Join our mailing list Follow us on Facebook Follow @FIEROFire Contact us

About F.I.E.R.O. Contact Us

2017 Topics - subject to change

Planning to build or renovate your fire station in the next 5 years? Then, be sure your department and stakeholders attend this symposium. Click on the topics below for detailed program descriptions:

General Session Presentations

An Overview of the Design and Construction of a Fire Station by Jennifer Bettiol and Ray Holliday, BRW Architects


This presentation will review the steps involved in designing and constructing a new fire station. It will provide an overview of the process, from identifying the size of fire station and site you will need, costs and budgeting, hiring of a design professional, types of bidding, characteristics of a qualified contractor and what to expect in construction. Using case studies and rules of thumb, this presentation will provide an insight into what to expect from start to finish of your new station. After this presentation, you will be able to:

  • Gain an understanding of the overall process of designing and constructing a new fire station
  • Discern the characteristics of quality design and construction professionals
  • Understand the difference between project and construction costs

Solving Sleep Deprivation for First Responders by Craig Carter, BKV Group; Dr. Catherine R. Counts, Health Services Researcher with Seattle Medic One in the Division of Emergency Medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine; and, Dr. Michael Christian, Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


At a busy fire station, responders can expect to be kept awake most of the night. As such, they will catch naps in the day room whenever they can. But even at a station with a moderate call volume, the 24-hour shift means that sleep deprivation becomes an issue for most fire fighters over their career. Bringing together scientists from different fields, this panel discussion will review the scientific literature on sleep deprivation as it applies to first responders, including the serious impacts on physical health, mental well-being, judgment, and decision making. The panel will also discuss ways the fire service can improve its response to this issue through architecture and policy. This presentation will show you:

  • How to identify the symptoms of sleep deprivation in your staff and how to monitor them over the long run
  • The various health and behavioral implications of sleep deprivation and how those manifest in the fire service
  • How fire station design can help alleviate sleep deprivation

Hot Zone Design-Recent Developments in the Yellow Zone by Paul Erickson, LeMay Erickson Willcox Architects


HOT ZONE Design has taken root and is changing the fire industry. After advocating awareness of cancer in fire fighters and developing a system of categorizing spaces by risk within the fire station based on exposure to toxic chemicals and carcinogens, Paul Erickson has continued to advance fire station designs by including enhanced decontamination protocols and spaces within new and renovated stations. This presentation will illustrate the expanded recommendations for decontamination of equipment and personnel by using a case study methodology to show examples from recent design work. The presentation will start with an overview of HOT ZONE Design strategies to refresh those who are familiar and orient newcomers to the concepts. After the overview, the presentation will move into the main topic above and will close with a preview of the NFPA Federal Grant Study that is underway. The impact of HOT ZONE is demonstrated by the NFPA study and findings that will soon become available to the industry. You will learn the following:

  • To transfer widely accepted strategies and concepts for proper hazmat incident control to new applications in daily activities at the station
  • To recognize serious long-term health risks that currently exist at the fire station in order to develop and implement protocols to reduce cancer
  • Recent international research
  • Specific building design strategies and features for both new and existing fire station renovation efforts

A Common-Sense Approach to Station Design Issues to Battle Fire Fighter Cancer by Fire Fighter-Paramedic Keith Tyson, Miami-Dade Rescue Fire Department (ret.) and the Vice-President of Education and Research for the Firefighter Cancer Support Network


This presentation, offered by a cancer survivor, will illustrate the cancer epidemic among fire fighters through very compelling statistics. The types and sources of carcinogens found in the fire fighting environment will be explained to illustrate the challenges faced in addressing fire fighter cancer. Most importantly, the presentation will give you tools for minimizing carcinogens in the fire station. Common problems typically found in the station will be identified and methods to eliminate those problems will be offered. Several “best practices” that have been adopted by fire departments across the country will be shared.

Designed in North America, Engineered to Last by Ted Galante, The Galante Architecture Studio, Inc.


Based on the acclaimed “Coolest Fire Stations on Earth” presentation from last year’s symposium (and in response to F.I.E.R.O. audience feedback), this presentation is focused more at home and less abroad. What have we achieved as a country, and how do these stations impact our fire fighting capabilities, response times, and emergency medical services? What do these stations say about the state of Fire and EMS station design in the 21st century? Audience feedback from “coolest fire stations on earth” included:

  • What’s happening in North America?
  • What are construction cost impacts?
  • How do the stations keep operating costs down?
This presentation will look at 10 to 15 recent stations to answer these questions and more. This original presentation will be informative and useful, focusing on creative problem solving. It will cover design techniques, construction processes, civic communication, visual communication, and related elements. At the end of this presentation, you will have a full understanding of how communities of all shapes and sizes are working with city managers, community organizations, and similar people to consider inventive options for approaching a project. This presentation brings station design back home and helps us ask broader questions about varying possibilities.

