From time immemorial, the Merchantville-Pennsauken Water Commission and the Pennsauken Fire Department have shared a strong and beneficial bond. Whether it is maintaining our infrastructure and fire hydrants to support the fire department’s mission of providing fire suppression, or the fire department assisting in our confined space emergency drills, a level of mutual respect and admiration has existed between the two entities.
This year has been no exception. Working side by side with the Pennsauken Fire Department – as well as the Merchantville and Cherry Hill Fire Departments – inspections of our systems fire suppression ratings were conducted by the Insurance Services Office, Inc., an organization that collects statistical data, promulgates rating information, develops standard policy forms, and files information with state regulators on behalf of insurance companies that purchase its services. These ratings provide statistical information on risk that insurance companies then use to decide things such as homeowners’ insurance rates. The less identified risk, the lower the rates. This serves as a prime example of township organizations working together for the benefit of home and business owners.
When it comes to training for either entity, that working relationship continues. This year, the Pennsauken Fire Department will work with the MPWC on our confined space drill. These drills help us to develop strategies to help keep MPWC employees safe in confined space work conditions – such as changing out water meters – and helps to keep the Pennsauken Fire Department up to date on confined spaces in our service area and how best to retrieve potential victims of injuries or entrapment. Doing so makes sure that the civil servants of both agencies go home the same way they left it each and every day.
On an annual basis, OSHA requires that the MPWC conducts “fit testing” of our full-face masks, which are used during operations involving dangerous chemicals. Safety/Training Officer Norm Figueroa from the Fire Department takes time each year to conduct these inspections. His assistance cuts hours of training time, travel expense, and scheduling issues for the MPWC, something for which we are eternally grateful.
Most recently, Fire Marshal Captain Dan Kerr provided in-house training to all the MPWC employees on fire safety, as well as hands-on training with fire extinguishers. This OSHA mandated training provides a safer work environment, not only for MPWC employees, but also our customers, neighbors, vendors, and visitors to our facilities.
So for both the MPWC, as well as the Pennsauken Fire Department, this kind of training is priceless and helps us make our community a safer place to live and work.