We got a sneak peek inside the brand new Fire Station 21 this week. Firefighters will move from the temporary station five blocks south, where they’ve been for the past 15 months, and into their new digs next Tuesday.
They may start moving some of their personal items into the station this weekend. The official move will happen the morning of Nov. 8, beginning about 8 a.m. Rich Hennings, senior project manager, said the new station should be fully operational by 12 p.m. that day.
Hennings said the construction timeline was delayed somewhat because three of the project’s contractors went out of business during construction (two of the earthwork contractors, and the first siding contractor). Ballard Sheet Metal stepped in to finish the siding. “I can’t say enough good about them,” Hennings said.
The new station was needed for three main reasons: the old station was not seismically sound, firefighters needed a better layout for functionality, and they needed space for more equipment and larger trucks. If need be, a ladder truck can fit into the new truck bay. Station 21 currently houses one engine and a Multiple Casualty Incident Van.
“It’s kind of a mini hospital,” Hennings said of MCIV. “It has backboards and medical supplies for multiple casualties.”
In the old station, the locker room and bunk room were cramped, and firefighters slept in the same room, with no privacy. The new station provides small private rooms for each firefighter, with a twin bed, cupboard, small shelf/desk and a reading lamp. Lockers are outside each room. A wide hallway leads straight to the truck bay.
Private bunk rooms will have a twin bed, small desk/shelf, cupboard, and reading light.
Walk through the station’s front door and you’re in the Watch Office. A firefighter is awake and in that area 24 hours a day. That area houses a few computers, and the Human Machine Interface. Firefighters can use the HMI to manually activate the Traffic Pre-Emption Signal if necessary. It’s tied to the emergency system to trip automatically when they’re called out, but they’ll use the signal again when backing the fire truck into the station after a call, to hold oncoming traffic.
Next to the Watch Office is the officer’s office and bunk room, and an ADA accessible bathroom and shower.
The red emergency phone outside the front door goes directly to 911. That’s in case the firefighters are out on a call, and the Fire Department wants every call logged.
The station has four officers – one captain and three lieutenants. One of those officers and three fire fighters cover each of the four shifts. Officers are in charge of each shift, and in charge of Drilling (checking fire hydrants annually, making sure drivers know the neighborhood roads and routes, building inspections, etc.)
The new truck bay has a dedicated decontamination room with a large shower and eye wash station. The Bunking Gear room allows storage of fire-retardant clothing and other gear. Every firefighter has two sets of bunking gear.
“Any time they get substances on them, they don’t have to bring that into their sleeping quarters,” Fire Department Spokesman Kyle Moore explained.
Firefighters will store their bunking gear in this special room.
There’s also a special washing machine that removes smoke and carcinogens, but doesn’t damage the fire-retardant properties of the clothes. “Basically it’s like an extractor that extracts all the gunk,” Moore explained.
Another room is for storing emergency medical supplies, and yet another room will house tools for maintaining and repairing equipment.
“This is great. The layout, the function. I think it’s one of the better designs,” Hennings said. “I know the firefighters are ready to get back in.”
A large window let firefighters see into the truck bay.
A wide stairway leads from the sleeping quarters up to the “Beanery” – the kitchen and day room. Each shift has their own cupboards for food. Motion sensor lights cut down on electrical costs. The day room is where firefighters relax or watch TV. The city pays for basic cable for them; if they want extras, they have to pool their money and pay for it themselves. They also buy their own day room furniture such as couches and recliners.
Standing in the Day Room, looking towards the kitchen. The balcony is at right.
Rainwater is recycled for flushing toilets, irrigation and washing the trucks. An electric vehicle charging station in the station’s back parking lot has its eye toward the future (but it’s not for public use). The station has a back-up generator that will run the station on full power for up to 72 hours.
The Personal Training room down the hall from the kitchen is full of natural daylight. The city provides some basic workout equipment (kettle bells, hand weights, and two machines such as treadmill, bike, stair climber or elliptical). Firefighters often add their own equipment as well. Firefighters get one dedicated hour per day to work out.
The view from the kitchen balcony looks toward Green Lake.
The stone-and-glass artwork in front of the station was designed by artist Perri Lynch (read our feature story on Lynch’s artwork). The glass sections will change from a bluish-green when the firefighters are in the station, to an orangish-red when they are out on a call.
And here’s a special plea from the Fire Department, which says that Greenwood and Phinney Ridge residents have an unusually close relationship to its fire station and fire fighters. Please give the firefighters time to settle into their new station before dropping in for an informal tour.
A community Open House will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 3. The station will be “out of service” during those two hours so fire fighters can concentrate on showing community members around the new station, and let them sit inside the fire truck.