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    Lightbulb Fire Station Designs

    I know it has been hashed out, talked about and shared here before...
    But I'm looking for fire station designs. My career department is looking to build a new firehouse. This station will replace our 30+ year old headquarters station and will need to be outfitted for Administration in addition living quarters for a max of 8 firefighters for now. Anyone point me in directions of designs (Personally I prefer a 2 story, but the Fire Marshal is in favor of a single story.) At this point in time, cost is not an issue. We just cannot go over the allotted square footage already set forth. I cannot remember what it is, and the dimensions are at work. I want to think it is like 42,000 sqaure feet.

    Anyone help?

    Thanks!
    *Mark
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    Default Its ok bro...

    You kinda answered your own question....www.firestationdesigns.com

    I have worked in one of their stations and visited several
    others. Here is one of them. They have some awesome
    buildings including some vitual tours! Has to be the best
    site for new stations I have seen yet!

    -Bou

    Last edited by CALFFBOU; 07-07-2004 at 03:43 AM.

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    Default Another nice one...


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    We have a new station opening later this summer. It reportedly cost 4 1/2 million Canadian! Thats a lot of moolah, even if it is only Canadian Tire money
    A'int No Rocket Scientist's in The Firehall

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    Arrow

    Holy agreement Batman!

    I agree with something Bou has said. www.FireStationDesign.com is a great resource and by far that firm has put forth more thought and effort into functional firehouses than any other three firms out there.

    A few years back I headed up a firehouse design committe for my former dept. While doing so I called up alot of depts that have built and renovated a number of career firehouses in recent years or were planning on doing so.

    I called &/or visited:
    -Indianapolis, IN
    -Kansas City, MO
    -Columbia, SC
    -Austin, TX
    -San Antonio, TX
    -FDNY
    -DCFD

    I was really impressed with all of them. Look up some of their web sites...many of them have pictures as well. Speak with the Chiefs or Administrators in charge of faclities. All I found were most helpful in answering any questions I had.

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    FTM-PTB

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    I want to think it is like 42,000 sqaure feet.

    An acre is a tad on the large size for a firehouse...I have seen it, just it is a tad big!

    Anyway my one standard advice:

    Have a central "focal point" that the public, members (ok, not as big of an issue with career as vollie), etc all tend to funnel through. That might be as simple as having some parking spots for the public out front, with a "watch room" foyer they walk into from where you can go one way to the apparatus and another to the quarters.

    That's the one big fault I have with our station, granted it's not be design but by 70 years of history of adding on here, adding on there, and a narrow lot, there's no "focal" point to it.

    Other than that, it's the little things that can add up to a lot. Like having the ability to mix hot water to a garden hose tap if you need to wash particularly grungy apparatus -- doesn't cost more than $10 or $20 in materials (some copper pipe, a valve) and is quick to put in down in the mechanical room when you're first building.
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    BTW, that is a neat site Bou linked to!

    Even if you don't go with them, talk around and see if there's a local/state architect who "specializes" in fire stations.

    I put "specialize" in quotes since that's probably rare, but I know in my area there's one guy who has done a number of stations, well, mostly addition designs. If you get an architect whose already talked/designed some other firehouses, they probably already know the lingo & concerns better than someone coming into from scratch.
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    Originally posted by FFFRED
    Holy agreement Batman!

    I agree with something Bou has said.
    Wow, I almost fell over. Whats next, I win the lotto?
    First beers on me...Bou

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    depending on how much say you have in the design, i definately advise you to push hard for a 2-story station w/ a pole. here in kc we built a lot of sprawling shopping mall sized stations, and have paid the price in turn out time, and class. our newer stations are now being designed as 2-story, poled stations. there are alot of solid arguments for the old style. plus the perrenial pendulum is swinging that way across the country, so hop on the bandwagon while the getting is good.
    also, think hard about design and location as they relate to isolation. there has been a 20-year trend toward isolating firehouses from the public, and i think (personal opinion)it has done a lot of damage to the fire service and its sense of community

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    Question Uhhhh.......... Hold The Pole.............

    When our present station was in the design phase, we were told that Slide Poles are frowned upon by Occupational Safety and Health people. I have nothing in writing, just a conversation, but you might want to inquire. (OSHA would be a place to start, or your workman's comp insurance carrier) One question that I have is: With the exception of the "Social Hall" commonly associated with a Volunteer house, what is the difference between a "Volunteer" and a "Career" station? I would think that all stations are equal, as far as the purpose of the building. Lot size and configuration, building materials, surrounding community architecture, all have a bearing on style and construction, but the crew composition? Food for thought.
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    Default Good Point!!

