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Knee Pain Treatment & Specialist

In Laurence Hbr, NJ

Avoid Surgery and Reduce Pain with

Advanced Knee Pain Treatment in Laurence Hbr, NJ

Are you experiencing knee pain symptoms such as popping, clicking, bone-on-bone grinding, achiness, or sharp stabs? You're not alone in this journey. Knee pain affects nearly 25% of adults in the United States, causing discomfort, swelling, and chronic pain that can hinder everyday activities like childcare, walking, and exercise. Shockingly, recent statistics from The American Academy of Family Physicians indicate a 65% increase in diagnosed knee pain cases.

In a world where invasive surgeries and prescription painkillers are often the default solutions, it's crucial to explore the effective non-invasive options that are available. These alternative treatments provide relief without the associated risks of surgery.

Today, many doctors still recommend invasive surgeries and prescription painkillers rather than exploring non-invasive options. While those treatments are needed in some circumstances, there are alternative treatments available that can help you overcome knee pain without needing to go under the knife.

NJ Sports Spine and Wellness' advanced knee pain treatment in Laurence Hbr, NJ gives men and women suffering from knee pain hope. Instead of relying on surgery, our team of doctors and physical therapists use non-invasive, highly effective treatments to help heal prevalent conditions such as:

Service Areas

Arthritis

Soft tissue injury

ACL tears

MCL tears

Patella dislocation

Misalignment of the kneecap

Patella tendonitis

Jumper's knee

Osgood Schlatter's Disease

Knee

With the right treatment,

many people can reduce their pain and improve their function, allowing them to return to normal daily activities. Plus, by taking preventative measures and seeking prompt care from our team, it's possible to reduce your risk of developing chronic knee pain and other painful knee conditions. If you've been searching for a non-invasive way to eliminate knee pain and get back to an active life, your journey to recovery starts here.

Let's take a closer look at some of the knee pain treatments available at NJ Sports Spine and Wellness, which all serve as great alternatives to knee replacement surgery.

Physical Therapy:

Optimizing Musculoskeletal Health with Conservative Care

The field of Physical Therapy (PT) aims to rehabilitate individuals who have experienced injury, illness, or disability by restoring their mobility and function. Physical therapists cater to patients of various ages and capabilities, ranging from young athletes to senior citizens, in order to help them surpass physical limitations and improve their standard of living with advanced knee pain treatment in Laurence Hbr, NJ.

At NJ Sports Spine and Wellness, our physical therapy program was founded on a patient-centric philosophy, where physical therapists work closely with patients to get a deep understanding of their goals, preferences, and capabilities. In doing so, they can create a tailor-made treatment strategy to address their unique knee pain with the goal of avoiding a knee replacement. Treatment may involve exercises that are therapeutic in nature and can include:

  • Joint mobilizations
  • Soft tissue mobilization using cupping
  • Graston technique
  • Soft tissue massage
  • Stretching of associated muscle groups

Joint Mobilization for Knee Pain

This unique knee pain solution involves physical therapists using skilled manual therapy techniques to help improve your joint range of motion while simultaneously reducing your knee pain.

During joint mobilization, a physical therapist applies targeted pressures or forces to a joint in specific directions to improve its mobility. The intensity of the force applied can vary, and it is adjusted based on the patient's comfort level. Joint mobilization is generally pain-free.

STM

Soft Tissue Mobilization (STM)

Soft Tissue Mobilization is a manual therapy technique that involves stretching and applying deep pressure to rigid muscle tissue. This helps to relax muscle tension and move fluids that are trapped in the tissues that cause pain and inflammation. This effective form of physical therapy is often used as an advanced knee pain treatment in Laurence Hbr, NJ for treating knee strains, knee sprains, knee pain, and more.

Graston

The Graston Technique

The Graston Technique involves the use of handheld instruments to identify and break up scar tissue through specialized massage. During a Graston Technique session, physical therapists use convex and concave tools for cross-friction massage, which involves rubbing or brushing against the grain of the scar tissue. This process re-introduces small amounts of trauma to the affected area. In some cases, this process temporarily causes inflammation, which can actually boost the amount and rate of blood flow in the knee. This process helps initiate and promote the healing process so you can get back to a normal life.

