F.I.E.R.O. Fire Station Design Symposium

September 23-25, 2019 Sheraton Raleigh Hotel

421 S. Salisbury St, Raleigh, NC 27601

2019 Topics

2019 Topics are being developed. Check back for updates.

Topics are subject to change without notice. Click on the title/presenter for topic descriptions.

General Sessions

Before you begin your fire station project, you need to develop an understanding of how important it is to pay attention to the project details at all levels as it unfolds, especially in the design phase. This presentation will highlight several design shortcomings that could have been avoided. It will also show some great ideas you should consider.

Designing a Fire Station project can be a daunting task - but it doesn't have to overwhelm you. As one of the first sessions at FIERO, this presentation will introduce the audience to the foundational components necessary for the planning, design, and construction of your great Fire Station. We will cover critical issues such as:

  • Planning and Building the Station to Stand the Test of Time
  • The Evolution of Fire Station Design and Recent Trends
  • Selecting the Design Team
  • Pitfalls to Avoid During the Project

This lively session will provide the attendees a solid foundation of knowledge that will make them more prepared for the wide-ranging presentations to follow.

How are fire departments combating cancer in their fire stations? What design and engineering measures are being put in place to consider the long-term health and safety of today's firefighters? At the same time, how are fire stations being designed in North America and what is the engineering behind them to make them last? This talk considers all of this and more. We look at 10 to 15 recently built or renovated stations to focus on Design in North America and Engineering the buildings to last. Healthy buildings, healthier fire fighters!

What makes an effective client? Are you at the table for every meeting, or are you held at arm's length by a General Services Department or other management group? Understand what the role of the fire department in the process of designing and constructing stations in either of these situations. This presentation will walk through the process of developing a project and discuss the most effective way a department can be involved regardless of the level of interaction provided to them.

This presentation will begin with a very brief (2 minutes) review of the issues surrounding cancer, cardiac arrest, and sleep deprivation within the fire service to reinforce the importance of these issues. The remainder of the presentation will be broken into two parts. The first portion will review the many spaces around the station that present inherent risks. 68,000 fire fighters reported injuries in 2015; of those, 58% were reported to have occurred on the fire grounds inferring the remainder happen while within the station. Issues such as safety, security, fire prevention, slip and fall protection, safe kitchen design, ballistic protection, and more will be reviewed to demonstrate that departments can easily implement cost effective solutions that will protect their most valuable asset, their people, no matter what their budget. The second part of the presentation will briefly review the issues surrounding PTSD and suicide within the fire service and how design can be utilized as one of many tools to help treat the disorder.

All fire stations - from historic brick buildings to modern, multiple-apparatus facilities - have one thing in common: a sense of civic pride. But what makes a fire station successful? And what features, fixtures, and finishes aren't suitable for a 50-year station? Join Indianapolis-based Axis Architecture + Interiors for an in-depth look at what works ... and what doesn't. Learn how the process has changed over the years, and why it's important to consider increasing cancer rates, durable materials, and changing social demographics when designing a station.

This presentation will provide tools for getting started in site selection. Using "Rules of Thumb" to provide guidance through the site selection process, including guidelines for site size and characteristics of a successful site, this presentation will offer insight into what distinguishes a good site from a poor site. Case studies of fire station projects will illustrate how "unforeseen circumstances" and site constraints will impact the design of your new station.

What is a vehicle exhaust extraction system (VEX) and why is it one of the most important components of good fire station design? VEX systems are required in fire stations to remove particulates and gases from diesel engine emissions that have been linked and documented to cancer and respiratory illness in the fire service. There are codes, standards, requirements, recommendations, and mandates, that delineate the need for VEX systems. And while requirement for these systems are clear, there are numerous systems and methods available to achieve compliance. What may not be clear is the advantages and disadvantages to each of the system types. Presented from the point of view of the design professional who specializes in the design of fire stations and these types of systems, attendees will learn how to analyze and select the system that best suits their needs. Real life examples and case studies will help illustrate the types and uses of the systems available. Whether attendees are new to the fire service or seasoned veterans, this presentation will provide useful information. We as designers and responders need to constantly educate ourselves and enhance our facilities to protect the health and safety of our firefighters.

