Fire Stations: 2018 in Review

By Chris Mc Loone

Since 2016, “The Fire Station” has covered myriad station designs, offered dozens of design tips, and covered a variety of station-related products. As 2018 comes to a close, I started to look back over the year and a few station-related items come to mind.

First, it continues to strike me that while designing a station might be a daunting task, it is not all that different from planning a fire truck purchase. Departments will look at their wants and needs, boil them down, pic different options, and then go about writing a document that has all the info so work can start. Yes, that’s a very simplified way of looking at it. But, one of the most critical parts of the process is that document. That document is the equivalent of your apparatus spec. If something isn’t in writing there, it doesn’t exist. That program document is your roadmap. Not ensuring that you have devoted the time necessary to get it right is the same as not focusing on your apparatus spec and getting a rig with hosebeds that don’t fit your hose. You will pay more for your station and have it a lot longer than your rig. Get the program document right.

Second, on the rig side we’ve seen a lot of talk about the “Clean Cab Concept.” Over the last two years cancer awareness in the fire service has become more mainstream, and this has understandably transferred to station design. Long available are diesel exhaust systems that remove diesel exhaust from the apparatus bays. Stations designed today are more and more including separate rooms for personal protective equipment (PPE) to get it off the apparatus floor. And, “hot zone” design has begun to gain favor with new stations. Hot zone design categorizes different sections of a fire station based on risk of contamination. It’s worth a consideration, especially since firefighter health and safety starts at the station.

Finally, just a few of my personal favorite fire station design elements:

  • Photos of past chiefs in conference rooms.
  • Antique fire apparatus displays.
  • Confined space rescue training space under the apron in front of the firehouse.
  • Red light/green light indicators indicating it is OK to leave the firehouse (i.e. door is completely open, etc.)—and don’t forget to have them on the outside as well for backing/pulling in.
  • Power to the gear racks. Firefighters need to charge their phones/tablets while on duty.

Looking ahead to 2019, we look forward to bringing you more coverage of fire stations throughout the country as well as the products that help you do your jobs more efficiently while on duty for the next call.

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