MANCHESTER – Firefighters of the newly established Station 76 township fire department recently took their oath of office, sworn in by Mayor Kenneth Palmer.
Police Chief Lisa Parker introduced the community’s first paid career Fire Department, Station 76, with the swearing in of nine firefighters.
The mayor said, “we are committed to this program and to see it succeed for the betterment of the community.”
Mayor Palmer spoke to an audience of family and friends of the firefighters. He also acknowledged the dangers of firefighting and assured the families that the members of Station 76 will have the best equipment and training before sending them into harm’s way.
With his left hand on the Firefighter’s Bible and right hand risen, Firefighter Captain Roger Brown was the first to be sworn in. With the experience, training, and knowledge gained from being a volunteer firefighter since the age of 19 and being a career firefighter with the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Fire Department, Captain Brown will lead and supervise Station 76.
The following firefighters also took the oath to become the inaugural team: Andrew Christensen, Michael Ott, Neal Lelievre, Salem Bahr, Mark Costner, John Filardo, Daniel Mechkowski, and Rachel Murray. The firefighters sworn in during the day’s ceremony have, at minimum, certificates in Firefighter I and Basic EMT.
The firefighters will attend the Toms River Fire Academy for additional training and team building. Once they have completed their training, they will be assigned to work the day shift. Members of the Manchester, Ridgeway, and Whiting Volunteer Fire Departments will continue to provide essential firefighting services to the residents of the township.
Chief Parker discussed details of the intensive hiring process which began in March, when around 60 individuals submitted their applications for employment. The first phase of the training called for applicants in the Physical Agility Examination and Written Examination. From there, the top scorers went before the Oral Board for extensive interviews.
She noted that all candidates considered for employment underwent a thorough background investigation and submitted to medical, psychological, and drug screenings.
Joining Chief Parker and Mayor Palmer and the firefighters in attendance at the ceremony were members of the Township Council, Manchester Township Police Department, and Manchester Township of Emergency Medical Services.
“We are now the only municipality in the State of New Jersey where Police, Fire, and EMS will operate under one command as an elite group of highly trained professionals,” Chief Parker said.
“One unity of command committed to serving our community. I hope that this becomes the model for other municipalities to follow,” she added.