Massage

Soft Tissue Massage

Soft tissue massage is a less intense form of massage than it's deep-tissue relative. Instead of focusing on slow and firm strokes to reach the deep layers of muscles and tissues, this massage technique uses a variety of pressures, depths, and durations. Soft tissue massage is helpful in alleviating different types of knee aches, pains, and injuries. Soft tissue massages can also help reduce stress, improve circulation, and promote relaxation.

Advanced Mechanics and Technology:

The Future of Knee Pain Therapy

While knee pain is a common symptom that affects millions of Americans every year, no two cases of knee pain are ever exactly alike. Some types of knee injuries require non-traditional solutions. At New Jersey Sports Spine and Wellness, we offer a range of treatments that leverage mechanics and technology to help patients recover from injuries while treating inflammation and pain as well as resolve the root cause of the pain.

AlterAlterG® Anti-Gravity Treadmill

The AlterG® Anti-Gravity Treadmill is equipped with NASA Differential Air Pressure (DAP) technology, which is a precise air calibration system that uses the user's actual body weight to enhance rehabilitation and training. By utilizing a pressurized air chamber, the AlterG allows patients and athletes to move without any pain or restrictions.

This advanced knee pain treatment in Laurence Hbr, NJ uniformly reduces gravitational load and body weight up to 80% in precise 1% increments. The results can be incredible, with patients reporting benefits such as:

  • Restoring and building of knee strength
  • Restored range of motion in the knee
  • Better balance
  • Improved knee function
  • More

What Makes the AlterG® Anti-Gravity Treadmill So Effective?

The AlterG® Anti-Gravity Treadmill can monitor various metrics such as speed, gait pattern, stride length, and weight distribution. With real-time feedback and video monitoring, your rehabilitation team can promptly and accurately identify issues and pain points or monitor your progress throughout your knee pain rehabilitation journey.

One of the key benefits of this cutting-edge equipment is that it replicates natural walking and movement patterns without the artificial feel that hydrotherapy or harnesses create. This makes it an excellent choice for faster recovery after knee injuries or surgeries, as it allows for early mobilization while also preserving strength. Furthermore, it is ideal for sports recovery as athletes can use it for physical conditioning maintenance.

Advanced Knee Pain Treatment Laurence Hbr, NJ
Advanced Knee Pain Treatment Laurence Hbr, NJ

Low-Level Laser Therapy

Our advanced treatment modalities for knee pain include laser therapy, which harnesses the revolutionary power of light through photobiomodulation (PBM). LiteCureâ„¢ low-level laser therapy is available for acute and chronic types of knee pain and can be hugely beneficial when coupled with physical therapy, occupational therapy, chiropractic care, and sports recovery care.

Understanding Photobiomodulation (PBM)

PBM is a medical treatment that harnesses the power of light to stimulate the body's natural healing abilities. The photons from the light penetrate deep into the tissue and interact with mitochondria, which results in a boost in energy production. This interaction sets off a biological chain reaction that increases cellular metabolism. Utilizing low-level light therapy has been shown to:

  • Alleviate knee pain
  • Speed up tissue healing
  • Promote overall health and wellness
  • Expedite knee pain injury recovery
Advanced Knee Pain Treatment Laurence Hbr, NJ

Exclusive Access to

Pain Management Professionals

At NJ Sports Spine & Wellness, we know that every patient requires a personalized approach to chronic knee pain and condition management. Sometimes, our patients need access to pain management professionals, who can offer relief in conjunction with physical therapy and other solutions like low-level laser therapy.

Two of the most common services we offer for pain management includes acupuncture which can assist in avoiding knee replacement surgery.

Acupuncture is a common treatment for knee pain that involves inserting thin needles into specific points in your knee. This ancient Chinese medicine has gained popularity in Western culture due to its effectiveness in treating various conditions with minimal side effects.

Acupuncture works by stimulating the nervous system to release various biochemicals, including endorphins and other neurotransmitters. The release of these chemicals helps to reduce inflammation, decrease pain perception, and improve overall blood circulation.

