The New Jersey Regional Fireboat Task Force, a collective of a dozen fire departments that protects 50 miles of waterfront within the Port of New York and New Jersey, was honored by the Coast Guard Tuesday with a ceremonial blessing of the fleet on the Hudson River.
One of the nation’s first regionalized cooperative fireboat response groups, the partnership includes elements from departments in five counties of northern and central New Jersey.
Funds from the Port Security Grant Program have helped provide for fireboats and training for member departments. The North Hudson Regional Fire Rescue took on responsibility for fireboat dispatching and response coordination, in concert with the Coast Guard Sector New York.
“The Port Security Grant program is a result of an identified need to protect the critical infrastructure and key resources in the Port of New York and New Jersey,” said sector commander Capt. Michael Day, who is also captain of the port for New York and Albany, N.Y. “The fire departments honored today have applied for and received federal funding to do just that and have been critical in ensuring the safety and security of the port while serving as a force multiplier to the Coast Guard since going live in September 2017.”
Since organizing the regional task force has responded to more than 60 calls, and saved five lives, according to Coast Guard officials. Those incidents included people in the water, vessel and marina fires, hazardous materials incidents, vehicles in the water, and vessels in distress.
Along with the North Hudson Regional Communications Center Fire Control dispatch in Union City, N.J., the task force has urban fire departments along the west side of the Hudson and harbor complex, including Bayonne, Carteret, Edgewater, Elizabeth, Hoboken, Jersey City, Kearny, Linden, Newark, North Hudson Regional Fire & Rescue, Perth Amboy and Secaucus.