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Opinion: With two fires in 24 hours, don't lose sight of fire safety

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While much of the focus is on COVID-19, Newark residents should not lose sight of the importance of fire safety.

The Aetna Hose, Hook & Ladder Company, your Newark Fire Department, responded to two working fires in less than 24 hours over the weekend. This was in addition to numerous fire, rescue, and emergency medical services responses. In total, from 6 a.m. Friday, May 8, to 6 a.m. Monday, May 11, our department responded to 21 fire responses and 153 medical responses. It is important to remain vigilant and remember these important safety messages which we stress throughout the year:

  • Check your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors
  • Have a fire escape plan and practice it
  • Never leave cooking unattended
  • Don't overload extension cords or power strips
  • Properly dispose of ashes and coals in a safe container
  • Follow state and local laws and ordinances
  • The number one cause of home fires and home injuries in the United States is cooking fires. While you are spending additional time at home, remember to "cook with caution". The National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) has some great resources to help keep your family and places of business safe which can be found here:

Residents of Newark can rest assured that we will be here to respond, no matter the emergency. You can do your part by staying alert and following the above safety tips.

Another way that you can help is by volunteering. Our department is always looking for volunteers to help us continue to serve the community in addition to our part-time and career firefighters and Emergency Medical Technicians. To learn more about how you can help give back to your community, check out our website: There are a variety of ways you can help, no prior experience is required, and training is free.

Finally, we are grateful for the outpouring of support from the community during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This has certainly been a challenge for our department, as it has been for each and every one of you. Despite the challenges, our department has adapted to the situation and we still answer the call. We couldn't do it without your support. Aetna will continue to provide the highest level of service to the community, as we have since 1888, in keeping with our motto of "Service for Others." Stay safe and healthy Newark!

Deputy Chief Jeff Sands is the public information officer for Aetna Hose, Hook and Ladder Company.

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