Multiple studies have shown that acupuncture can be effective in treating knee pain caused by a variety of conditions, including osteoarthritis and injuries related to physical activity like running. Acupuncture can also help reduce inflammation, improve muscle function, and decrease pain perception, making it a viable treatment on its own or as an addition to traditional treatment methods like physical therapy.

When undergoing acupuncture, a professional acupuncturist will insert thin needles into specific acupoints on the skin. These needles are left in place for roughly 20 to 30 minutes and may be gently stimulated for an enhanced effect. Patients might experience a slight tingle or warmth at the needle insertion site, but overall, acupuncture is considered a painless procedure.

Acupuncture has been a trusted and effective treatment option for thousands of years. The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes acupuncture as a legitimate form of healthcare, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has even funded research studies to explore its efficacy for a range of medical conditions. To learn more about acupuncture for knee pain, contact NJSSW today.

Advanced Knee Pain Treatment Laurence Hbr, NJ

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a common treatment for knee pain that involves inserting thin needles into specific points in your knee. This ancient Chinese medicine has gained popularity in Western culture due to its effectiveness in treating various conditions with minimal side effects.

Acupuncture works by stimulating the nervous system to release various biochemicals, including endorphins and other neurotransmitters. The release of these chemicals helps to reduce inflammation, decrease pain perception, and improve overall blood circulation.

Multiple studies have shown that acupuncture can be effective in treating knee pain caused by a variety of conditions, including osteoarthritis and injuries related to physical activity like running. Acupuncture can also help reduce inflammation, improve muscle function, and decrease pain perception, making it a viable treatment on its own or as an addition to traditional treatment methods like physical therapy.

Advanced Knee Pain Treatment Laurence Hbr, NJ

What Happens During Acupuncture Therapy for Knee Pain?

When undergoing acupuncture, a professional acupuncturist will insert thin needles into specific acupoints on the skin. These needles are left in place for roughly 20 to 30 minutes and may be gently stimulated for an enhanced effect. Patients might experience a slight tingle or warmth at the needle insertion site, but overall, acupuncture is considered a painless procedure.

Advanced Knee Pain Treatment Laurence Hbr, NJ

Is Acupuncture Actually Effective for Knee Pain?

Acupuncture has been a trusted and effective treatment option for thousands of years. The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes acupuncture as a legitimate form of healthcare, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has even funded research studies to explore its efficacy for a range of medical conditions. To learn more about acupuncture for knee pain, contact NJSSW today.

Avoid Knee Replacements with Advanced Knee Pain Treatment in Laurence Hbr, NJ

Advanced Knee Pain Treatment Laurence Hbr, NJ

When it comes to knee pain therapies and treatments, getting a knee replacement should be last on your list. Why put your body through such trauma if you haven't tried other non-invasive treatment options? Whether you're an athlete trying to work through a knee injury or you're over 65 and are dealing with osteoarthritis, NJ Sports Spine and Wellness can help.

It all starts with an introductory consultation at our office in Matawan or Marlboro. During your first visit, we'll talk to you about your knee pain symptoms, the goals you have in mind, and the advanced knee pain treatments available to you at our practice. From there, it's only a matter of time before you get back to a healthy, active lifestyle.

Every day you wait can worsen your knee condition. Contact us today and let our team help get you on the road to recovery and life with painful knees.

Latest News in Laurence Hbr, NJ

EPA takes over Raritan Bay Superfund study from company responsible for cleanup

Dissatisfied with the pace of a Superfund site cleanup in Old Bridge, the head of the federal Environmental Protection Agency said the EPA was taking over a study of how to remediate a Raritan Bay beach from the company found responsible for its lead contamination.“At its core, EPA’s Superfund cleanup program is about protecting people’s health,” EPA Administrator Michael Re...

Dissatisfied with the pace of a Superfund site cleanup in Old Bridge, the head of the federal Environmental Protection Agency said the EPA was taking over a study of how to remediate a Raritan Bay beach from the company found responsible for its lead contamination.

“At its core, EPA’s Superfund cleanup program is about protecting people’s health,” EPA Administrator Michael Regan told a crowd of three dozen reporters, environmental activists, and local, county, state, and federal officials gathered Thursday at the Raritan Bay Slag Superfund Site.