Fire station design and construction projects are complicated and intense endeavors. Learn how to not only survive gaining community and taxpayer support, but skillfully navigate the process. Is there a formula to follow? How do we know if we're doing the right things? Do we have the right budget? Even zero might be the wrong budget. How do we reach the public and why should we have to? Will educated taxpayers be smarter at defeating my project? This fast-paced presentation will demonstrate current trends that both fire departments and communities are utilizing for and against projects, illustrate good and bad practices and present concrete solutions to avoid hidden pitfalls, find opportunities, understand public support, and get to a "yes" vote in one piece.

The lead architects for three Honor Award winners in F.I.E.R.O.'s 2017 Design Awards Program will share with you their experiences in working with their clients and consultants to achieve outstanding results. You will hear about issues important to the client that shaped the project as well as design responses to the basic building program, site conditions and more. Filling in the four walls of a box to achieve a winning solution requires open communications, thorough program study, design talent and patience. You will hear about and see the outstanding results achieved.

For firefighters, a station is more than a civic structure—it is a home away from home. To help relieve stress and provide a relaxing environment for fire fighters, modern stations are exploring the balance between social spaces and sleeping quarters. This presentation will explore various sleeping and living quarter arrangements, discuss how intrinsic design decreases stress, and demonstrate how to incorporate gender-neutral spaces.

Firehouses should be a safe place for not only our members but also the public, but are they? We'll examine not only some staggering stats on firefighter cancer issues, but also look at some examples of what's good and bad in many departments around the country. Cancer is an epidemic in the fire service. Hear and see the "jaw-dropping" data from a fire fighter cancer survivor.

Starting in 2015, Paul originated and developed the concept of HOT ZONE Station Design to contain and limit exposure to toxic chemicals and carcinogens within a Fire/EMS Station. Actively serving as an advocate for these ground-breaking design concepts, Paul has spoken nationally to such respected audiences as The Metro Chiefs, Firefighter Cancer Support Network, NFPA, IAFF, VCOS, FDSOA, F.I.E.R.O., FRI, Fire Services Occupational Cancer Alliance, the NFPA Responder Forum, and others. Considering many departments are not building new fire stations, and also realizing that all departments have existing stations that were designed well before the link between cancer and contaminant exposure was recognized, this presentation will provide an overview of the latest designs for contaminant control, and then focus on applying those strategies to existing stations. Pragmatic and specific illustrations will highlight common violations of HOT ZONE thinking, and the presentation will provide "take home value with concrete recommendations for departments to implement in their existing facilities.

Design and construction projects are long term and often stressful endeavors that can take years to complete. The panel above will assemble on the last day of the conference to perform light hearted and lightly rehearsed improv "skits" playing various roles that give you, the owner, a unique perspective of the life of a project. The improv will offer a taste of reality with touches of humor that will give you a relevant sampling of the conversations and issues for which you should prepare.

A random person or persons will be selected from the audience and be given the opportunity to make the final call on critical decisions that may affect the outcome of the project. Failure to make good decisions may result in the audience witnessing the project descend into chaos at which point the narrator will take corrective course of action by turning the clock back to make the correct decision.

After each skit members of the audience will be asked to participate in brief panel discussion where actors will then take the role of "panel" members and provide commentary on the options, benefits and consequences of each potential decision.

Format: Similar to the famous TV show, "Whose Line is it Anyway?" that narrator will set the tone and stage for each scene defining the roles and conditions or each actor. Each scene will last approximately 10-15 minutes with a 5-minute Q&A between each.

Concurrent Sessions

From dense urban centers to suburbia and rural areas, many fire and rescue departments are considering multi-story fire stations and/or mixed-use facilities in response to issues such as budget constraints, property values, site availability, and population densities. This presentation will use a series of case studies to discuss key design considerations in multi-story and mixed use projects, including: vertical and horizontal response paths, program adjacencies, cost comparisons, site size and layout considerations, structured parking, and integration of fire stations in mixed use facilities, including Public Private Partnerships.

