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The Lakewood Fire Department appears to have double trouble. 1) They have difficulty recruiting and retaining volunteers, and 2) their current leadership is very "career department focused." (The difficulty of recruiting volunteer firefighters is a national issue and not limited to Lakewood, however the Lakewood Fire Department does have a unique difficulty in retaining volunteers. Additionally, the issue that Lakewood’s current leadership is very "career department focused" is not a national issue).

Curious minds wonder if these two problems are actually just one problem all wrapped up, i.e. because their current leadership is very "career department focused," they don't care to show proper appreciation to their volunteers, thus their volunteer base has dwindled and the remaining volunteers don't feel enough motivation to actively recruit other volunteers to join them.

Accordingly, as previously reported here on FAA News, back in July 2023, the Board of Fire Commissioners approved the expansion of the career department (which currently has 33 members) with an additional 20 members.

The Fire Commissioners stated that they remain steadfast in their dedication to providing exceptional emergency response services, and that this expansion of the career department "reinforces their commitment to enhancing public safety within the community."

They added that the decision to expand the career division of the Fire Department is "a result of careful consideration and the recommendations put forth by the district’s administrative and professional staff." (I.e. the very "career driven" staff).

To be able to accommodate the new career members who will sleep at the firehouse at 119 First Street, the fire district has recently commenced interior renovations to this firehouse.

The scope of this project includes reconfiguring existing floor plans in their entirety to accommodate a new bunk room, kitchen, day room, weight room, locker room, and restroom with new finishes throughout. An existing staircase is to be relocated, an existing engine room storage is to be converted to new restroom. The existing MEP distribution shall be modified, and a new HVAC equipment shall be provided to accommodate the new layout and program requirements.

The Board of Fire Commissioners has awarded this contract to J & M Quality Construction LLC of Neptune. Their base bid was $833,000. This was the lowest responsible, responsive bidder of 3 bids received.

The architectural plans were prepared by Parette Somjen Architects L.L.C.  

Fire officials intend for construction to be substantially complete in time for the Fall season.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Do you have a y suggestions to try to keep the volunteers happy it's a problem everywhere