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Frequently Asked Questions

Below we have outlined some of the most common questions we get asked on and off the fire ground. If you have any other question or inquiry that is not posted already please feel free to reach out and we will do our best to get it answered.

Click on the question below to be directed to the answer

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Are You Paid?

The Raritan Township Fire Company is 100% Volunteer. Our members can truly be anyone. From contractors to doctors, or even your neighbor.


What should I do when I see or hear an emergency vehicle coming towards me when I'm driving?

When it is safe to do so, you should pull over to the right and stop until all emergency vehicles have safely passed. If you cannot safely maneuver to the right, simply stop and stay stopped so the vehicles can go around you safely. Depending on the emergency, multiple apparatus may be responding. Be sure to check for additional emergency vehicles prior to pulling back out into traffic.


Do You Sleep/Stay at the Station?

No. R.T.F.C. volunteers do not have assigned shifts to standby. When there is an emergency, we are alerted electronically, via pager or smartphone, to respond.  During some major weather events, such as a significant snowstorm or hurricane, a storm standby is scheduled at the firehouse for volunteer members who are available.


How much prior experience or training do I need to volunteer?

No previous experience or training is necessary. You will need to become a New Jersey State Certified Firefighter – at no cost to you – to fight fires.


What additional training is available?

R.T.F.C. volunteers take pride in keeping our skills sharp and current. We hold monthly training drills and encourage members to pursue continuing education at local county fire academies. This can include specialized courses in Motor Vehicle Extrication Operations, Water Supply/Pumping, Driver Training for Fire Apparatus, as well as other advanced training.  Again, there is no cost to the member.


Are there other benefits to volunteering?

In addition to the satisfaction and pride that comes from helping others, our volunteers learn valuable life and leadership skills that for some can lead to public safety careers. Many also find volunteering fulfills a civic desire to be more involved in our community. Being a volunteer firefighter is challenging, exciting and rewarding.

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Can I volunteer without fighting fires?

Yes! Some of our members are either Drivers or Fire Police. Some members don’t respond to emergency calls, but they do everything else it takes to operate a volunteer fire company, including fundraising, staffing fire company community outreach events, holding administrative offices, and managing social media. 


I'm not 18 yet, can I join?

Yes! Check out the Junior Firefighter section of our Join Page.

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Where do you get funding?

The R.T.F.C. is a non-profit organization and we rely on funding from the township fo Raritan and the public to maintain our response to emergencies.


My smoke/CO detector is chirping, what should I do?

If your smoke detector is making a chirping noise it may be a dead battery or the detector is defective/end-of-life. Detectors typically go bad in 7-9 years. However, if you are unsure or it is constantly beeping, please exit the structure and dial 911 and we will be more than willing to ensure its safe.


Do you Fill Swimming Pools?

We are not filling swimming pools at this time.

Beach Ball in Pool

How do I find Santa on the Fire Truck?

We typically bring Santa around town in early-to-mid December. More information will be available via our Facebook page when he begins his tour of the area.

If you would like to track Santa, our Santa Tracker will be posted on our Facebook as well. 


Do you do public events?

Yes. We go to many different events throughout the year including Raritan Township Community Day, Hunterdon Community Day, and much more. Upon request, we will bring a fire truck to most public events. The crew will be available to explain the various functions of the apparatus as well as answer questions regarding firefighting and fire safety. If you would like to inquire about this please feel free to reach out via our Contact Us page.


Can Santa on the firetruck come down my street?

Unfortunately, we cannot take requests, however, we do our best to visit every street in the township over a period of nights. Please see our Facebook or our website for updates and to track Santa live!


When should I change my smoke/CO detector batteries?

Twice a year. A good reminder is when the clocks change for daylight savings, change your detector batteries to keep you and your home safe!

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Can you pump out my basement during a storm?

We do have the capability of doing this however if it is a major storm we may have other emergencies to attend to.

For more information on if we are able to attend to your request, contact the non-emergency line at (908) 782-2255, or call the Raritan Township Police Headquarters at (908) 782-8889, and your call will be directed to the proper service.

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Can I bring myself/son/daughter to see the station and trucks?

Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, we are not allowing the public inside/around our stations. Under normal circumstances, we are more than happy to give them a tour as long as a member is at the station. It is best if you call ahead and schedule a time to visit the station if you are coming with a group. This helps ensure that someone is available that can show you around the station.

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Why do I have to dial 9-1-1? If I call the fire station direct would it save time?

It is very important to call 9-1-1 during an emergency. The firefighters might not be at the station when you call. Even if they are, the firefighters will still have to activate 9-1-1 so that other emergency responders are notified. On the other hand, the 9-1-1 emergency system is designed to save valuable seconds. When you dial 9-1-1, the system routes the call to the police or fire unit that is closest to your home. Only call the fire station with non-emergency business.

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What kind of fire extinguisher should I buy for my home?

Homeowners should buy an extinguisher that can handle Class A-B-C fires.


This type of extinguisher is designed to extinguish fires that usually occur in homes including wood, paper, flammable liquids, and electrical fires.

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Do you install smoke detectors?

Sorry, we do not. A certified electrician, building maintenance staff member, or alarm company technician are the recommended installers.

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Why do volunteer firefighters have blue/white/amber flashing lights?

Firefighters may use these lights in order to respond to the fire house or scene in a safe and timely manner in accordance with NJ State Law.

"Under NEW JERSEY STATE LAW, drivers of non-emergency vehicles shall yield the right of way to the vehicle of any member of a volunteer fire company, a volunteer first aid squad, or rescue squad displaying emergency warning lights as in the same manner as authorized (marked) emergency vehicles (N.J.S.A. 39:4-92)."

What This Means:
When approached by a vehicle with a blue or red light........

  • You MUST pull over to the side of the road closest to the right-hand curb.

  • Do not block any intersections.

  • Do not follow emergency vehicles closer than 300 feet.

  • Do not park closer than 200 feet.

  • Failure to yield is punishable under New Jersey State Law as a Moving Violation.


Do you respond to medical emergencies?

We do not typically respond to medical emergencies however we are trained to deal with any call that we are dispatched to. In addition, some of our members are EMT's and are trained in dealing with medical incidents.

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Do you just respond to fires?

We respond to a wide range of calls including (but not limited to) fire alarm activiations, Carbon Monoxide detector activations, structure fires, brush fires, motor vehicle accidents, hazardous material spills, and helicopter landing zones.


How much will I have to pay for training, gear, etc...?

Nothing! Gear, training, pager, etc... is all 100% free.


How long does the application process usually take?

Typically the process to join is around 2 months. The paperwork must first be approved by the Township of Raritan, after which you will be subject to a screening with Hunterdon Occupational Health, as well as a background check.


Once that process is complete, your application to join will be voted on in our monthly business meeting by our members.


Do you refill fire extinguishers?

No we do not.

Fire Extinguisher

Is it better to have a CO/Smoke combo or separate detectors?

It does not matter if they are separate or a combination detector. As long as the batteries are changed every 6 months, and the detector is no more than 5 years old, the detectors should operate as intended by the manufacturer.

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How many calls do you go to?

The Raritan Township Fire Company is one of the busiest in the county and responds to, on average, 500-700 calls per year with an immediate response area of 38 square miles!

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