Harold Straut, chairman of the Nanuet (N.Y.) Fire District, made my day. He sent me an e-mail after attending the 2013 Station Style Conference in Phoenix. “I would highly recommend that anyone planning on a new station, whatever the scope may be and whatever stage they may be in, attend this conference,” he wrote.
I've always believed that the best time to attend the Station Style Conference is before you break ground. Straut attended after his station already was underway, but he still was able to get new ideas and affirmation that his project was right on target.
Every year, I learn something new about designing a fire station or public-safety facility. This year, I learned how NFPA standards apply to fire station design from the association's Ken Holland. While there is no one NFPA code for fire stations, several do apply including NFPA 1581, 1989 and 1221 on communication systems. “NFPA 1500, 9.1.6, refers to no personal protective gear in the sleeping or living areas,” Holland said.
I also learned more about safety in facilities from Ryan Pietzsch of VFIS Education Training and Consulting. “We do a really good job when we go out and inspect industrial facilities, but somehow we overlook it in our own stations,” he said, offering attendees a comprehensive two-page self-inspection form for emergency service organization building and grounds.
Building inspection also came up during Charleston (S.C.) Deputy Chief John Tippett’s presentation on the construction of this department's new Station No. 9. In the aftermath of the Super Sofa Store fire that killed nine firefighters in June 2007, the department underwent a complete and thorough assessment of its policies, standards and facilities. Charleston fire stations have undergone extensive inspections and renovations, in addition to the construction of the new station.
Approximately one-third of the attendees were returnees, while almost two-thirds were first-time attendees from Alaska to Hawaii and Florida to New England. With each Station Style Conference, we aim to develop a unique and useful program with quality presenters and offer opportunities for networking with peers and professionals and at an affordable cost. We couldn’t do that without the support of our sponsors and our attendees, so we thank them.
With plenty of feedback on the survey forms, it’s time to start finding a new location for the 2014 Station Style Conference and developing next year’s program. We look forward to seeing you there.