During last Thursday’s Idaho Falls City Council meeting elected officials unanimously approved funding to purchase property to build a new fire station to accommodate commercial and residential growth.
The City Council approved the purchase of the seven acre vacant lot on the corner of Spitfire and Boeing Streets with a goal of building a new fire station to the north of Idaho Falls in the next three to four years.
“This property purchase was planned and it will be accomplished without using local property tax dollars,” says Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Casper. “City officials are entrusted to spend public funds wisely, so when the opportunity arose to purchase the property with federal ARPA dollars combined with funds from the sale of an unneeded city property, we jumped on it. The Council members and I feel this creative approach best serves the interest of city taxpayers while still planning for future safety needs,” explains Casper.
A total of $10,000 was authorized by City Council as earnest money towards the $900,000 property. A total of $658,000 from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) was allocated with an additional $252,000 coming from the auction and sale of the old fire station/fire prevention building located on the corner of Holmes Avenue and 8th Street.
“Planning for future growth of our city as well as the infrastructure and public safety needs that growth requires is always at the forefront of our minds,” states IFFD Fire Chief Duane Nelson.
The IFFD has experienced a steady increase in calls for service over the past three to four years, averaging 1,000 more calls per year. In 2021, the department had a significant spike at 3,000 more calls, totaling 17,230. IFFD not only provides fire protection to the City of Idaho Falls and most of Bonneville County, but they also have contracts to provide EMS services to all of Bonneville County and portions of Jefferson and Bingham Counties. IFFD Annual Report 2021
According to the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association), response time standards for EMS calls is under 4 minutes and under 5 minutes for fire-related calls. The determination of the need for a new station and where to locate it was accomplished through NFPA standards, IFFD dispatch call data, and growth projections based on City GIS (Geographic Information System) mapping. The northern station will address the growth along North River Road, Sage Lakes, and the northern county line.
The design for the new station will include multiple bays that will not only house frontline engines, ambulances, and personnel but also address current storage limitations. The location of the station has an added benefit of improving efficiency as it will be located near the city shop and vehicle wrecking yards, making it easier for IFFD to coordinate vehicle accident extrication training on IFFD’s property.
“This new station is one more step we are taking toward maintaining a high level of service delivery while keeping us in line with national standards and relieving pressure on our current personnel responding to high call volumes. We thank our community and elected officials for their continued support,” adds Nelson.
Media Contact: Kerry Hammon, Public Information Officer, (208) 612-8122, [email protected]