    Originally posted by chingon

    also, think hard about design and location as they relate to isolation. there has been a 20-year trend toward isolating firehouses from the public, and i think (personal opinion)it has done a lot of damage to the fire service and its sense of community
    THIS IS PROBABLY THE MOST IMPORTANT COMMENT MADE ON THE FORUMS IN WEEKS!! The poster and I agree 100%. You need to do whatever it takes to be sure your station is a part of the community, not some fort in the wilderness. Also one more item and I'll shut up DOORS!!!! Do everything in world including laying down in front of the bulldozers, if you have to, BUT INSIST ON OVERHEAD DOORS WITH LOTS OF, or Preferably ALL GLASS!!! NOTHING makes a Fire Station project the wrong image than those stupid doors with tiny slits that look like gun ports. We have 3 rows of glass, and when new doors are designed, they will be all glass, top to bottom. If your station is in a "Bad" area, use Lexan instead of glass. And after you move in, keep the doors open as much as possible. That's the key to acceptance from your neighbors. Remember, THEY VOTE. And that may be the key to your continued employment.
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    I would think that all stations are equal, as far as the purpose of the building

    Well, kindish Harve...

    If you have a career station in a place you just anticipate any growth in apparatus beyond an Engine and a reserve piece, a 2-bay double deep station would still give you room. Same location, 30 member volunteer department might fill up those four spots on day one and be left with no expansion.

    Parking would play into it -- a career house may only need 2x it's shift strength, rather than accomodate all the members on a meeting night.

    Most places don't have/need bunk-in programs like some of the bigger VFDs, so no need for bunk rooms. Or you might decide a couple small, simple bunkrooms are adequate for the occasional "storm duty" while a career station may appreciate more "private" rooms -- especially if it's one of these 48 hour on stations!

    A kitchen in an all-career station might just serve the 3/4/6 guys on duty...maybe worse case scenario you have Christmas dinner with the families over? A volunteer station may host fundraiser dinners, and the annual appreciation dinner and need to serve 100 people even if the "social hall" for that is just the emptied apparatus bay...and if you have a dinkhead Department of Health it has to meet restaurant standards to do so.

    I think just like apparatus, their are people who way overpay for what they get in a station, and there's departments that pinch pennies but still end up with a real good station. There's a difference between pinching pennies and skimping!
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    chingon,

    I fully agree with you. A few weeks ago I posted a topic that I think flew over the heads of many, after a Tourist told me how much they liked the fact they could walk by the firehouse and talk to us as we were only feet from the sidewalk.

    When I did my firehouse study a few years back I visted and examined some of the newer KC firehouses and spoke with a deputy chief there. KCs experience miriored that Indy and San Antonio who built firehouses similar to those of KC in the 1970s. Wide expansive single story houses that took up tons of space and caused excessive turnout times. Nationaly there is a trend back towards two-story houses for multiple company firehouses in Urban and Suburban areas.

    hwoods

    On the OSHA pole issue. While I can't speak for every state OSHA, I can say the national OSHA only produced a memo stating that a pole doesn't count as a secondary means of egress. There are policies and procedures that OSHA has for fall protection and as long as those are followed Poles are legal...except in I think Oregon where they have been banned.

    I researched the pole issue at length and found much of the problems of the past have been corrected and most of the large city FDs I contacted haven't had any major problems with them. Personally I work in all firehouses with poles and I don't know of any problems with them...as long as proper protections are in place.

    Also for Glass doors. Bad in my opinion. They are heavy, expensive, and they create heating and cooling issues. Also a touch of privacy is nice. They need motor replacement more often and the heating and cooling bill will suffer from those type doors. It isn't always good to have the public know the firehouse is empty at a glance. If you want to interact with the public have the doors up and design a housewatch into the appartaus floor so you can have a member or two on the floor at all times.

    The difference between the needs of a vollie house and career are numerous. Career needs facilities designed for constant use. The firehouse should be designed for the quickest turnout from all points in the firehouse...hense the two story/pole. Whereas a vollie house should be a single sided design...where the support faclities, meeting room, kitchen etc are on oneside and the appartaus boarders a parkinglot so as to give immediate access to the apparatus for vollies showing up in personal vehicles.

    Also Don't put the front door isloated from appartaus doors around on the side or wherever...most people regardless of signage will in an emergency go to the big apparatus doors. Make sure there is a doorbell there in case.

    FTM-PTB

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    Be careful of the station "fun"slides instead of poles. One of my neighboring depts has them and their guys just wish they had a pole....you end up rolling a few feet after you get to the floor.
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    Originally posted by FFFRED
    chingon,

    I fully agree with you. A few weeks ago I posted a topic that I think flew over the heads of many, after a Tourist told me how much they liked the fact they could walk by the firehouse and talk to us as we were only feet from the sidewalk.

