BOROUGH OF STONE HARBOR – Since 1912 the Stone Harbor Fire Department has successfully provided the Borough with Fire and EMS services as a volunteer company. Over the years the department has met the challenge of maintaining the necessary manpower to safely operate and quickly respond to all emergencies. In the past this challenge has been met with an adequate number volunteers that lived in the local community. However, over the past twenty years, rising property values combined with a lack of affordable year-round rentals, has resulted in fewer year-round volunteers living in Stone Harbor. Currently, eight of the 58 firefighters live in Stone Harbor, and of those eight, only four are certified to use a breathing apparatus, which is necessary to enter a fire situation. Having the majority of our volunteers living outside of Stone Harbor seriously affects response time in an emergency. This is not a new concern, and it was addressed three years ago when the Borough funded a stipend program to have up to four firefighters at the station overnight from 7:00 pm to 7:00 am. This program has been successful, but there are still noticeable gaps in coverage, especially on weekends and holidays, when it is needed most.

The fire department’s goal is to sustain a rapid response time to all emergencies. This is absolutely fundamental to maintaining a competent and successful EMS and Fire Department. In order to accomplish this goal, nine paid firefighter/EMTs will be hired to supplement the volunteer fire department at a cost of $500,000 per year, starting on January 1, 2021. With this addition, the department will always have a minimum of 3 firefighter/EMTs scheduled, so that coverage is in place 24 hours per day. These firefighters are also certified EMTs, so as an added benefit, Stone Harbor is no longer the only municipality in Cape May County without full time, paid EMS service. Even with this enhancement, the Stone Harbor Fire Department remains primarily a volunteer department. The new, full time personnel will supplement the volunteer fire department so that adequate Fire and EMS coverage is in place 24 hours per day in Stone Harbor.

October 26, 2020 [br] Stone Harbor Office of Public Information [br] Contact: Jenny Olson [br] [br] Ph: 609.368.5102 x340