Firehouse ® Magazine recently asked a sampling of manufacturers of firefighter training facilities to participate in a roundtable discussion focused on issues such as ways in which their facilities help firefighters meet their training goals, after-the-sale service, funding assistance...
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HAJEWSKI: After the initial sale, Fire Facilities can also provide most inspection services to meet NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) requirements. The inspections are performed by our own in-house professional engineers. In the event that a building is inadvertently damaged or components reach the end of their useful life, replacement parts are available. We also offer relining of existing burn rooms, and offer field construction services. Our buildings last a long time, so we understand the importance of being able to recreate a component from a 20-plus-year-old project.
HARRIS & SCHAER: TCA specializes in fire service architecture so we continue to learn from our clients on how materials hold up to long- and short-term use. We walk the stations with the clients after one year of occupancy to identify any material maintenance issues and document comments from the actual users of the facility to get valuable feedback on how the station works for them. These lessons are used the next time we design a project so that future client gets the benefit of all the information from all the previous stations. Beyond this one year, we continue to monitor material use and maintenance issues from materials to mechanical systems to insure we have the most current feedback. As a team, we can also walk our clients through other older facilities to see what has worked and not worked for those facilities and what maintenance issues they may be having.
TEMPERLY: At TSG we are very concerned with the longevity and maintenance requirements of our structures and provide each element with that in mind. Certain components such as the exterior skins are manufactured from base steel that is galvanized, then factory coated with two coats of baked-on enamel. Other components such as burn room doors and shutters are powder coated for durability still other components are furnished in stainless steel for both durability and corrosion resistance. Our burn room insulation system combines the time-tested calcium silicate insulation products with new technologies to greatly improve its performance and durability.
The extreme uses that these facilities are put through do necessitate some level of maintenance. Normally, minor repairs can be accomplished locally but we are also prepared to offer our services to do repairs and/or modifications to our towers. We can also modify or repair towers of other designs.
JAHNKE: WHP offers full turnkey support to its customers. From start to finish – and beyond. The customer has one number to call to get their questions answered or concerns addressed. Maintenance of the building is simple and straightforward. Elements of the building, unlike concrete and block structures, are readily observable and any wear is easy to identify and mediate. All major components are hot-dipped galvanized, which protects against rust. Most maintenance is minor and can be handled by local personnel. WHP offers inspection services designed to help departments extend the life of their facility. Additionally, we actively reach out to our customer base to share with them innovative ways that they can maximize the use of their facility. We work closely with our customers to help design additions, incorporate new options and maintain their existing structure.
Q. Funding is a challenge for all fire departments. Do you have staff and/or programs that help departments obtain grants and other funding lines?
HARRIS & SCHAER: TCA has programs and processes that allow us to work quickly with our clients in determining their training, facility and operational needs. Our philosophy is that these facilities are community investments and if we can help our clients get their needs established and show the community what the possibilities are in a positive way, the chances of getting money to build their project is much more likely.
While there are no more federal grants or “free” money for building fire stations or training towers, there are grants for equipment, programs and even vehicles if the client can show their need. We also know that there are many qualified experts in the field of grant writing and finance consulting that would benefit the cities and districts we serve. Just as TCA is an expert in our field of fire service and training facility design, we feel using experts in the fields of finance and grant writing have proven to be the most successful for our clients.