The Naples Airport Authority and the City of Naples (FL) Fire-Rescue Department recently opened a new $5.8 million Naples Airport Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting Station/Naples Fire Station No. 3 with a hose uncoupling ceremony.
Kerry Keith, senior director of development and facilities for the Naples Airport Authority, says the new state-of-the-art facility replaces the airport’s original station built in 1989. “The old station was past its useful life,” Keith observes. “It was built at a time when we had a lot less activity and staffing needs were different, so there was sleeping quarters for only two persons, the rooms were small, and the general layout of the station was not conducive to spending 24 to 48 hours there.”
Keith notes the new station was built to withstand a Category 5 hurricane to ensure continuity of service, and has a conference room with large flatscreen monitors for weather and communications information to allow it to serve an emergency operations center (EOC) to assist with Collier County response efforts. Besides the conference room, the station has three dorm rooms for firefighters, unisex bathrooms, a chief’s office and bedroom, a large exercise room that could be converted to a bunk room in an emergency, a kitchen/dining/day room area, and a patio with a barbeque grill off the kitchen.
Pete DiMaria, Naples Fire-Rescue Department chief, says the department has 65 paid firefighters working out of three stations, including the new airport station. “The new station has 4,600 square feet of living area, and 4,400 square feet of space in three drive-through apparatus bays, plus various storage rooms,” DiMaria notes. “The airport station has washers, extractors and dryers to clean turnout gear in a laundry room off the apparatus bays, a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) storage room, a decon room, a bunker gear storage room, and a generator backup room that can power the entire station.”
The airport station houses an Oshkosh ARFF (aircraft rescue and firefighting) truck, and a Ford F-350 Super Duty truck set up with a skid unit. The other two Naples Fire-Rescue stations each have an engine, aerial, rescue and EMS (emergency medical services) transport unit to handle calls within a 16-square-mile district that has 25,000 annual residents, which swell in size to 85,000 population with winter visitors during the Thanksgiving-to-Easter period, DiMaria says.
Keith points out that the apparatus bays have overhead doors on the street side, and Rytek rollup doors that open in three seconds on the airport side, which has restricted public access.
ALAN M. PETRILLO is a Tucson, Ariz.-based journalist, the author of three novels and five non-fiction books, and a member of the Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment editorial advisory board. He served 22 years with Verdoy (NY) Fire Department, including the position of chief.