A remodel of South Montgomery County Fire Station 4 has created a separate wing for the six paramedics now assigned to the station on Birnham Woods Drive.
In a collaborative effort between firefighters and emergency medical workers, an extra wing was added to include three dormitory-style bedrooms, one bathroom, a living room area and small kitchen space for the paramedics to move their operations from a nearby temporary building to the fire station, which originally was built in 2010.
An extra bay for the EMS truck also was added from an unused space at the station.
The move is a partnership between the Montgomery County Hospital District, which funds the paramedics, and Emergency Services District 8, which funds the Fire Department.
This is not the first time the South Montgomery Fire Department has partnered with another agency, both to consolidate space and in anticipation of future growth.
The station built in 2013 on Aldine Westfield Road recently added separate space for the Precinct 3 Constable’s Office.
“We have the same mission and it’s for the betterment of the public,” Fire Chief Robert M. Hudson said. “But sometimes, when you get into the higher-up of an organization, you don’t always see eye to eye on what is the best for the public. But when you get administrations that work together and decide that this makes sense to share a building, it’s better for everybody.
“In public safety, there can sometimes be too much territorialism and it shouldn’t be that way. We should be working together.”
With the Grand Parkway construction, a Department of Transportation project between U.S. 290 and U.S. 59 in northwest Harris County and South Montgomery County, first responders eventually will have to make an adjustment to new traffic and development that comes with the new road.
Fire Station 4 sits directly across from the parkway construction on Birnham Woods Drive.
It is still primarily a residential area; but with the parkway under construction, there could soon be more commercial property that requires attention from first responders.
“This turned out to be a really good location, especially with the parkway going through,” MCHD CEO Randy Johnson said. “But it is also a very nice facility. We’ve basically just value added. For us to add a self-contained apartment for EMS to shower and have their own space, while sharing with the Fire Department, that saves us probably $400,000 to $500,000.”
Adding to the fire station cost MCHD roughly $460,000, which is less expensive than remodeling Station 23 in The Woodlands at $1 million, or constructing the regional station for District 4 in the Magnolia area at $1.2 million.
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