“We must address the elevated levels of lead at this site, specifically,” Regan added. “A legacy of using slag to build walls and jetties is unacceptable. We’re also sensitive to the fact that this important work impacts the availability of a treasured local resource: the beautiful beach behind us.”

Lead has been found to cause learning disabilities and other ailments in children.

In 2009 the EPA found lead levels in three locations along the Raritan Bayfront in Old Bridge and Sayreville to be more than 100 times acceptable levels, a contamination cluster collectively known as the Raritan Bay Slag Site.

Dallas-based NL Industries, which was formerly known as National Lead and operated a now-defunct plant in Perth Amboy, had provided lead slag used as fill in the 1970s for construction of a sea wall immediately north of the Old Bridge beach.

The EPA eventually named NL as the party responsible for lead contamination of the site, and in 2014 the agency ordered the company to clean it up or face hundreds of millions of dollars in fines.

NL, which in the past has denied responsibility for the contamination, did not respond to repeated requests for comment on Thursday.

The company filed a lawsuit in 2013 asserting it had merely supplied the slag and did not dump it. Rather, the suit asserted, local, county and state officials were aware of the situation and should be the ones responsible for the cleanup. Officials said Thursday that the case still had not been settled.

EPA officials said Thursday that NL had produced successive cleanup design studies for the Laurence Harbor beach, first in June 2020, and then, following agency comments, in April, which lacked sufficient detail and were otherwise unacceptable.

Rather than prolong the back-and-forth with the company, the agency decided to complete the design study itself. This was after the agency said NL had already been given an extension to produce the study beyond its initial deadline of January 2015.

“It’s more a question of the quality, they submitted the design to us twice, after the first submission, we provided comments, and when we submitted the second submission not all those comments were addressed,” Eric Wilson, deputy director of the EPA’s Region II Superfund program, said after Thursday’s event.

Walter Mugdan, the EPA’s regional administrator for the area that includes New Jersey, said the agency hoped to complete the design study by the end of 2022, though factors including the availability of funds would then determine when the actual cleanup would take place.

He and others said the federal infrastructure bill approved by the Senate and now before the House was likely to contain waterfront cleanup money that could finance the Raritan Bay project and other jobs, before the agency would then seek to recoup the costs from the responsible parties, as proscribed by Superfund guidelines.

Greg Remaud, director of NY/NJ Baykeeper, an environmental group that has followed the Raritan Bay slag project closely but did not take part in Thursday’s event, applauded the EPA’s takeover announcement as “great news,” that would surely expedite completion of the study and, ultimately, the reopening of the beach.

“That doesn’t happen a lot,” Remaud said of the design study’s takeover. “But, frankly, we’re glad it happened, because NL is a recalcitrant party.”

Regan was making his first official visit to New Jersey since being appointed to the country’s top environmental post by President Joe Biden and being sworn-in in March.

The setting was at Old Bridge Waterfront Park, a Middlesex County open space in the township’s Laurence Harbor section, where the discovery of lead had closed the beach 12 years earlier. Shaded by a tree from Thursday’s sweltering sun, Regan stood against the backdrop of an empty beach and a chain link fence that has kept visitors out since 2009.

The agency also found lead on the bayshore about eight blocks west of the beach, around a jetty near Cheesequake Creek in Sayreville, and on the sea wall’s eastern end, at Margaret’s Creek in Old Bridge. The Margaret’s Creek portion was cleaned up in 2018.

The total cost of cleaning up all three portions of the site was estimate at $79 million in 2013, though officials said the final cost is likely to be more than that.

Thursday’s event was hosted by U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone (D-6th District). It included Old Bridge Mayor Owen Henry, who thanked Regan for his announcement and told him, “We need your help.”

N.J. Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Shawn Latourette was also on hand, and promised state assistance to fund the project if necessary.

The event also included Teresa Szakielo, an Old Bridge resident who chairs the Raritan Bay Slag Superfund Community Advisory Group, who was praised for her diplomatic but determined efforts to see the cleanup through to its conclusion.

“We won’t stop until it’s done,” Szakielo told the crowd. Turning to Regan, she added with a smile, “That’s a promise.”

