Princeton Fire Department is in the process of transitioning from all volunteer to a combination of paid and volunteers firefighters.
PRINCETON, NJ — Princeton’s plan to transition from an all volunteer fire department to a combination of paid and volunteers firefighters is moving along nicely. This is the first time the department has made such a drastic change since it was created in 1788.
The push for the change came following struggles to recruit volunteers and to help prevent burn out from current volunteers. Princeton plans to hire six paid firefighters.
“It’s worth repeating to the public that everyone is facing this issue,” said Councilman Timothy Quinn at the July 22 meeting. “East Windsor already has a combination department, Montgomery continues to recruit for volunteers, so Princeton is not alone.”
Robert Gregory, director of Princeton’s Office of Emergency Management, has been working on a plan for the past few months to recruit more volunteers and newly paid employees as well.
Gregory offered an update at Monday’s town committee meeting about how he plans to get more exposure for recruitment efforts.
Part of the plan is to utilize social media better such as the fire department’s Facebook page, Princeton OEM’s Twitter account and even creating an Instagram account.
“We are also working on video to be used for recruiting,” Gregory said.
Gregory has also reached out to Princeton University to help spread awareness. He also would like to run a recruitment video or announcement before movies begin playing at the Garden Theatre.
Mailers in both English and Spanish are also being sent out to residents in Princeton and nearby including Lawrenceville and Montgomery.
The Junior Firefighter Program is also in the works of being brought back.
Gregory estimates interviews for open positions will begin in November and December with hiring in December. Along with the six paid employees, Gregory would like to recruit 10 to 12 volunteers.