It’s that time of the year to register for the 2011 F.I.E.R.O. Fire Station Symposium. This year’s program is outstanding with offerings for new and existing stations. There are topics that have never been presented before, such as the hardening of fire stations. After the weather extremes across the country this year, the need for fire stations to remain functional has never been more evident.
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Announcing the 2011 Annual F.I.E.R.O. Fire Station Symposium. In cooperation with the IAFC and hosted by the Charlotte Fire Department.
November 14-16, 2011
Charlotte Omni Hotel (in the heart of uptown)
132 E. Trade St,
Complete information and on-line registration at: http://www.fierofirestation.com/
- Orchids or Onions: Don Collins, Clemson University Fire Department
Money NOT Well Spent
By Robert Tutterow, President F.I.E.R.O.
An often overlooked area for cost reductions, without sacrificing service delivery, is by better management of fire stations. This applies to the design and construction of new stations as well as the operating costs of existing stations (excluding payroll, apparatus and equipment).
According to building life cycle cost analysts, the initial cost of a building is only 10-20% of the life cycle cost over a 30-50 year period. The remaining 80-90% is for utilities, maintenance, furnishings, repairs, renovations, etc. There are numerous areas to reduce these expenditures. And, these are costs that ad no value to the delivery of emergency services. It is money NOT well spent.
Here is a sampling of areas that can be addressed:
1. Identify “indirect” cost savings. For example, firefighter protective clothing is VERY expensive. However, it is susceptible to degradation if improperly stored, i.e. exposure to light and poor ventilation. And, improper cleaning of protective clothing will shorten its lifespan.
2. Design firefighter training into the station. Many training props can be incorporated into the fire station without sacrificing the appearance or function of the station.
3. Station Furnishings: Identifying and making the best selection of station furnishings that provide long-term value with minimal maintenance.
4. Doing the homework about all the design aspects of a new station to prevent expensive change orders and the “do-overs”. This includes using an architect who is experienced in fire station design. NOTE: Most architects are very competent, but lack the experience to design around all the nuances of a fire station.
5. Hardening of the fire station. In this year alone, practically every part of the country has been impacted by natural disasters (floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, wildland fires, etc.). During these events, the fire station must remain operational. Failure to harden can compromise emergency services and lead to unanticipated replacement or repair costs.
6. Safety in the fire station. A metro fire department just completed a review of their workers’ compensation claims for the past few years and discovered that injuries sustained in the fire station were costing them more than injuries at emergency scenes.
7. Identification of alternate streams of revenue. A few fire departments have identified funding sources, outside of tax dollars and fund raising, to build new fire stations. This requires “thinking outside the box” for joint ventures.
8. Considerations for renovation or consolidation. There are opportunities to renovate an existing station rather build a new station. Vice-versa, money can be spent on renovations when it would be better invested in a new station.
9. Big picture approach. A valid deployment study might identify the potential for consolidation of stations.
10. Think green. The initial “green” movement usually was very expensive on the front end with questionable return on investment. However, new products, designs and processes, have made several “green” initiatives financially attractive. If LEED certification is important to a community, the fire station is an excellent example.
11. Health in the fire station. Fire stations, being a shared space by many, can be a source for spreading diseases such as MRSA, bed bugs, flu, food poisoning, and other communicable diseases. There are ways to minimize these threats to reduce absenteeism, medical costs, and disinfecting costs.
12. Building Materials: Identifying and selecting the building materials that require minimum maintenance and provide lasting value.
13. Utilities: Identifying and installing energy efficient designs and systems that provide lasting cost savings, without compromising the comfort of the firefighters.
14. The little things. With a critical eye, a tour of practically any fire station in the U.S. will generate a lengthy list of items that were not considered in the design of the station. Establishing a knowledge base of these “little things” can eliminate costly adaptations.
15. Design for the future now. Fire stations must last for decades. By doing your homework, you can identify ways to make changes to a fire station as service and equipment needs evolve with minimal costs.
Fire stations are unique structures. They may include aspects of the following venues: garage, dormitory, fitness center, office building, classroom, maintenance shop, decontamination facility, laundry, community rooms, and others. Designing, constructing and maintaining fire stations require a skill-set and experience that is hard to find.
Recognizing there are limited resources for stakeholders to acquire the requisite knowledge base in these issues, F.I.E.R.O. (Fire Industry Equipment Research Organization) developed the Fire Station Symposium. The Symposium brings together the industry experts and experienced fire service personnel with “best practices” ideas. F.I.E.R.O. is a not-for-profit organization of fire service personnel who provide educational offerings to the fire service and related industries. Only volunteer labor is used in the development and delivery of the symposium.
The next symposium is November 14-16, 2011 at the Omni Hotel in Charlotte, NC. Full details and registration can be found at www.fierofirestation.com. This will be the tenth annual symposium. All past attendees have agreed that the event is “Time and Money VERY Well Spent”.
- Getting the Right Start — Avoiding Costly Change Orders: Ken Newell, Stewart-Cooper-Newell Architects
- This Old Firehouse: Renovate or Start Anew?: Bob Mitchell, Mitchell and Associates Architects
- Awards Program: Blake Redden, Charlotte Fire Department
- Selecting Station Furnishings and Reducing Operating Costs: Jim Zwerg, Phoenix Fire Department
- Integrating Training Props into the Station: Mark Shoemaker, Cole + Russell Architects
- Reducing Operating Costs & Maintaining Your Existing Station: Practical Sustainability: Keith Pehl, Optima Engineering & Ken Newell, Stewart-Cooper-Newell Architects
- Extending the Life of PPE by Proper Storage and Care: Kirk Owen, Tencate, (retired Plano Fire Department)
- Going Green and LEED: What’s it all About?: Lynn Reda, LeMay Erickson Willcox Architects
- Safety in the Fire Station: Kevin Roche, Phoenix Fire Department
- Station Hardening: Storm and Seismic: Josh McDowell, Group MacKenzie & Ken Newell, Stewart-Cooper-Newell Architects
- Alternative Funding Sources for Fire Stations: Adam Thiel, Alexandria Fire Department
- Evaluating Response Time and Existing Conditions for Relocation and/or Consolidation: Dr. Charles Jennings, Manitou Inc. & Bob Mitchell, Mitchell and Associates Architects
- Design for the Future — NOW!: Dennis Ross, Pacheco Ross Architects
- Plugging the New Fire Station & its Fit to the Betterment of the Community: Don Collins, Clemson University Fire Department
- Modular Firehalls: Kimberly Johnston and John Botelho, Johnston Davidson Architects
- Apparatus Room Floor Finish Basics: Joseph M. Mottola, H2M Architects and Design