    When I did my firehouse study a few years back I visted and examined some of the newer KC firehouses and spoke with a deputy chief there. KCs experience miriored that Indy and San Antonio who built firehouses similar to those of KC in the 1970s. Wide expansive single story houses that took up tons of space and caused excessive turnout times. Nationaly there is a trend back towards two-story houses for multiple company firehouses in Urban and Suburban areas.

    hwoods

    On the OSHA pole issue. While I can't speak for every state OSHA, I can say the national OSHA only produced a memo stating that a pole doesn't count as a secondary means of egress. There are policies and procedures that OSHA has for fall protection and as long as those are followed Poles are legal...except in I think Oregon where they have been banned.

    I researched the pole issue at length and found much of the problems of the past have been corrected.

    Also for Glass doors. Bad in my opinion. They are heavy, expensive, and they create heating and cooling issues. Also a touch of privacy is nice. They need motor replacement more often and the heating and cooling bill will suffer from those type doors. It isn't always good to have the public know the firehouse is empty at a glance. If you want to interact with the public have the doors up and design a housewatch into the appartaus floor so you can have a member or two on the floor at all times.

    Also Don't put the front door isloated from appartaus doors around on the side or wherever...most people regardless of signage will in an emergency go to the big apparatus doors. Make sure there is a doorbell there in case.

    FTM-PTB
    Thanks for the update on pole issues. Our design team did not say they were prohibited, just that there were "issues" with them. I hope I didn't give the wrong impression. On the doors, We have ours open for at least 12 to 18 hours a day in good weather, sometimes they remain open overnight, if we're busy. Possibly, I'm looking at the "Volunteer" station from a different perspective. We're Volunteer with help from 4 full time people on weekdays, and 2 full time Paramedics 24/7 The Medics spend hours at a time out on the road, so we don't see them much. The Volunteers are probably a lot more active than many areas in that we have people at the station ALL the time, Although we do still have folks that come from home, we usually have a couple of crews in the station 24/7. It varies, of course, some nights, weekends, holidays, we might have 14 - 20 members hanging out, other times we might only have 5 or 6, But, the first piece is always gone in a few seconds. Some of our station details can be seen in the different photos on www.gdvfd18.com Take a look when you get a chance.
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    Hwoods,

    I was just clairfing what you might have heard. I found many times the people who say there are issues with poles are making assumptions and don't bother to research the subject as they have their own preferences pole or no pole and base their argument accoringly. I'm sure you found this in discussions with your people. I researched it and spoke with persons in charge in many large depts, and found the facts.

    The volly house thing I should also note varries in that a vollie house in the NorthEast US, notably NY, NJ, MA, PA, or MD are vastly differnet than volly houses in FL, TX, KS, MO, SD, & NV. You guys have many more people hanging around yours than a volly house in the midwest or west where often it isn't much more than a garage.

    Also anyone interested in researching the firehouse subject should call the NFA library reference desk at 1-800-638-1821 and ask for the bibliography on firehouse design and construction. They'll send you a list of most of the artilces and books on design and construction of firehouses in the past 40 years.

    On the slide issue I visted Midwest City, OK who has a slide in one house and a pole in the other. The slide took up alot of space and cost. vs. a pole. The guys with the pole didn't have any problems with it. As long as precautions are taken most problems are solved.

    FTM-PTB

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    Thank you for the weblink. I stumbled across it a few days ago. I don't know if I'm navigating it wrong or missing it, but I can't find a floor plan design page there. Can you point me in the right direction to find that.
    My memory was WAY off... it's just a hair over 22,000 square feet, not 40k.
    As far as the neighbors go, this station will be in an area on a busy highway, near an Interstate on-ramp (finally!) and in a less than completely developed area. In the future it will be a cornerstone in the neighborhood, but for now it will be HQ. With our other 3 firehouses we already leave doors open most of the day during the year (except winter). We don't have all glass doors (window day would be a nightmare with all glass doors). I do like the idea and have seen some neat firehouses with glass doors and kind that open bi-fold style instead of overhead raise.
    Thanks for all your suggestions, ideas & input so far...



    *Mark
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    Lightbulb

    For those bi-fold doors here is the link for anyone who doesn't have it. I spoke with an officer of the firehouse featured on the cover. It is DCFD Engine co. 24 if I remember correctly. It is a split 2 story design with bi-fold doors and brass poles and no complaints on either account.

    http://www.electricpowerdoor.com/

    FTM-PTB

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