Fire Hall Location and Design
The decision to have a fire department rests with the community which will be served. In most cases the fire department is administered by the local government body. Once the decision has been made to offer fire protection the governing body must then determine the type and level of services to be delivered. In simple terms this means that once the administrative body determines what services will be delivered they are obliged to meet a duty of care to the community and must take reasonable steps to fund, administer, equip and train the fire department. The duty of care is measured based upon available resources and what other comparable jurisdictions do when offering similar services. This includes the provision of an adequate fire hall from which to operate
History has shown that a fire hall's normal life span can easily exceed 50 years with many reaching seventy years of service or greater. It is therefore important during the design phase to envision the future of the community and give consideration to the type of service that will be needed and demanded by constituents in the future. It is more economical in the long term to build for what will be needed than it is to meet only the demands of today.
A fire station supports the needs of the fire department and the community it serves. It must accommodate diverse functions, including administration, training, community education, equipment and vehicle storage, maintenance, recreation and housing In some cases. Fire stations vary in design depending on specific services they provide. The actual location of the fire hall is for the most part determined by call volume and the need to minimize response times.
Some of the critical factors that affect the location and design of a fire hall include:
- Community risk assessment
- Population density
- Potential growth
- Official community plans
- Community support
- Career versus volunteer staffing of the department
- Location of available responders
- Available land for fire hall use
- Size of the property
- Topography and climatic conditions
- Training facilities
- Space required for fire department operations such as administration and training
- Number and size of apparatus to be housed
- Water supply for refilling apparatus
- Work space for fire apparatus maintenance and servicing
- Ancillary equipment needs
- Recreation and meeting facilities
Building a new fire station is an important decision and one which deserves thorough investigation and planning. It is a major investment not just in terms of dollars but also in terms of providing a focal point in the community. A well-organized functional fire station with adequate space can aid in attracting and retaining fire department members.
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