Do We Understand the 8th Circuit Courts Ruling in Wedow, Kline v. Kansas City Fire Department? by Captain Robert Main, Honolulu Fire Department (ret.)


Anne Wedow and Kathleen Kline, career firefighters with the Kansas City Fire Department, successfully won a jury verdict that was upheld in a U.S. Court of Appeals which found that not providing women adequate firefighting protective gear and fire station changing and showering facilities was discriminatory. This presentation will take a broad view at the ramifications of this ruling as it relates to fire station design thought process. It will go beyond simply male v. female, but address some of the other issues within the protected classes that could lead to discriminatory practices claims being made. More than gender, we need to understand the situation of how fire fighters identify and orient themselves as individuals. In this presentation, you will also learn that sexual and other forms of harassment are based on perception and not physical evidence, and as professionals tasked with overseeing or designing facilities for everyone within those facilities, we need to do our best to engineer a solution to prevent, or at least minimize such occurrences from happening.

Responsible Fire Station Design for First Responder Health & Safety Factors by Robert Manns, Manns Woodward Studios


This three-part presentation will focus on strategies and planning elements associated with designing a responsible fire station that addresses safety and health concerns for those it serves. The presentation will be conducted in a manner that reviews health and safety concerns of fire fighters, including disease and pathogens (especially as they relate to the rise in cancer prognosis among fire fighters), sleep deprivation and its harmful, long-term effect as well as vehicle exhaust and contamination, and how the design of a station can provide resolutions for these factors. In this presentation, you will be educated about the different types of key health and safety concerns facing fire fighters and how building design has a direct correlation. You will also learn “real world” resolutions that can be implemented to help prevent health and safety risks for fire fighters at the station.

Programming: Start with a Strong Foundation by Lynn Reda, Hughes Group Architects


Programming for a fire station is just a list of spaces and areas…right? Perhaps not. In this presentation, you will learn to “move beyond the list” and learn to develop a program for your station that will provide the foundation for a successfully functioning facility on opening day and well into the future. In addition, you will learn:

  • To understand definitions and the basic elements of a program
  • Recognize the importance of careful consideration of program elements and the long-term implications of decisions made during programming on the final facility
  • Understand the tools available for effective programming

Lessons Learned: Getting Project “Buy-In”! by Joe Mottola, H2M architects + engineers and Fire District Manager David Sterne, Setauket Fire District


Demonstrating the need to replace or reconstruct an antiquated station can be the easy part of the process. Getting “buy-in” from your community and from your local fire department can be the toughest part. Using a transparent process through conceptual design, planning and public awareness/education puts the fire department in a better position to succeed. Using an actual project, the project architect and the fire department manager (end user) will take you through the full process of a proposed project from inception of the Request For Proposal (RFP) for professional services, through conceptual design, public awareness and project “buy-in”, referendum approval, detailed design and finally construction. This will be discussed from the differing perspectives of both the architect and the fire department manager. You will hear, from differing perspectives, what went well, what went wrong, and, in hindsight, recommended improvements to the process, from inception through construction.

How to Afford a 75-Year Station by Ken Newell, Stewart-Cooper-Newell Architects


Every department planning a new fire station should make a goal of designing one that will last 75 years or longer. It is equally important that this station require as little repair and upkeep as possible during its lifespan. However, limited budgets are the single largest controlling factor in what you will be able to build. This session will explore methods and options successfully used by many fire departments to plan and build a functional, low-maintenance facility without “busting the budget”. This presentation will take you in-depth with various design considerations for your station, including site and exterior/interior building components, while also considering how you can plan a flexible design for future station growth. You will learn about:

  • Controlling costs from design through construction
  • Construction costs trends—the highs, the lows and highs again
  • Controlling site costs
  • Single-story v. multi-story
  • Construction types and their budget impacts
  • Selecting the appropriate materials and systems
  • Identifying cost-savings opportunities
  • Ways to reduce your footprint…and budget

DRAFT DAY – Building a Winning Team by J. Michael Taylor and Michael Pry, DP3 Architects, Ltd.


