1. #1
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    Default new station justification

    We are starting to push for a new fire station. We need to justify to the public. Need to get help with this.

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    Few questions,

    why do you need a new station?

    how much do you plan to spend?

    will it increase taxes significantly?

    what was the last large purchase made by your orginization?

    what kind of time line are you looking at?
    "Never share a foxhole with anyone braver than yourself."

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    Default More questions...

    Is it a replacement or an additional station?

    Do you need more room?

    Is you old station; to small, unsafe, bad location, etc...?

    What will the benefit to the public be from a new station?

    What with the benefit to the FD be from a new station?


    You can also contact the Learning Resource Center at the National Fire Academy. They should have some research papers on fire station justification.

    http://www.lrc.fema.gov
    Last edited by mtnfireguy; 10-24-2006 at 01:07 PM.
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    Do you really need it if you have to go on a message board in search of justification? Not trying to be an ***, but when a taxpayer questions "why?" if you can't rattle off a list of VALID reasons, than you don't really need the new firehouse.

    -Nick

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    Default Be prepared to discuss...

    ...not only the shortcomings of your present station, but why they cannot be remedied with a renovation, rather than new construction. If you believe there are safety issues, but ready to document those with an engineering survey conducted by a licensed engineer, not just with an estimate from a builder.

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    We have the reasons to build a new station, but that doesn't mean the plublic and all board members may understand our needs. You have to walk side ways to get between the trucks that is how tight it is. We share the building, bathroom, and meeting room with the village and library.There is no room on the lot to add on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick SBFD 6
    Do you really need it if you have to go on a message board in search of justification? Not trying to be an ***, but when a taxpayer questions "why?" if you can't rattle off a list of VALID reasons, than you don't really need the new firehouse.

    -Nick

    One of the biggest problems we have in the fire service is sometimes we can't see the forest for the trees. We know why we want/need a new (fill in the blank) fire station, pumper, TIC, etc. BUT we don't ask the same questions as a taxpayer might, or a politician.

    Never hurts to get another point of view.

    We have been going thru this for the last three years trying to move forward on a new headquarters and maintenance facility ($13 million project) and are finally moving forward. We answered A LOT of questions and justified many issues that were perfectly clear to us.

    Sklump... Answer the questions that have been posted so far, and look at the "what if" question.

    Someone may ask you "What if the new facility is not approved?" How will this impact the department?

    Also explore grants to assist with the cost of the building, that makes it easier to swallow as well. And it doesnt matter if you building will cost $500,000 or $13 million.
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    Numbers, numbers, numbers. You're going to have to justify to the voters why you need it. i.e., prolonged response times, ISO requires a station at this location, we're having a lot of calls in this area and need a closer station, etc. Voters want to know how much it's going to cost them and why you think you need it.

    One thing I'd recommend is get up in the morning and join the coffee shop crowd. Ask them what they think, they'll be a pretty good measure of the community (assuming you're small town).

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    Quote Originally Posted by sklump
    We have the reasons to build a new station, but that doesn't mean the plublic and all board members may understand our needs. You have to walk side ways to get between the trucks that is how tight it is. We share the building, bathroom, and meeting room with the village and library.There is no room on the lot to add on.
    I do that every third work day. Are sharing those facilities really a problem. Like I try to teach my kids is it a want or a need?

    To get any funding you have to make them understand your needs.

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    One other thing you might look into is finding some sources to help the costs of building a new facility. Rural development grant/loans, CDBG, etc. Taxpayers like it when they're not flipping the entire bill. You may even find out you don't need a tax hike to get it done. There's a ton of ways to cut expenses out there, it's just finding them.

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    Explain at public meetings how a new station will reduce their insurance rates,lower the tax burden by reduced building maintenance(if the building job is done right the first time!)and reduce response times to areas farther away from the older or replaced station.
    My old vollie department kept getting asked "Whyfor is it taking so long to build?"and "Why is the station so big?You only have four trucks in it all the time."because the contractor was dragging his feet and cutting corners.The Chief started getting TV time whenever we were about to have a Trustees meeting to discuss construction progress and he'd invite the public,whether they lived in district or not,to come visit.
    People got the answers they'd wanted and we got a new station.There were bugs needing fixing when I left the department and the contractor didn't like the taste of the costs as the BOT made him eat them.People are noticing the reduced insurance and other bennies like how the Brownies,Rotary and other groups can rent a nice meeting area for less than it would elsewhere in town and they can see why we need a bigger station when the new trucks start coming in years down the line.
    Stick with how a new station will benefit the area and people will come around.
    Last edited by doughesson; 10-27-2006 at 12:49 PM.

