Establishing a budget and a timeline for construction for your project is an important step in kicking things off. However, critical details that can affect project cost and the function of the building are often overlooked in the budgeting, design, and construction process. Our experience building these facilities has taught us what details MUST be included in the project for the building to function as a public safety facility.
Haren Companies has worked with the Lenexa Fire Department, the Olathe Fire Department, Consolidated Fire District No. 2, and the Kansas City Kansas Fire Department on the construction and renovation of fire stations. By way of working with the first responders who operate these stations and the design teams on these projects Haren has come to ascertain the following key features of fire station design.
What First Responders are seeking in a fire station:
Access to Climate Control in the bunk rooms
This feature is one that is always at the top of the list when it comes to what first responders are looking for in a new station. Due to the out of sync sleep/wake schedules of fire department staff, it is important the bunk room HVAC units can be individually controlled. “I’ll be freezing at my desk because the guy sleeping across the wall has the thermostat dialed down to 60 degrees” said one local fire chief.
Access from the bunk rooms to the apparatus bays
Direct access from the bunk rooms to the apparatus bays is also a feature that is near the top of the wish list for first responders. Not only does this feature help the first responders access the apparatus bays more quickly, but it also helps the community by having the vehicles be able to leave the fire station faster as well.
Easy access to electrical outlets for charging laptops and mobile devices
Today’s first responders have multiple devices that they want to keep fully charged around the clock. Just like the USB charging port in your home and the conveniently located outlet by your desk, these outlets are important to the first responders.
Ensuring apparatus bays drain effectively
Apparatus bays are the locations were a flat floor that drains well is critically important to the function of the building. We take care to ensure that water does not pool on the apparatus bay floor. Often installing “lowered” floors in apparatus bays so that water does not make its way into other parts of the station.
Durability of materials
Firefighters tend to be hard on the facilities. The initial cost of a more durable material means that those components will have a longer life cycle. This will help keep the cost of ownership down, and the facility functioning well for years.