Whether you are looking for an architect with star-quality to quarterback your project or a reliable contractor to get it done in the trenches, you as team owner must learn to manage egos and expectations to build a team that can deliver a project to the end zone. This session will explore the owner/architect/contractor relationship and procurement strategies which will give you the tools necessary to assemble a successful team at the start of the season and, ultimately, develop a trophy-worthy facility for your community. In this presentation, you will learn to:

  • Determine the appropriate construction delivery method to meet project goals
  • Understand the steps, requirements, and contracts necessary to assemble the design and construction team
  • Understand the roles and responsibilities of each team member in order to deliver a successful project

Beaneries, Bays, and Bunkrooms – The Seattle Fire Department Experience by Deputy Chief Ron Mondragon


What do Sake, Tsunami and Subduction have to do with 33 Seattle Fire Stations, ranging from 28 to over 85 years old? This entertaining presentation will explore the $167,000,000 Seattle Fire Facilities & Emergency Response Levy focusing on the challenges and opportunities experienced. The project remodeled or replaced 32 Fire Stations, provided a new Training Center, Fire Alarm Center, and City Emergency Operations Center. This presentation will focus on Key Relationships, stories from the trenches, and future Legacy of the Seattle Fire Department Mission.

Fire Station “Jeopardy” by Lynn Reda, Hughes Group Architects


Originally conceived as a small breakout session, this presentation will be the closeout general session. A big hit last year, this “audience participation” interaction is an excellent way to capture the key “takeaways” offered during the Symposium. This presentation uses the actual TV Jeopardy show game show board. This closing session is one NOT to be missed!

Concurrent Presentations - see schedule for details

$3 Million a Piece: Fire Stations Designed for the Future by Fire Chief Mike Bucy, Stevens 1 Fire-Rescue


How can you build a fire station designed for staying power and keep it at $3 million? Stevens 1 Fire Rescue has started to replace two fire stations with that price tag (give or take a little). Learn how they accomplished the most while keeping their budget within their voter approved bond. From the programming to the bid process, this program will lead the “small guy” through a large process. The first goal of this presentation is to show you how you can have a station designed to meet your NEEDS and budget. The second goal of this presentation is to show you how to use all the tools available and when to use them. The third goal of this presentation is to give you the confidence that you can have a fire station designed for the future without breaking the budget.

Sustainability in the Fire Station: From Start to Finish to Forever by Craig Carter, BKV Group


The concept of sustainability is appearing in mission statements of fire departments across the country, and most millennials report that it is an essential factor when deciding which organizations to work for. This session will recommend several sustainable strategies for inclusion into your new construction or renovation project. Some specific technologies architects are frequently asked about will be covered in greater depth. The numerous rating systems will be briefly discussed, and the session will end with some ideas to promote sustainability as part of your overall department culture. This presentation will help you:

  • Learn about the opportunities for sustainability in the design and construction of a fire station-specifically those that will provide the best overall value to your department
  • Learn about strategies for incorporating sustainable measures in your existing stations
  • Get a basic understanding of the sustainable strategies you are most curious about
  • Know the various rating systems available for new and existing stations
  • Understand ways to implement a culture of sustainability in your department

Value Engineering by Dennis Ross, Pacheco-Ross Architects--a Division of H2M architects + engineers


What is value engineering (VE)? Is it cutting costs, counting widgets, using cut-rate materials, finding cheap labor, ignoring regulatory requirements, building out of cardboard, or is it magic? It’s none of these ideas. Applied correctly, VE should create value for your project. So, why is VE considered a dark art? Probably because people don’t understand the concepts and don’t get the information in a manner that can help them maximize the solution. How do you begin this effort? What tools do you need? Where do you find the correct information? In this presentation, you learn how VE can work specifically for fire stations and their sites. Explore the tools you can use to successfully design and build the optimal facility for your budget. Learn about cost-effective means for planning, feasibility, programming, design, and construction. In this presentation, you will learn:

  • Size, scope, cost v. life cycle, time and quality
  • To use VE to explore and quantify new trends in station design
  • LEED, sustainability, Green, energy usage and how VE can help you balance these concepts
  • To identify areas for potential cost optimization
  • To dispel perceptions from owners, architects, and contractors
  • About real world examples and how they worked
  • Everything from floors, finishes, equipment, layouts, site and much more are all in play
  • Helpful tools in selecting an architect and its team
  • Examine renovation, addition, demolition, moving, building new and how VE can help
  • Avoid hidden pitfalls
  • The facts and magic that make every project, its processes and outcome completely different, yet with similar elements
  • That VE is a team sport

