Detect, mitigate, eliminate: Multi-gas meters are a firefighter’s best friend

Through public-private partnerships, Jersey City Fire Department stocks the best equipment for the job

When a gas leak occurs, time is of the essence—to identify the source, and eliminate any points of ignition.

The men and women of Jersey City Fire Department, located in northern New Jersey, know this all too well. Serving an older city—and a dense one at that—the 670 emergency responders are part of the largest fire department in the state, working around the clock every day to provide fire protection, hazardous materials services, and first responder medical services.

“Our goal is to save lives and deliver the services we need to protect our residents,” says Deputy Chief Robert Daly of Jersey City FD. “Jersey City has a lot going on—and we service everything from residential homes to high rise multi-family buildings to subway tunnels to railroads—so there’s lots of places that you could have leaks and an ongoing need for emergency response.”

Being prepared for an emergency also means having the right equipment.

“We believe strongly in private-public partnerships to help us get the equipment we need, which can’t always come through public funds,” says Daly.

Located on the west bank of the Hudson River and overlooking Manhattan, Jersey City FD protects about 15 square miles of the city, which is home to about 292,000 residents.

“We staff the fire department with 17 engines, nine ladders and one heavy rescue unit,” says Daly. “While we have a hazardous materials team dedicated to dealing with all types of spills and chemical releases, we know that it’s best for all of our engine and ladder companies to have the metering devices they need to detect gas leaks as soon as we get a call.”

Multi gas monitors are built to detect four main gas sources—oxygen, carbon monoxide, lower explosive limits, and hydrogen sulfide. These meters give firefighters the critical information they need regarding the air inside a building.

Safe Community First Responder Program

Since its launch, Enbridge's Safe Community program has invested more than US$16.6 million (more than C$21.5 million) in first responder organizations near our pipelines and facilities.

In late 2021, Enbridge made a $9,740 Safe Community First Responder Program donation to Jersey City FD. The funding, which was expected to purchase 10 new gas meters, managed to purchase 12 top-of-the-line SENSIT Gas Detectors that have been allocated to fire units across the city.

These SENSIT detectors will enable firefighters to pinpoint a leak, mitigate the situation and return residents to their homes as quickly and safely as possible.

A gas meter generally has a life of 10 years and requires annual calibration. These new detectors for Jersey City FD have replaced those that were nearing the end of their operating life and equipped some units that never had detectors to start with. Now, responders have the best chance at finding gas leak sources and mitigating them as fast as possible.

“We can’t thank Enbridge enough for the friendship and partnership that we’ve developed with them,” says Daly. “You can really tell that they care about their neighbors.”

Enbridge’s energy infrastructure assets in New Jersey include our Texas Eastern Transmission natural gas pipeline network, Algonquin Gas Transmission pipeline and Lambertville Solar Project.

Enbridge safety staff invite members of the Jersey City FD to our facilities annually, to demonstrate operations and align safety protocols in the unlikely event of a pipeline emergency.

“We are usually dealing with people when they’re going through their worst time,” says Daly. “It’s important for us to be there.”

(TOP PHOTO: A Safe Community donation by Enbridge enabled the Jersey City Fire Department to purchase 12 top-of-the-line SENSIT Gas Detectors that have been allocated to fire units across the city.)