. Whether the township wants to pay surrounding departments or create a career paid department of their own there will be a substantial cost to doing so and it will be passed on to you, the residents.
The members of Independent Fire Company Number 1 (your township fire department) would like to thank the residents of Maple Shade for their support over the last 109 years. Now we need your support more than ever. We ask that you voice you concerns to the township and help keep your town protected by the volunteers who have been protecting this community for generations.
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