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    Default Fire Station Design

    I'm looking for anyone who has information on firehouse design. If anyone has built a new firehouse recently what have you included in it? Any unique ideas? For volunteers, is a bunk room more or less the norm for a new firehouse? One floor, Two floors?

    I know the Metro DC area (PG and Montgomery County MD) new firehouses are palaces.

    If anyone has pictures or new ideas, please post.

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    Fire Chief magazine has an annual fire station design competition. If you can find some back issues (or check online) you might come up with some good ideas.

    I believe that there is a fire station design working group under the Fire Chief umbrella, or perhaps as part of FEMSA. If you can't find links online through Fire Chief, PM me and I can probably find a contact person.
    ullrichk
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    Here are some sites you may want to visit...

    SCN Architects
    http://www.fire-facilities.com

    RRM Design Group
    http://www.firestationdesign.com

    Morton Buildings
    http://www.mortonbldgs.com

    Cole-Russell Architects
    http://www.colerussell.com

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    1. Hot water gardenhoses in the apparatus bays -- great for cold weather cleanup.

    2. In-floor heat for apparatus bays.

    3. Ceramic tile for heavy use walkways.



    My 2 cents worth.
    May we never forget our fallen, worldwide.

    I.A.C.O.J. Safety/Traffic Control Officer

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    We are in the process of finishing construction of our new firehouse. It is actually a new apparatus floor that was added on to the existing building. Once completed and we have enough money saved up we are going to renovate the current apparatus floor into offices, fitness facilities(?), a training room, and stand-by/bunk room.
    Once I get some pictures I will try and post them.
    Shawn M. Cecula
    Firefighter
    IACOJ Division of Fire and EMS

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    OH!! We built our station out of cut-faced block. I recommend you DO NOT paint it, but rather have it dyed to the color(s) you desire. We used a water-proof block. Zero mainentance!!!!!!! (other than cleaning)
    May we never forget our fallen, worldwide.

    I.A.C.O.J. Safety/Traffic Control Officer

    E6511

    "Who's Who Among American Teachers" - 2005, 2006 Honoree

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    AND......if you want to save a buck or two, go to a commercial kitchen retailer. They probably will have non-compliant stainless sinks and counters that they have torn out from other sites. While they cannot be used in kitchens, they make GREAT SCBA servicing areas for your station. Ours were all donated.
    May we never forget our fallen, worldwide.

    I.A.C.O.J. Safety/Traffic Control Officer

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    "Who's Who Among American Teachers" - 2005, 2006 Honoree

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    We have 4 stations, 2 are just basically big garages with a 1 floor appartus bay, the 3rd has a truck downstairs and a company room (we still operate under a 1 department 5 company system) and our Central station is circa 1911 with 3 floors and a basement. Other departments around us have built a 1 floor station w/ appartus bay and housing attached on the side.
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    Things that are nice, money and space being available
    1. A maintenance bay that you can get your largest piece of equipment into and still work on it.
    2. Overhead doors on both sides, being able to pull through, although not a necessity, is a major convenience when you need to.

    Necessities -
    1.fully equipped ladies and mens restrooms/showers
    2. A room out of traffic for filing and recordkeeping.
    3. A meeting room large enough to hold all your membership
    4. Radio/communication/map Room
    5. Chief's office
    6. Laundry room
    7. Kitchen

    Bunk rooms? full time, yes, volunteer? maybe. An area to make a "lounge" is always nice.

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    What ever you do, build with the future in mind. Even though you're volunteer and don't need a bunk room, you may need one in the future. Add cable, outlets, and phone jacks everywhere. If you have 20 personnel now build for more (within reason of course). Visit other fire stations to see what's out there and get their input. We visited several stations, including a couple of new stations and talked to the firefighters to see what they like and don't like.
    Our department put together a buiding committe to do most of the leg work. Have everyone make their own list of "needs" and "wants" this will give you a starting point. Remember this, you can't make everyone happy.

    Have fun and enjoy working on this project.

  11. #11
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    Cool And Now, From His Palace.....

