How to build a perfect fire station

Bobbitt article published in the Carolina Fire-Rescue-EMS Journal

Nearly all fire stations have a few items in common; apparatus bays, restrooms, decontamination, storage, at least one office, and an outdoor BBQ area. The challenge is that they are all moving targets based on the needs of the surrounding community. Budget constraints, current and planned equipment, functionality, response times, as well as personnel likes and dislikes, all exert influence on the station design. If you do not control the growth of your community, are not told what your budget will or won’t be, are grateful when you acquire or inherit another piece of equipment, and never know for sure what your line up is from year to year, you’re not alone.

To answer the question of how to build a perfect fire station, you will need to view your station from a third party perspective all the while having inside knowledge on what works best and doesn’t for your station.

There are multiple steps to this process.

  • Forecast with accuracy at different levels.
  • Plan for today, tomorrow and the unexpected. Today is the easy calculation; you already know what you have and what you need. Tomorrow, and the unexpected, are typically the challenging answers.
  • Take a business approach to planning by writing out the five, 10 and 20 year projections using historic data and not emotional or selfish interests.
  • Remember, history typically repeats itself.