The Idaho Falls Downtown Fire Station #1 officially opened this afternoon, Monday, May 1, 2017 at 1:00 p.m.
The Skyline High School Jazz Combo entertained elected officials, community members and guests as they arrived for the grand opening ceremony in front of the newly constructed station located at 343 “E” Street.
“The address, 343, has a significant meaning to us as it signifies the number of firefighters who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. We are here today to dedicate this station in their honor,” stated Fire Chief Dave Hanneman before introducing the department’s Color Guard and Pipes and Drums. Savannah and Presley Stallings, daughters of Idaho Falls Fire Department Driver Nick Stallings, performed the National Anthem.
Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Casper, Idaho Falls City Councilmembers and Chief Hanneman provided remarks about the department and construction of the building.
The former Station #1, inside the City Hall building on Constitution Way, housed the administration staff and eight firefighters for the past 87 years. Insufficient room, facilities and a crack in the floor that would not sustain the ladder truck necessitated the need to build a new station.
For the first time in 35 years, the Fire Prevention Bureau and ladder truck are at the same location as the administrative staff. At full capacity, the new station will also be living quarters for 11 firefighters. There are currently eight firefighters stationed there now.
Planning for the new station began in April 2015. Site plans and design boards were revealed and discussed during a groundbreaking ceremony on January 8, 2016.
The General Contractor for the new 24,000 square foot facility is Morgan Construction, with design provided by CRSA Architecture. The total cost of the building is $4.1 million, which came in under the $4.3 million guaranteed price given by Morgan Construction.
“We are very grateful for the professionalism, hard work and expertise provided by Morgan Construction, CRSA Architecture and all of the subcontractors involved in this project,” states Hanneman. “A special thank you goes out to Deputy Chief Duane Nelson who spent countless hours on this project to make sure it was done right and within budget.”
The new station is a fully ADA compliant building with elevators. The administrative staff occupy the first floor, along with a training room that also functions as a City Coordination Center (CCC). The CCC seats 50 people and can be reserved by other city departments and community members.
There are two sets of double bays. The Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) turnout room, located near the bays, is a state-of-the-art area with a ventilation system allowing fumes and contaminants to vent outside of the building, protecting firefighters and the facility.
Upstairs is the living quarters for firefighters, captains and battalion chiefs. Firefighters are on shift 48 hours at a time, with up to 11 crewmembers, so the living quarters function similar to a house. There are dorm rooms, showers, a dining room, kitchen, day room, training room with computers, and an exercise room. Firefighters are required to exercise for at least one hour per day to stay conditioned.
The brains of the building is an alert system with interconnectivity to dispatch. “During an emergency, the alert system will progressively wake pertinent personnel by turning on lights, followed by sound and voice, thereby reducing their heart rates upon notification,” explains Hanneman. When the alert system goes off, EMS crews have less than 1 minute to get out on the call from anywhere in the building. Fire calls are less than 1 minute 20 seconds. The central response area with monitors and radios is located near the pole leading down to the bays, giving crews up-to-date information before they get in the trucks and go on the call.
Monitors throughout the building also feed live call data to the firefighters, constantly keeping them informed of emergencies. The monitors in the fire prevention offices on the first floor display building plans, allowing staff to coordinate and discuss planning documents.
Guided tours of the facility will begin in the front entrance at 1:30 p.m. and go until 4:00 p.m. when the station officially goes into service.