Holmdel mayor: Plans are in place to improve fire department

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HOLMDEL -

The mayor of Holmdel says that plans are in place to improve the town’s fire department after a study was ordered by the town.

A 57-page independent study into the Holmdel Fire Department found a list of things that can be improved on.

"I want them to know that this is a priority and we're working really, really hard,” says Mayor Eric Hinds.

The study found that issues that impact the department include a lack of volunteers, the location of the firehouse, older equipment and some outdated training.

Holmdel resident Kin Gee says that the study was eye-opening. He and other residents formed a group, Fire Action Safety Today (FAST), to education the town about the study.

“It's a nonpartisan, nonprofit group and we want to … hopefully share that information,” Gee says.

Hinds says that improvements for the department are already in work – starting with a new firehouse.

Holmdel currently only has one firehouse after one on the south end of town closed. This contributed to longer response times. The mayor says that it took volunteer firefighters 20 minutes to respond to a fire in town this past January. It should have only taken 12 minutes, according to the study.

"Unfortunately it's a tragedy. The house burned to the ground, cars were burned but it's amazing that we were able to get out there in under 20 minutes,” Hinds says.

Hinds says that the town is now poised to get a new firehouse, which could cut down on response times.

“We’re going to invest in a truck that is going to make a difference. We need to invest in the infrastructure a little bit,” he says.

The mayor says officials will reveal more information and their plan to fix these issues at the township meeting Tuesday. They're also in the middle of recruitment for new volunteers firefighters.

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