Going Vertical: Case Studies in Multi-Story Fire Stations and Mixed-Use Facilities by Christopher Kehde, LeMay Erickson Willcox Architects


As property values and population densities increase, many fire and rescue departments need to consider options to minimize their building footprint and maximize the vertical development potential for sites. This presentation will use a series of case studies to discuss fire station design considerations in multi-story and mixed use projects. Topic will include: integration of fire stations in Public Private Partnerships (PPP) with work force housing or other commercial uses, site size and layout considerations, structured parking, vertical and horizontal response paths, program adjacencies, and cost comparisons. This presentation will demonstrate how “Going Vertical” can broaden development opportunities for fire and rescue facilities. From this presentation, you will:

  • Learn about the advantages and disadvantages in multi-story fire and rescue facilities compared to single-story facilities
  • Gain perspective on building fire stations in urban environments
  • Better understand Public-Private Partnerships and how they can fund municipal projects
  • See multiple case study projects showing multi-story and mixed use fire station projects
  • Have a shortlist of key design considerations to review with their design professional about vertical design considerations

When to go Vertical: Multi-Story Fire Stations by F. Thomas Lee, Samaha Associates


When faced with designing a new fire station one crucial decision point is when to build a single or multi-story station. Often this important decision is reduced to consideration only of the size of the site. This presentation aims to demonstrate a process for understanding and balancing the operational value, first costs, and operational costs to compare the options for building single or multiple levels. From this presentation, you will learn:

  • How to make an informed and defendable decision following collection of specific information, comparison of options, and understanding of operational impacts
  • The different benefits for attendees from varying backgrounds
  • Site constraints and related development costs.
Owners and procurement specialists may discover the value in comparative options and decision making processes.

Not Just a Garage…The Anatomy of the Modern Apparatus Bay by Robert Manns, Manns Woodward Studios


This two-part presentation will focus on strategies that are used to develop effective and functional apparatus bays and support spaces for operational efficiency and training. The first part of the presentation shall cover items such as spatial requirements, lighting, mechanical systems, vehicular exhaust systems, fire protection, structural conditions, door operations, and apparatus clearances. Additional information shall be reviewed for associated support spaces such as decon areas, turnout gear zones, SCBA, and workshops to ensure departments are providing hygienic conditions for first responders. The second part of the presentation will review how departments can implement training elements within the bay spaces in a cost-effective manner. You will gain a better understanding of how quality based design solutions can improve first responder health and potentially extend the life of apparatus through appropriate bay design. In addition, you will learn how certain training elements can be implemented into an apparatus bay in a cost-effective manner.

Your Old Fire Station — Renovate or Knock it Down? by Bob Mitchell, Mitchell Associates Architects


Learn about the devastating impact of the 2015 revisions of the International Building Code (IBC) on the ability to cost effectively renovate an “essential facility”. Almost all fire stations will eventually undergo some degree of renovation. Your station may be an older building in poor condition and so you are wondering—is it worth saving? Your facility may be in decent shape, but you are considering renovation to address consolidation, gender parity, bunking in, firefighter health and safety, training features, changing weather patterns, or the possibility of a shared facility. Or, you may be looking to re-purpose a structure that is not currently a fire station. This presentation describes the steps to take when determining if your existing building and site can be modified to meet your needs and whether it is better to renovate it, knock it down and rebuild, or move to a new site.

Maximizing Efficiency: Small Fire Station Design by Ryan Ollson, Cornerstone Architecture, Inc.


In emergency services, every second counts and response time does not start when the wheels of the fire truck begin to turn. For the crew, the timer starts when the notification of an emergency is first received. Providing the shortest and least obstructive path from anywhere in a fire station to the emergency vehicle shaves off critical seconds—unnecessary movement and distance equal wasted time. Using fire stations number 7 and number 11 in London, Ontario as case studies, this presentation will review the process used to develop a standard station design for the London Fire Department which emphasizes response time and operational needs to achieve an efficient plan. By attending this presentation, you will:

  • Understand that a fire station is a tool used 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • Learn to analyze and categorize a fire station functional program based on priority rating system for proximity to the apparatus bay
  • Know how to employ this strategy to plan a facility with an efficient floor plan and balanced turnout times

Site Seeing: Finding the Right Site for Your Next Station by Zak Pierce, CLH design


Site selection requires thoughtful, strategic collaboration and planning. Cities and towns across the U.S. are experiencing a rapid growth in development that require the need for comprehensive planning. Along with growth, comes the need to build or expand fire stations to meet the needs of the community. Key steps are necessary to ensure the success of a project and community acceptance. This presentation outlines the planning process, identifies key stakeholders, and explores several case studies. You will be able to:

