10 Station Design Tips

Cincinnati’s Fire Station 35 designed by MSA Architecture impressed the F.I.E.R.O. Fire Station Design Award Jury by the way the floor plan responds to a site that is constricted in width at the street edge and challenged by a drop off in topography on the opposite end.  

Courtesy of the Fire Industry Education Resource Organization (F.I.E.R.O.)

The following are 10 station design tips compiled by members of F.I.E.R.O. compiled by its Jurors years of experience in designing fire stations as well as judging station designs for its Fire Station Design Symposium awards entries.

  1. Provide a place for the kitchen garbage and recycling cans so they are not out in the floor in the way—not to mention unsightly.
  2. Design a dedicated room off the apparatus floor that is dark and well ventilated for PPE storage.
  3. If possible, hire an architect that has experience in designing at least a few fire stations. If this is not possible, there are many excellent architects who you can require to team up with an architect or fire station design consultant to get the job done on your station. Even experienced fire station architects at some point designed their first fire station.
  4. In checking the references for fire station architects, check not only the references given, but check also for previous clients not on the reference list. These do not have to be fire station clients to learn something of the performance of the architect. 
  5. Many training props can be designed into a station without negatively impacting the normal functions and appearance of the station.
  6. Required stairwells in two-story fire stations can often be extended upward one or two levels to double as training towers or even hose towers.
  7. Be sure the fitness room can be viewed via a glass wall to help ensure that someone working out does not go down unnoticed. 
  8. Bifold bay doors are expensive up front, but they open and close faster, last longer, require less maintenance, and are less likely to be struck by apparatus leaving the station. They are always in view of the operator to complete open position.
  9. A decontamination area is needed adjacent to the apparatus bay. The decontamination area should have large stainless steel sinks and perhaps a shower stall as well.
  10. All fire stations should have a backup emergency power supply that can power the entire station or at least the essential parts of it. The public needs to know the fire department is open for business while the rest of the community may not be.


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