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Laurence Harbor Fire House Open House This Sunday, Oct. 8

OLD BRIDGE, NJ — The Laurence Harbor Fire Department would like to invite everyone to an open house from 1-4 p.m. this Sunday, Oct. 8.The Laurence Harbor Firehouse is located at 20 Laurence Parkway, Laurence Harbor.The open house is a chance for kids to climb on trucks and try out an actual fire hose, and for all members of the family to learn about fire prevention and safety, particularly cooking safety — the theme this year is Cooking Safety Starts With You! It's also a chance for anyone who is interested in volun...

OLD BRIDGE, NJ — The Laurence Harbor Fire Department would like to invite everyone to an open house from 1-4 p.m. this Sunday, Oct. 8.

The Laurence Harbor Firehouse is located at 20 Laurence Parkway, Laurence Harbor.

The open house is a chance for kids to climb on trucks and try out an actual fire hose, and for all members of the family to learn about fire prevention and safety, particularly cooking safety — the theme this year is Cooking Safety Starts With You! It's also a chance for anyone who is interested in volunteering with Laurence Harbor Fire Department to learn more and get involved and help their community.

LHFD provides free training to volunteers — no prior experience is necessary.

1-4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 8 20 Laurence Parkway, Laurence Harbor

“Cooking is the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries, according to the National Fire Protection Association. By following safe cooking and kitchen practices every time, our residents can do a lot to protect themselves, each other and their homes,” said Laurence Harbor Fire Chief Brian Stitzel.

Those who attend the open house will learn the steps they can take to prevent cooking fires and stay safe if there is a fire.

And why not train to keep the whole community safe?

“As a Laurence Harbor Fire Company volunteer, you will build life-long friendships while learning skills that allow you to protect your neighbors and their property,” Stitzel said. “No experience is necessary, training is free and you’ll never forget these experiences.”

Fire Department volunteers will be available at the open house to talk about their volunteer experience and answer questions. They will also showcase the techniques and equipment they use to cut open a car and rescue accident victims.

The open house will also offer children and families many opportunities to have fun and learn about the fire department, Stitzel said. Kids can try their hand at using an actual fire hose. Anyone who loves fire trucks and other apparatus (and who doesn’t?) can view LHFD’s fleet and even climb on a vehicles. And the bright pink fire truck from Central New Jersey Pink Heals - a non-profit that supports people who are fighting cancer - will also be on hand.

Laurence Harbor Fire Department will also provide fire safety handouts for both children and adults to take home.

Old Bridge is planning a new beachfront community center. Here's what we know

OLD BRIDGE – The township may receive $2.25 million in federal funding for a new community and recreation center along the Laurence Harbor beachfront, which is initially estimated to cost about $5.1 million.Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., recently announced that he secured the funding in the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development spending bill, which the House is expected to vote on in the coming months.“This new shared space will help keep our friends and neighbo...

OLD BRIDGE – The township may receive $2.25 million in federal funding for a new community and recreation center along the Laurence Harbor beachfront, which is initially estimated to cost about $5.1 million.

Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., recently announced that he secured the funding in the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development spending bill, which the House is expected to vote on in the coming months.

“This new shared space will help keep our friends and neighbors active and bring the community together,” Pallone said in a news release. “I look forward to seeing this project move through the legislative process.”

The plan includes demolishing the existing building at the site and constructing a two-story 9,000-square-foot facility. The second floor would have a 1,319-square-foot terrace and the ground level would have an outdoor plaza and an amphitheater-like seating area.

"During these difficult economic times it’s important to recognize the need to increase and encourage recreational opportunities for our working families," Mayor Owen Henry said in the release. "We are excited to share the proposed conceptual plans for the Laurence Harbor Community Building. This is the first step towards the revitalization of Old Bridge’s waterfront, which will not only spur economic growth but also create an engaging destination place within the Township. The Township is currently working on designating the Laurence Harbor area as an area in need of redevelopment which will drive reinvestment and redevelopment opportunities.”

In Middlesex County:Prosecutor moves to strip Club 35 owners of $3.5 million in properties, cars, coins, cash

Township Engineer Nicole Shapiro, at a township council meeting in April, said the original building, which was built in the late 1970s and renovated in 2003, is oddly shaped,

"It's almost two octagons put together," she said.

