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Fire Chief Michael Griffin Sr. reports that the Westwood Fire Department was called 26 times for emergency assistance during the month of February 2021. Chief Griffin reports that none of the calls turned out to be serious fires.

These 26 emergency calls, two fire department work/maintenance details, two training events and two details to clear snow from around fire hydrants required over 400 hours of volunteer time.

The Westwood Fire Department was called three times to neighboring towns assist Fire Departments under the mutual aid agreement. One incident in each town to Emerson, Park Ridge and Hillsdale.

The Fire Department was called three times to assist local Emergency Medical Service crews.

Automatic fire alarms were received eleven times in February. Although no fires existed at any of these incidents, a full fire department response is required. Firefighters check the entire building to determine if an actual fire exists. Seven of these automatic alarms were caused by malfunctioning detectors. Two of the alarms were caused by area power outages. No cause for the alarm activation was found at one of the calls and cooking smoke set off alarms at another incident.

Four fire department responses were for Carbon Monoxide (CO) alarms. Carbon monoxide, CO, is an odorless and colorless gas given off by improperly burning heating or cooking equipment. It can be fatal at high levels. Again, each of the CO calls required a full fire department response. Fire crews check the entire building with meters and determined that one alarm was for workers testing equipment in a building. A power outage caused one response. A CO detector malfunction was found at another call. At one incident slight readings were found. The occupancies were turned over to PSE&G gas technicians for further investigation.

A stove malfunction caused one response in February for a gas problem. The FD shut the gas to the stove and turned the scene over to PSE&G gas techs.

The Westwood Fire Department was also called to what was believed to be a car on fire. After the FD responded and checked the situation it was determined that no car was actually on fire.

The Westwood Fire Department and Fire Prevention Bureau would like to point out that as we move into spring, this is the time of year when you can “Spring Clean” certain fire hazards in your home.

Very important on this list are working smoke detectors in your home. Fire departments nationwide explain that one way to remember to change the batteries in your smoke detector is to change the batteries when you change your clock in the spring and fall. “CHANGE YOUR CLOCK….CHANGE YOUR BATTERIES”, please take a few minutes to do so.

Take the time to go through the attic, basement, or cluttered closets and donate, recycle, and/or throw away any unneeded, accumulated items such as newspapers, magazines, packaging, boxes, and clothing, all of which become potential fire hazards when stored in large quantities. Never store combustibles close to the water heater or furnace. Three feet away is a good rule of thumb.

While often overlooked, not cleaning the clothes dryer vent can pose a significant fire hazard. When the highly combustible lint accumulates, it reduces the airflow, which can increase the temperature enough to ignite it!

Test all windows, not only to ensure that their locks are working properly, but that they can be quickly and easily opened from the inside, should you need to use one as an emergency exit. In many situations the window is your second way out if the first way out (a door) is blocked by fire or smoke.


Any Fire Department related questions can be e-mailed to or by calling 201-664-0526. The fire prevention bureau can be reached at or by calling 201-664-7100 ext 308.

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