    .....comes King Harve I, with great wisdom on Palace Construction. To be brief, DON'T DO IT. Many stations around here are grand to look at,( www.gdvfd18.com ) from a distance, but up close, yuk. The biggest single point about building construction is QUALITY CONTROL. (or lack thereof) Am I saying that someone needs to baby-sit the builder? Damn right I am. If you want a decent job, you have to make sure that everyone is working from the same sheet. Make quality control job 1, and the rest of it will fall in place with little effort. Stay Safe....
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
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    Here are a couple ideas that you may already have done.
    Check out the Station spotlight section on the Firehouse.com home page were members have submitted pics of the inside and outside of their stations. Those should inspire some ideas.
    While the PG and D.C. area stations are indeed nice, depending on where you are located and the makeup of your Department, they might not be what you are really looking for. Have any departments in your area recently made major renovations or built brand new stations? Ask for a tour of these buildings and ask lots of questions. Consider arrainging to bring members of your City or County government with you on these tours. Especially if they are going to be the ones to vote on the budget or design that you ultimately submit. They may hae visited your station and know how it looks but it's a good bet that they probably haven't visited other stations and have no idea of how different some designs could look. Seeing first hand what is possible could be a big selling point and may help you to win over some who were only interested in going with a 'lowest bidder' bare bones design.
    While visiting these stations make sure to take notes and get feedback from the members there about any problems which they encountered after the work was completed. Are there things they would change if they could do it over? Find out who the designers and builders were that did the work. Would that department recommend them to do your work? If you find a particular station you really like try to get a copy of the building plans. It's possible that with a very few changes the design can be fit to your budget or situation. Just like many districts standardise on one brand of SCBA, Truck, Bunker gear or TIC, your region may find it cost effective to come up with a basic cookie cutter design for future stations based on your plans.
    Finally, I agree with HWOODS about babysitting the builders. Hopefully you will convince your County or City government that hiring a contractor who has done simular work at other area Fire Stations is the best choice. You will know that his company will do quality work with minimal problems. The trouble starts when your governing board accepts a bid from someone like a company who poars and finishes concrete for driveways and swimming pools. The approving agency doesn't understand that your trucks are HEAVY and need a firm foundation to sit on. Now you have to keep someone on top of the builders every minute to ensure that they aren't cutting corners and trying to save a few cents. If not, you may end you with a cracked and unusable truck bay and drive.
    Good luck,

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    Babysit builders? Yes, it's the only way to insure you get a quality job.
    Have a set of plans and specs prepared by by an engineer or architect. Some will do the project for a discounted fee or for "free" as in a donation. You will need to provide the info on current and future truck weights for the plans. The specs will then include the thickness and type of concrete for the floors. Include testing of the concrete as it comes off the truck. If the spec calls for 4000psi strength, make sure it meets the spec.

    Put in as many electrical outlets as you can afford. If you are including a kitchen, make sure that you have plenty of outlets and that they are divided on several circuits, not all on one. The coffee pots, crock pots, etc. draw a lot of amps. If all the kitchen outlets are on one circuit, you will have problems. We also installed an outlet in the floor of the meeting/training room to plug projectors, etc. into. This saves having extension cords running across the floor.

    If your station is going to be used by other groups, set it up on a tiered key system for the doors. We used push buttton locks for the outside doors to the apparatus bay. We can easily change the combo when needed. All other doors require a key. groups using the kitchen and meeting room are given a key that opens only those doors. The do not have access to the apparatus bay or the offices. Firefighters can be issued keys that will open all doors with the exception of the chief's office. Officers have keys to open all doors.

    In addition include public restrooms for the outside groups. Ours have no windows, so we changed the light switches to motion sensing switches. The lights come on when you walk in and stay on for twenty minutes or as long as there is motion. That saves the lights from being on for days at a time when no one was using them.

    Build single story if you have the room. The construction costs should be cheaper. Apparatus bay ceilings should be at least 14' above the floor. All others should be at least 8', especially in large rooms to avoid the "closed in feeling". You will probably be required to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. You will have to meet requirements for door width, rest rooms, and a host of other things. Check to see if you can do this by designating "public" and "non-public" areas. A neighboring department is building a new station.. It includes a storage loft in the apparatus bay. They designated the loft as "non-public". Otherwise it would have required an elevator or ADA compliant ramp.

    Bay doors should be at least 12' x 12'. Include a concrete apron in front of the bays long enough to park your longest vehicle on. Asphalt will groove and crack in a few years from the weight of the trucks.

    Zone your heating and air conditioning. We set up separate zones for the offices, kitchen/meeting room, and apparatus bays. This saves on you utility bills. Insulate to the max in all areas. The savings on utilities will pay for it. We heat a 7200 sq ft bldg. with natural gas for $100.00-$125.00 a month in the winter.

    Apparatus bay wall and ceiling finish should be metal or block. Gyp board does not hold up well to the moisture. The block and metal are pretty much maint free.

