Changes in New Brunswick, N. J., Fire Department

Changes in New Brunswick, N. J., Fire Department

When cities plan to change their fire departments from a volunteer to a paid system those who engineer the scheme sometimes defeat it by going to novices fer advice and ideas as to how the paid system should be conducted instead of to paid firemen who know what is best. At New Brunswick, N. J., the ideas of fire novices may result in the holding up of the installation of the paid system. The paid fire ordinance is favored by the volunteer firemen, providing a proper system is adopted. One of the sections of the proposed paid system ordinance provides that none of the paid firemen shall be over 35 years of age, which will debar some of the ablest and most competent volunteer firemen from serving as paid firemen. At a recent meeting of the City Council there was a spirited discussion on this question. Ex-Chiet Andrew Smith, on behalf of the volunteers, said the plan fixing the age limit at 35 years was unfair to the volunteers and exempts many of whom he said were from 40 to 70 years of age and among the best men in the present department. Former Chief John F. Kidney said he spoke as vice-president ot the New Jersey Firemen’s Association, and declared there is no city in the State or elsewhere that put in a paid department without giving the men of the volunteer department first chance to become members, tie emphasized the thought that many men in the department today over 35 years old are capable of many years of service. He further said: “You put fifteen paid men in the department three months ago without fixing any age limit for them, and now you propose to leave them in, although some of them are past the age ot 35, while you shut out the men who have made sacrifices in the past, working unselfishly in the city’s interests.” One Alderman said that the present chief and assistant are each crowding 50 years of age, and he declared that there are no spryer men in the department than they. The majority of the present department are men above the age of 35, he said, and he moved to amend the ordinance by adding a clause which removed the age limit as applied to the volunteers and exempts which was defeated by a vote of 9 to 2, and injunction proceedings may be the result. The ordinance as adopted provides that the paid department go into effect at 8 a. m.. on July 1. and that the chief and assistant chief in office at that time shall become chief and assistant chief in the paid department. All applicants for admission to the department must be citizens of the United States, residents of this city, and must pass an examination before a physician to be designated by the Council. The ordinance contains 56 sections, and was adopted on first and second readings, ordered engrossed and published according to law. preparatory for third reading and adoption.

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