The building is currently being used for summer camp, adult fitness and cooking classes, sports meetings and local civic groups. It is also used as a staging area by emergency personnel when there are events on the waterfront.

EI Associates was awarded the request for proposal to prepare a conceptual design, Shapiro said.

The new facility would include restrooms that can be accessed internally, as well as a men's and a women's restroom that can be accessed from the exterior for beachgoers.

Shapiro said the facility could also be used as a revenue-generating event space, an emergency shelter, as well as a warming or cooling facility.

Shapiro said the township is hoping to construct the facility in 2023.

sloyer@gannettnj.com

Susan Loyer covers Middlesex County and more for MyCentralJersey.com. To get unlimited access to her work, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.

Superfund cleanup stands beside Old Bridge’s new beachfront community center

OLD BRIDGE – Plans to construct a new multipurpose community building along the Laurence Harbor beachfront and clean up an adjacent Superfund site are moving forward.Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., joined Mayor Owen Henry, Township Council members and other officials at the site Wednesday to unveil conceptual plans for the n...

OLD BRIDGE – Plans to construct a new multipurpose community building along the Laurence Harbor beachfront and clean up an adjacent Superfund site are moving forward.

Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., joined Mayor Owen Henry, Township Council members and other officials at the site Wednesday to unveil conceptual plans for the new Laurence Harbor Community Building.

Pallone has secured $2.25 million in a federal money to partially pay for the project, which was initially estimated to cost about $5.1 million.

Henry said the project is a "great beginning of even greater things to come" for the neighborhood.

"We need a lot of help in this area, Congressman," Henry said. "You know we have the Superfund site on this waterfront and if you look out this door, we have the greatest view of the city of New York that exists on the Raritan Bay."

But, Henry said, between the people of Old Bridge and that view is a fence that protects the public from the lead contamination in the Superfund site.

"We need to get that cleaned up, and we can't do that ourselves," the mayor said. "That help has to come from the federal government."

The federal government has the means to get that cleaned up and then and only then will the township have a Laurence Harbor that will prosper, Henry said.

Pallone said the community building project "fit perfectly into what we were trying to accomplish and put into the appropriations bill."

Laurence Harbor has its own identity and should have its own community center, Pallone said.

Pallone also gave an update on the cleanup at the Raritan Bay Slag Superfund site.

In 2021, the Environmental Protection Agency announced plans to take over the design of plans to clean up the Superfund site on the Old Bridge and Sayreville border.

A portion of the Laurence Harbor beachfront has been closed for years because of lead contamination. The seawall and the jetty were constructed in the 1970s with slag, an industrial byproduct containing lead, manufactured at the Perth Amboy factory of National Lead, now NL Industries.

In 2007, the state Department of Environmental Protect discovered contamination along the seawall and notified the EPA in June 2008. Six years later, the EPA ordered NL Industries to remediate the site, based on the finding that the company had manufactured the slag that was causing the contamination.

The EPA says that completion of the remedial design is anticipated by May, Pallone said.

"And they do plan to actually start the remediation, we hope, this year – sometime by the end of the year," he said.

"I can't guarantee it, but we've been pushing really to get this design done and to actually start the remediation," Pallone said.

Nicole Shapiro, the township's director of community development in charge of the community center project, said the original building, there since the 1970s, has been programmed to its limits.

The building also has been used as a library with the Laurence Harbor library building out of commission, she said.

She said the two-story, 6,000-square-foot building's interior will have an open space design, so the township will be able to take full advantage of the space for programming.

The bottom floor will have bathrooms and a full kitchen. The second floor will have bathrooms, office space and meeting room space. There also will be an outside patio area, she said.

"Right now we're writing a request for proposal for final design," she said. "Within the next month, we will be getting responses on our proposal for final design to bring us to the construction phase, and hopefully this time next year or even in the fall time period, we're hoping to break ground on construction."

During the design phase, public meetings will be held.

Email: sloyer@gannettnj.com

Susan Loyer covers Middlesex County and more for MyCentralJersey.com. To get unlimited access to her work, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.

Laurence Harbor Fire Department Prepared for Summer Challenges

This post was contributed by a community member. The views expressed here are the author's own.Crime & SafetyThe volunteer fire department deals with a wide variety of calls depending on the season The Communication Solutions Group, Community Contributor|Updated Fri, Aug 19, 2022 at 1:25 pm ETLa...