  • List the critical components that need to be included within the site analysis process
  • Be able to apply tactics for successfully engaging the neighbors of a prospective site
  • Be able to identify who needs to be on the site selection committee and understand the importance of having the right people at the table early in the process

How to Plan and Design a Successful Shared Public Safety Facility by Jim Stumbo, Stewart-Cooper-Newell Architects


As local governments around the country continue to constrain their budgets, their need for suitable public safety structures remains the same. Thus, multi-agency (fire, law enforcement, city hall, etc.) public safety facilities have increased in popularity due to their potential for cost savings. This presentation will describe the process of designing a multi-agency facility that not only houses multiple agencies, but does so in a functional manner. Through sensible design, shared/non-shared spaces and controlled access, a combined public safety facility can be a comprehensive and cost effective solution to a local government’s public safety facility problem. In this presentation, you will learn:

  • The economic benefits of combining multiple agencies in a single facility
  • Insight into how proper design allows for multiple agencies to coexist within a single facility
  • To identify “lessons learned” regarding problems you should and can avoid from initial project planning through post occupancy
  • To share case studies on successful examples of multi-agency facilities

Historic Preservation + Expansion – a Case Study from Start to Finish by Ted Galante, Galante Architecture and Lynn Washburn-Livingston (ret.) Fire Chief Davenport (IA) Fire Department


This presentation will take you through an entire project from initial planning to final completion. It starts with understanding the history of the existing facility. This includes looking at the limits of the surrounding properties, who owns them, and potential for expansion. The design team was sequestered during this initial period, meeting with fire department and city officials only. You will be informed about how the early design studies helped define which properties to purchase, leading to formal land acquisition. The presenters will discuss formal design acceptance, documents, and interviewing potential construction managers. Included will be how the Building Information Model (BIM) was used in the design and construction and the eventual construction process and project phasing that ended with a ribbon cutting in December, 2016. By attending this presentation, you will gain a full understanding of historic preservation and decisions that might need to be made when considering such a structure. You will learn about the decisions regarding finances as well as the overall process of renovating and expanding any building.

"Consider This…" by Captain Don Collins, Clemson Fire Department, Professor, Clemson University (ret.), and Fire Station Consultant


“Consider This” will be a fast paced comprehensive case studies look at the ways various fire departments and their architects have handled design issues that, while unique to the project, may have implications for your project. The presentation will also feature some unique solutions to design issues that are routine in any fire station project. Interspersed will be some images of design mistakes made that you will want to avoid.

FED Talks (fast-paced 15-minute-sessions on hard-hitting topics)

These 15 minute talks are similar to the famous Ted Talks except FED stands for – F.I.E.R.O. Education Development. “FED Talks©” are a bit edgy, concentrate on different subjects (nothing mainstream here), and explore issues and subjects that may be controversial or at least yield widely varied opinions.

The Dark Arts Series – Why $h*t Costs so Much by Dennis Ross, Pacheco-Ross Architects--a Division of H2M architects + engineers


Well, why does your firehouse cost so much? Seems obvious, but there are so many reasons, hidden influences and “gotchas” in the construction industry. Though hours can be spent on this subject, in just 15 minutes you hear anecdotes, a few doses of reality and what makes our industry unique when cost is involved. As Dennis says, “listen and learn and I guarantee you will leave with the answer to this question.”

Change Orders: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly by Robert Manns, Manns Woodward Studios


This FED Talk will go into the different types of change orders and the common reason for their occurrence. The objective is to prepare you for the realities of construction and to not fear them in their entirety.

Yes, You Need an Elevator by Craig Carter, BKV Group


A chilling cautionary tale about how the City of Tucson got sued by the U.S. Department of Justice and had to alter their fire stations to accommodate persons with disabilities. This will include a brief description about each violation and how it was addressed. The storyteller is the architect who did the work.

Selecting the Right "Project Delivery System" for Your New Firehouse by Ken Newell, Stewart-Cooper-Newell Architects


There are three primary project delivery methods for any new Public Safety facility. These are the traditional Design-Bid-Build method, the increasingly popular Design-Build method, and the Construction Manager at Risk (CM at-Risk) method. Each of these systems has a unique decision-making structure with distinct advantages and disadvantages. Identifying the optimum delivery method for public projects depends on how public institutions value their own input: project cost and schedule; overall project quality; short and long-term goals; and, the accountability of the project participants. This presentation will walk you through the pros and cons of each method.

Mercer Island Station 92