New Firefighters Join Company 3
New volunteers say they are excited to join friends and family members in the FD
For the newest members of Mahwah’s Company 3 firehouse, the decision to join the volunteer organization was a long time coming.
“My grandfather was a firefighter in Paramus for over 50 years,” Stephen Schwarz, who’s lived in Mahwah all his life, said. “And my brother’s been on Company 3 [in Mahwah] for 12 years. He’s definitely the one who got me in.”
For his longtime friend Steven Morey, it’s his father-in-law who is a member of Mahwah’s Company 2 squad. “I was a Junior firefighter in Mahwah for two years,” he said. “But that was about 12 or 13 years ago, and I decided that I want to come back.”
The two joined with friend Christian Kasparian and were all approved by the township council at last week’s meeting. Now, the three are enrolled to begin the fire academy at the Law and Public Safety Institute in Mahwah at the end of the month. According to Company 3 Battalion Chief Cord Meyer, the new volunteers will attend classes for a total of 160-180 hours, which should take about six months. “Until they graduate with a fire certification, they cannot go into a structure fire,” Meyer said.
In the meanwhile, though, the trio has been attending department drills and in-house training sessions for about eight weeks. They are also able to go on calls and assist firefighters outside the fire with tasks such as readying equipment during a response.
The new members said they are excited to officially join the squad. “I have gone on three calls [with the department so far],” Schwarz said. “None have been structure fires, though. I’m not really sure what to expect what that happens but I’m anxious to learn.”
“We definitely influenced each other to join and wanted to do it together,” Morey said. Schwarz added “having each other will be a big help in the academy.”
According to Meyer, group sign-ups for the Mahwah FD are common. “There are a lot of families in the fire department,” he said. “A lot of families, a lot of friends and a lot of history.”
Now at 26 active members, Meyer says Company 3, as well as the rest of Mahwah’s Fire Department, is “always” looking for new volunteers. The FD recommends joining the squad closest to a volunteer’s residence. “We have five separate locations, and each company has a specialty,” Meyer said. “But the Mahwah Fire Department operates as one. We all work together to get the job done.”
Anyone interested in finding out more about joining the FD can stop by any Mahwah firehouse Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m.