In Quarters: Pearland, TX, Fire Station No. 1

April 20, 2021
Pearland, TX, Fire Station No. 1 was designed as a "healthy" station focused on reducing risk of exposure to carcinogens and contaminates.

This facility received a Career 2 Bronze Award in Firehouse's 2020 Station Design Awards. Find the full list of winners here.

Cancer is killing firefighters at an alarming rate. From day one, Fire Chief Vance Riley of the Pearland Fire Department identified that the goal of this project was to design a “healthy” station for his fire and EMS crew, focused on reducing the risk of exposure to carcinogens and contaminates. 

To achieve this goal, Pearland Fire Station No. 1 was programmatically divided into three zones:

  • Hot (high hazard)
  • Transition (moderate hazard)
  • Cold (low hazard).

The decontamination process is designed to transition firefighters from the Hot Zone of the call site to the Cold Zone of the station living quarters through several steps. Step 1: Firefighters remove contaminated gear on site and store in hazmat bags, which are returned to the station in a separate vehicle. Step 2: Firefighters wipe off as much soot and debris as possible on site. Step 3: Gear is brought through the exterior door in the turnout room and straight into the adjacent utility room to be decontaminated. Step 4: Firefighters go directly to the decontamination showers after returning to the station and before entering the living areas.

The decontamination airlock only allows access one-way, from the bay to the living quarters, to prevent everyday use, because this area is considered contaminated. The apparatus bays are equipped with an AirHAWK air purification system to remove and prevent vehicle exhaust and any other contaminants that are on the trucks from entering the living area. Positively pressured airlocks serve as another layer of protection between the high- and L-low-hazard zones.

Although initially designed to reduce exposure to carcinogens, these measures also assist in protecting crew members from exposure to COVID-19. Decontamination and disinfecting go hand-in-hand with additional features in the station, such as stainless steel countertops and antimicrobial quartz, both of which provide bacteria-resistant and highly durable surfaces.

Architect/Firm Name: Brown Reynolds Watford Architects.

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