    Include a vehicle exhaust system in the apparatus bay. This should be engineered as a fan system that covers the whole bay or can be individual hoses for the trucks.

    Use lighting in meeting rooms/training room that can be "dimmed". This makes it easier to use audio/visual equipment.

    Stay Safe
    IACOJ

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    I saw someone mentioned in floor heat. LOOK VERY CAREFULLY at that. We had it in our station and it created flat spots on the tires. (Admittedly older bias type) when the trucks sat for a long period of time. I am not sure if the newer radial tires do it because we switched to different heat. I would be really careful, or the trucks will bounce down the road.

    Another thing to think about with that is if you are in the great white north and have road salt, the heat in the floor heats the undercarrige that does not get washed.

    Just a thought...

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    We paid extra for the architec to oversee the contractor and it paid off.

    Only major problem was the roofing, asphalt shingles were not holding. Ended up replacing them with metal.

    Four drivethru bays are awesome. Trench drains run the length of each. Plenty of electric and air outlets. Radiant gas heat in ceiling works well with several ceiling fans. Large exaust fan we never use. Hose reel on center column at each end.

    Bays are in middle. On one side are large bunkroom, mens and womens locker room, laundry, workshop. Public has no access to this area.

    Other side has large meeting/classroom, conference room, public restrooms, work office, officer office, chief office, kithen (three closet panties for each paid shift, living room, weight room, and radio room with large sliding window into bays. Fireproof record room.

    Should have put basement under office half for storage, and a commercial type hood in kitchen. Gas hookup is on back porch for grilling.

    Look at indendencekyfire.org

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    Food for thought on a new station....


    I would forget the heated floors. We have this in a few older stations. When the pipes under the floor go bad, you have to dig up the floor to repair it. Very costly to do. Stick with the radiant gas heaters in the ceiling of the apparatus room and duct heat in the rest of the building.

    Make sure you have plenty of electrical circuits built in the station. You may not need them now, but in the future you will. If you have apparatus or plan to buy apparatus with shore lines, have an over head drop put in when the building is planned and built. Even extra drops can hurt if more apparatus is planned for this station. This will keep the wire off the apparatus floor, thus reducing a tripping hazard.

    Have hot and cold water on the apparatus floor. Plus you want a larger water outlet on both side of the floor where you can hook up a 1-3/4 hose to fill tanks or the wash out the floor as needed. The 3/4" garden hose outlets are nice but don't give the good flow of watre that you need. Thje larger outlet makes good supply for washing the undersides and wheel wells of the apparatus.

    Having seperate locker, bath and bed rooms for females to the correct way to go. This way this will help prevent any problems from occuring down the road

    If you have exahust fans in the apparatus room, use them. Have them connected to the door so when it opens for a call the fans start up and remove the exhaust so it will not get into other parts of the station. They can be put on a timer and a over ride control so when you open the doors to wash out or air the apparstus room they will not come on.

    Above all, DO NOT FORGET to have a range system in the kitchen and a automatic fire sprinker system throught out the entire building along with the latest in smoke and CO detectors. This is very essential.




    Good luck on your new station.



    Stay Safe & Well out there....

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    Originally posted by gunnyD

    (three closet panties for each paid shift,
    Three?
    Shawn M. Cecula
    Firefighter
    IACOJ Division of Fire and EMS

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    Question

    Ummmmm,


    "three closets panties"?????


    I assumed he meant Pantries! At least I hope he did.

    If you have three shifts (platoons) you will need more than 3 unless they will be larger than most I have seen.

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    Red face oops

    Yes, it is "Pantries". One per shift. We have 6 paid per shift plus volunteers.

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    Originally posted by ChiefDog
    I saw someone mentioned in floor heat. LOOK VERY CAREFULLY at that. We had it in our station and it created flat spots on the tires. (Admittedly older bias type) when the trucks sat for a long period of time. I am not sure if the newer radial tires do it because we switched to different heat. I would be really careful, or the trucks will bounce down the road.

    Another thing to think about with that is if you are in the great white north and have road salt, the heat in the floor heats the undercarrige that does not get washed.

    Just a thought...
    some of our older rigs with bias tires flat spot any time of year without the benefit of radiant floor heating. Its the nature of bias ply tires when vehicles aren't moved often enough.

    The floor heat may make it worse, I don't have any experience with a garage with infloor heat. Yet. When I build my new garage out at the farm....But that's off topic

    I agree with the people that say build for the future.