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    Several years ago we contacted a third party consultant to prepare an unbiased needs assesment for our districts. Our consultant was from Univ. of TN. I would imagine many universities have similar departments or people that could do an assesment for your department.

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    Default plans for new station

    we are in the next phase looking for plans for station to house 6 trucks and an ambulance for volunteers. Also what has worked and what would you do different?

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    Not trying to be a jerk or anything, but how bout you acknowledge the bits of wisdom that these guys are trying to give you? Before you roll on to the next question?
    Giggity - Giggity!

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    Quote Originally Posted by sklump
    we are in the next phase looking for plans for station to house 6 trucks and an ambulance for volunteers. Also what has worked and what would you do different?
    sklump,
    There are a couple of websites for architects that specialize in fire dept. design. Go to www.ask.com and type in fire station design. You should get a couple of them. I checked it out, pretty neat designs. As for the justification part, The best way to get someone to believe something is to allow them to see it for themselves. Get the point? Invite everyone to your station and make them walk around it. If it is really bad then there should be no problem. You might have a hard time getting grants for new construction. Most only will do remodeling of current stations. Good luck though.

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    I am sorry I do apprciate you that have helped! This would be a replacement station there isn't enough room on the currant sight. Actualy we would trade places with our public works deparment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sklump
    we are in the next phase looking for plans for station to house 6 trucks and an ambulance for volunteers. Also what has worked and what would you do different?
    Two variances of the same idea I like to fill trucks. One is my vollie station's way. We have a 4" main running across ceiling above the trucks with good sized valves and hoses attached for quick top fills. I'd love to have drive through bays to go with it, maybe if we get to build another one some day.

    The other way I've seen it done is to have a hydrant or standpipe between doors so they can stretch a hose to trucks on either bay and fill them.

    I will recommend you look at a lot of designs, then look at some more. Then go and visit various stations, talk with the guys about what they like/dislike, and then visit some more. Talk with your guys and find out what they'd like to see (within reason). Make sure living/sleeping areas are close to bays to help expedite getting to the rigs. Little things make a world of difference. One other thing, make sure you plan for the future! It'll be a waste of time and tax-payers money if you outgrow the station in a few years due to the fact you didn't plan ahead (i.e., even if you don't have a aerial truck, figure you might have one some day. Same for personnel living in the station).

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    There is a volly dept in williamsburg, IA that put up a 2 MILLION dollar station. Each truck has a drive through bay and at one end there is a drive through wash bay. The pressure washer is mounted on the wall with two "guns" to cut the wash time in half. I have not personally seen this station but a guy on our dept works for ACE Hardware as a driver and has gone through it. He said it is more than they will ever need. I'm gonna butcher this name but Shipshwanna, IN also put up a new station and planned for the future because with the way the town is being a tourist area its only a matter of time before they become a paid dept so the basement is plumbed but not yet finished. Is Oxford somewhere north of Portage? I go up to northern wisconsin via I-39 and highway 51 and i think i always pass a sign for oxford. What kind of town are you covering? is it growing rapidly, is it shrinking or what. I personally think you should also take that into concern when you plan the new station. We are in the same boat because we just got rid of two trucks that were old but still in decent condition that if we had the space it would have been nice to keep but we have made as much room as we can in our station to house or 6 trucks plus a 6x6 polaris ranger on a trailer. I guess we should be happy we are in the situation we are, the only truck older than a '98 is a '64 chevy brush truck. Our '98 international tanker is going to be going in for a refurb at some point soon i think.
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    Yes we plan on having aleast one extra bay, if not more and tall enough doors for and ariel. We cover 2 townships and a village. We are north of Portage off I 39. Our growth is steady and the board wants it built for the future. We would be shot if it was 2 mill. Probably looking at a combination cement and pole building construction.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sklump
    Yes we plan on having aleast one extra bay, if not more and tall enough doors for and ariel. We cover 2 townships and a village. We are north of Portage off I 39. Our growth is steady and the board wants it built for the future. We would be shot if it was 2 mill. Probably looking at a combination cement and pole building construction.
    You might look into pre-engineered metal buildings, too. I don't know if it works the same way or not as far as prevailing wage, but an ambulance district I work for gets a pre-fabbed house and builds a bay on it. All they have to pay prevailing wage on is the bay, concrete/foundation work, and dirt work. Might be something to look into that could save a buck.

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    We don't have to deal with prevailing wages. The idea of a module for part of a station is interesting will look into that.

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