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Fire Chief James Voorhis reports that the Westwood Fire Department was called 24 times for emergency
assistance during the month of July 2023. Chief Voorhis reports that none of the calls turned out to be a
serious fire in Westwood.
The 24 emergency calls, two training drills and two maintenance sessions required over 380 hours of
volunteer time.
The Westwood Fire Department was called out of town for four incidents. To assist the Emerson Fire
Department one time, the Hillsdale fire department on two occasions and River Vale once. The
Westwood Fire Department was called to one incident during July to assist local emergency medical
crews. At this call firefighters forced entry into a residence so medical crews could gain access to treat a
Automatic fire alarms were received twelve times in July. 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. A variety of problems caused these automatic alarms: three times the alarms
were set off by cooking. Workers in the buildings unintentionally activated alarms on three occasions.
Detector malfunctions caused four responses. A homeowner testing their alarm system caused one fire
department response.
On two occasion the fire department responded 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, at these CO calls a full fire department response is needed. Fire crews
check the entire building with meters and found slight CO present at one call. At the second CO incident
a contractor was working in the building and caused the alarm activation. Following Westwood Fire
department policy, the incidents are turned over to PSE&G gas technicians for further investigation.
Two times the fire department responded to investigate incidents when citizens smelled natural gas. At
these calls fire crews respond and check the area or building with meters. A small gas leak was found at
both buildings, firefighters shut the gas and turned the situation over to PSE&G gas technicians. At one
of the calls, it was necessary to vent the building with fans carried on the fire truck.
Fire rescue crews responded to one motor vehicle crash in July. Upon arrival fire crews found an
overturned vehicle. Fire crews stabilized the vehicle, removed the windshield and assisted Emergency
Medical Personnel removing the occupant from the car.
The Westwood Fire Department and Fire Prevention Bureau would like to remind residents that
residents and citizens should practice fire prevention all year. We offer the following fire safety tips:
Smoke detectors, have one on every level of your home. Have a fire escape plan for your particular
home, the plan must show at least two ways out of every room. Practice exit drills with your family.
Crawl low in smoke. If a door is hot, do not open it, use the secondary exit. Have a meeting place
outside your home, make sure everyone is out, do not go back inside for any reason. Call the fire
department, from outside the home, call 911.

This article was submitted by the Westwood Fire Department. 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. PLEASE NOTE; THESE PHONE

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