Roselle's Fire Safety Efforts
By Jamal C. Holley
Mayor, Roselle Borough
Following the insurance assessment, we were informed the borough now has a classification of a “3,” upgraded from our former classification of a “4.”
In these challenging times, when municipal governments are struggling to reduce costs while maintaining quality services, Roselle remains committed to investing in its infrastructure. We still manage to fund an aggressive road and bridge upgrade program—leveraging grants wherever possible—while promptly responding to residents’ concerns.
Such vigilance has paid enormous dividends in our service to Roselle residents. The amount of emergency repair has steadily decreased in the borough just in the past year, as we are focused on ensuring our infrastructure is modern, adequate and well-maintained.
In one area, our commitment may actually save our residents money on their homeowner’s insurance. Roselle recently underwent a lengthy independent insurance assessment. After months of reviews and questions, the results revealed that the borough is better equipped to respond to and combat fires than at any time in recent history.
And because of that well-earned
rating, I am urging residents to reach out to their insurance companies to request a review of their premiums.
I am confident this new rating will prove to insurance companies that Roselle has the necessary infrastructure and staffing to swiftly fight fires, reducing risk while improving safety for all.
I am also urging my fellow municipal officials to pay special attention to this audit—the “Public Protection Classification Summary Report”—which is produced through the Insurance Services Office, Inc. in Marlton. These audits, performed approximately every 10 years in all 565 municipalities in New Jersey, provide an unbiased assessment of how each municipality is equipped to fight fires.
These assessments are incredibly focused and driven by hard data. For example, it includes a test of local water pressure to assess the effectiveness of each fire hydrant in town. Our fire department was also required to report on the age of each fire engine and provide specific details about all of our fire fighting tools. In addition, assessors looked at the age and
capabilities of our emergency communications system to ensure it takes advantage of all the latest wireless technologies.
Following the insurance assessment, we were informed the borough now has a classification of a “3,” upgraded from our former classification of a “4.” Homeowner insurance companies will now look at this new grade in compiling rates—something our residents will be pleased to know.
Roselle is committed to providing mutual aid to our neighboring communities. Our firefighters are always among the first to respond to emergencies in Clark, Roselle Park, Elizabeth, Cranford and wherever else we are called.
Having high-grade fire apparatuses, coupled with veteran firefighters undergoing consistent training, is a regional benefit Roselle is proud to provide. Our relationship with neighboring fire departments also benefits Roselle residents. We can rely on our friends and neighbors when an emergency arises.
Our success on the Public Protection Classification Summary Report is due to Roselle Fire Chief Paul Mucha and his department. Born and raised in the borough, Chief Mucha said the town’s ability to fight fires is stronger than it has ever been in his 25 years with the department. He indicated the insurance assessment drilled down on every operation of his department. It was a trying experience at times, as the inspectors were extremely diligent. But, in the end, Chief Mucha told me he is proud of the outcome, as well as the firefighters he leads.
“This analysis is done on a regular basis for every municipality in 48 of the 50 states,” Mucha explains. “We take it very seriously in Roselle, where fire safety is my business. I salute Mayor Holley and the Borough Council for their support and making sure that our equipment and systems are continually updated—evident in this latest assessment.”
Roselle’s success on the Public Protection Classification Summary Report is due to Roselle Fire Chief Paul Mucha and his department. Pictured with a fire truck are (l to r) Roselle Fire Chief Paul Mucha, Roselle Mayor Jamel C. Holley and Roselle Battalion Chief Jeffrey Breden.
I also must salute my colleagues on the Borough Council, who recognize the enormous importance of public safety and investing in the infrastructure necessary to keep Roselle strong. One of the reasons new residents purchase a home in our suburban community is because of the level of commitment to public safety. And, now, they will be further rewarded through lower homeowners’ insurance premiums.
Please allow me to extend an offer to my fellow mayors in New Jersey to visit Roselle and meet with Fire Chief Mucha and me. I believe our infrastructure is a model for the state and can be emulated by other communities that are interested in improving their safety rating.
Through this magazine, and other communication vehicles of the New Jersey League of Municipalities, we are able to share best practices on ways to benefit our constituents. I have learned plenty on these pages—and much of what has been shared has been implemented in Roselle over the past year. I also am eager to share programs that work in Roselle, as we collectively navigate through this challenging time to best administer municipal government in New Jersey