This post was contributed by a community member. The views expressed here are the author's own.

Crime & Safety

The volunteer fire department deals with a wide variety of calls depending on the season

The Communication Solutions Group, Community Contributor

|Updated Fri, Aug 19, 2022 at 1:25 pm ET

Laurence Harbor, N.J. - While residents of Laurence Harbor and other nearby towns enjoy the community’s beach in the summer months, the fun and excitement of summertime comes with certain risk factors, and therefore a variety of fire and rescue calls for the Laurence Harbor Fire Department.

Members of Laurence Harbor — made up of all volunteers — must be capable of both water rescue missions and fire suppression if and when a call comes in.

“As a department, we face interesting challenges geographically,” Chief Brian Stitzel said. “We’re in close proximity to major cities, popular shore towns and of course our own beach community, so we see a variety of water emergencies.”

Rescue and fire suppression drills are held annually, typically early in the summer. The drills are to help ensure that the department as a whole is prepared for any calls that come in from the shore.

Laurence Harbor members will change into a water suit on the way to the call and are ready to jump onto a rescue boat and dive into the water if necessary. Members need to be capable of running hoses down from the fire engines on land to the docks to put out the boat fire, as well as able to run the fire pump.

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Navigating Rescues by Boat

Besides the water rescue and fire suppression training, some members need to be trained to operate the actual rescue vehicles. Laurence Harbor has two boats – Marine 1, which is a 23-foot center console boat used for water rescue and fire suppression, and Marine 2, a 16-foot AB boat used for water rescue only.

The department as a whole must be fully prepared for calls that come in from the shore, which means that a certain percentage of members need to be qualified and ready for each task.

“It’s a totally different aspect of fire service,” Stitzel said. “There’s various weather factors to worry about.”

The weather — hot, cold, windy — and water conditions such as current and water temperature can all effect navigation during rescues.

Other factors of a rescue or fire suppression are the amount of people who need to be rescued as well as the other boats that may be nearby.

The department recently received a call for a boat taking on water — the boat was having engine difficulties — 10 people were on a boat regulated for no more than five people. The call came in at night, which affected the ability to see while navigating to the boat. Fortunately, with the help of other nearby teams in the surrounding area, everybody was brought to safety and there were no injuries or casualties.

Fighting Forest Fires

Another unique aspect of being a Laurence Harbor firefighter is fighting forest fires. Unlike water rescues, forest fires are most prevalent in the spring and the fall, though Stitzel said this summer has been an exception because of a lack of rain.

The New Jersey Forest Fire Service holds a hands-on training course every year for new firefighters that is dedicated to preventing a brush or forest fire from expanding. Firefighters are trained on how to eliminate any potential items that would fuel a fire, such as dead leaves, pine needles, grass clippings or branches. These items are all forest fuels and result in a bigger, stronger fire.

There’s also a course dedicated to providing structural protection to buildings or homes that are in the vicinity of an active wildfire.

Situational Awareness Saves Lives

The general public can help out by always being aware of their surroundings. Stitzel says that those who own boats should have the knowledge and ability to operate their boat, and also pay attention to regulations (such as weight limit or boat capacity).

“Always be aware of your surroundings and be careful. Don’t operate a boat unless you are trained to do so,” said Stitzel.

And when it comes to fireworks, the chief says to leave it to the professionals. There are plenty of great firework displays in the area throughout the summer.

The department received a call on the Fourth of July; sparks from illegal fireworks caught brush behind somebody’s home and caught a large amount of dead leaves that were dumped. Fortunately, no houses caught fire, but it very well could have been worse.

“Dropping grass clippings, leaves and branches in your backyard is stacking additional fuel. If there’s a fire, there is more of a chance that it will get bigger and expand,” Stitzel explained.

A Call for Volunteers

Laurence Harbor Fire Department is seeking motivated individuals to join as volunteer firefighters. Volunteers can expect to participate in training sessions and contribute to administrative duties across the department. Visit www.lhfd1.com- to learn more and complete an inquiry form. “We offer the best training for any emergency, and we look forward to welcoming new volunteers to the department,” Stitzel said.

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