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    We are currently replacing both of our stations with one very near completion and the other about two months out. Each station has a different archetect / designer and general contractor.

    I agree with many of the comments about long range planning.

    For me some of the the things to remember are:

    1.) you get out what you put in - if you spend lots of time with the builder and his subs and get involved they will understand how important this building is to you and respect you for paying attention to what they are doing.

    2.) DOCUMENT DOCUMENT DOCUMENT - just because you say you want to be able to refill your truck with out going up on top, by using the side or rear inlets doesent mean the engineer that draws up the specs/prints understands. Some times we forget what seems so easy for us to explane to each other makes very little sense to others. If you have it in writing then when fingers start to point you are covered ( sort of). We put decisions / discussions in writing - and we should have tape recorded or video taped all meeting with the archetects.

    3.) Ask questions and be involved we have found that our sub contractors are willing to make suggestions based on their real world experence as to how to improve things but only if you are interested in what they are doing - if you dont care they wont care.

    4.) Dont rely soly on the archetect to catch mistakes - I think they are well worth the investment to bring them in durring the building stages - but they arent there all the time and they are only human.

    I hope I dont sound to negative it has been a great experence and we are very fortunate and proud to be moving into these new buildings .

    SBLG
    Last edited by SBLGFD; 03-02-2004 at 04:32 PM.

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    One place where floor heat is a must is in the work bay!!!

    Nothing better then nice warm floor to lay on when you have to work under the truck. Beaths the holy heck out of a cold concrete floor.
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    We just built a new station, still hammering out the bugs. Actually we added the police dept. to the existing fire station to make an "Emergency Services Building." It's a long story but both departments get better areas to work and more storage.

    My point is whatever you do, DO NOT have a project manager work with your building. It adds another middle man between you and the contractor. Nothing gets done, the contractor argues with the project manager, the project manager makes false promises to the customer as the sub-contractors don't know what to do or say. Very bad situation. There has been a lot of blood sweat and tears shed over our new building. For example, we were to move into the building by Haloween. Didn't get in until just before Christmas. Still have a leaky roof, painters missed spots, electrical contractor still has finishing work, etc. The City is holding their checks until they get in and do thier "punch lists" of stuff to correct.

    Myself and the rest of the building committee firmly believe that the problems we have had, the mis-communications and omitting of certain things such as moving light switches and stuff, are all from having an extra middle man called the project manager.

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    WE built a new station a few years ago, it was a very difficult process. The architect has an idea and it went out for bid and came back out of budget. So we had to step back and punt. Be sure your design in reasonable. Here are a few things I would do.

    Have a room for the gear washer and dryer.
    Have some sorta of outside storage for lawn equipment.
    Make sure the radio is big enough and then add more room
    If you can build it with a second floor for the future
    Make sure to have the bays ventilated. (use exhaust system and ceiling fans.
    Put some sort of dehumidifier in the gear room and make sure air is always moving in there.
    Drive through bays are great
    Cascade room (air room) so you can fill and store
    If you need 3 offices create 4 the extra one can be storage now
    Make sure to have good drains in the bay floors
    Lockable food closets for each shift and one for the volunteers
    Generator for the station
    We used split face block and it was died the color we wanted, looks good and does not need much maintenance.


    Good luck and make sure you have someone watching over the project.

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    Originally posted by SamsonFCDES
    One place where floor heat is a must is in the work bay!!!

    Nothing better then nice warm floor to lay on when you have to work under the truck. Beaths the holy heck out of a cold concrete floor.


    If you are under a piece if fire apparatus, then you should be on a creeper. If you are on a creeper, then you won't be on the floor and shouldn't feel the heat from the floor.

    I was stating facts about heated floors. Yes there are nice. The bedrooms with heated floors are nice when you get up during the night for a potty visit or when you get up in the morning, your tootsies don't get cold.

    Plumbing does goes bad. Having pipes in the floor that are connected to the furnace and are providing heat, when something happens and they go bad, the water that is going throught them can have eroded the floors and repairs are very costly. If you put a floor heating system, ask the contractor for a warrenty in writing, against any leaks or breakage on the piping system. I doubt if you will get one!

    You have to weight all this in the planning and construction of any station. It is my belief, that the money used for heated floors can be used more prudent elsewhere on the station. We use them years ago, but will never use them again.

    You need a building that requires very little maintenance, other than the normal cleaning. You don't want to build something that will take money money to maintain and operate in a few years, than it cost to build.



    Stay Safe & Well out there.....

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