What is an "Essential Facility" and why does it need to be "Hardened"? An "Essential Facility" is a man-made structure that, because of its function, size, service area, or uniqueness, has the potential to disrupt vital socioeconomic activities that a community considers essential for the delivery of vital services and for the protection of the community including fire stations. "Hardening" can be described as hazard mitigation in the form of planning, design, and construction that protects against natural hazard risks, specifically associated with flooding and high winds. You will learn how to adequately harden your facility. Real life examples and case studies will help illustrate the need for hazard mitigation and show design strategies to execute them. This presentation will also explore hazards beyond natural causes, and dive into difficult topics such as active shooter, terrorism, and urban assault. Hardening and hazard mitigation for these scenarios will be discussed as well. The world around us is ever changing and we, as responders and designers, need to constantly educate ourselves and enhance our facilities to protect the health and well-being of our communities.

Almost all fire stations will eventually undergo some degree of renovation, and, with each passing year, the cost of building a new station becomes more and more out of reach. Your station may be an older building in poor condition and so you're wondering, is it worth saving? Or, your building may be in decent shape, but you are considering renovation to address consolidation, gender parity, bunking, firefighter health & safety, training features, changing weather patterns, or the possibility of a shared services facility. Or, you may be looking to repurpose a structure that is not currently a fire station. This seminar 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. Using examples of station renovation, you will learn about evaluating the existing conditions, how to develop a detailed description of your needs, and how to have the information you need to make decisions about the building from a solution-based review of the facts. Examples will include before/after transition images to help you learn to visualize when a building is a "diamond in the rough."

Architects Jay Farbstein and Melissa Farling, working with faculty at the Ohio State University, formulated a hypothesis that environment can influence the neurobiology of its occupants through lighting, color and nature, resulting in less stress for the people who work there. Their study at the Sonoma County Jail Intake Hub used a large wall mural of a "savannah image" (open grasslands with trees for shelter and water features) on a waiting room wall. Participants demonstrated lower levels of fatigue and stress, as well as higher levels of cognition and memory in these "immersive environments". Natural materials like water, trees, wood, and stone were found to have a calming effect on the participants. So, how should a Fire and EMS station be designed to employ the science regarding this vestige of evolutionary memory to create an environment that reduces stress for the crew? Recognizing that emotional stress for emergency responders can rival the levels of PTSD experienced by military personnel, and that alarming rates of firefighter suicide challenge the industry, this presentation will explore how "Immersive Design" techniques and strategies can be implemented in fire station designs to improve the emotional health and well-being of the crew.

Ever had a hard time convincing neighbors that a fire station next door will improve response times? Has the code got you down when they don't specifically address Fire Station construction? Listen to a couple of architects and an owner who have seen a little bit of push back in their careers.

With apparatus getting bigger and budgets getting smaller, designing and constructing new fire stations has never been more challenging, but for smaller departments with limited staff and resources, these obstacles can be overwhelming. With the wave of tiny house, less-is-more design sweeping the nation, we will explore strategies for optimizing station design without sacrificing functionality and explore ways to create efficiency through the development of a kit-of-parts to maximize available funding and make every dollar count.

This presentation will take you from inception of the project--a project that produced two fire stations--to the end. In between, Chief Bucy will detail the ups-and-downs of a successful project that was 7 years in the making. From programming, to floor-plan, to move in, no stone will go unturned. And, they were built for just over $3 million per station!

Even at a station with a moderate call volume, the 24-hour or 48-hour shift schedule means that sleep deprivation becomes an issue for most fire fighters over their career. This session will cover the sobering new science on sleep deprivation in first responders, including a review of the serious long-term impacts on physical health and the more immediate impact on teamwork, aggression, and mental effectiveness. The session will cover the key barriers to effective sleep and discuss ways the fire service can improve its response to this issue through architecture and policy.

Join our Fire Chief and Project Manager as we share our experience planning, negotiating, and executing a public/private partnership model for redevelopment of a fire station site.. Providing state of the art facilities while leveraging public and private partnerships, we will detail the success of redeveloping a 1.1 acre, 1955 era fire station site into an 11,000 sq. ft fire station, structured parking, and 40,000 sq. ft of class A office space. This model should be explored by departments building infill stations, or when considering redevelopment of existing fire station sites.

This two-part presentation will focus on strategies that are utilized to develop effective and functional apparatus bays and support spaces for operational efficiency and training. The first part of the presentation shall cover how apparatus bays have evolved over the years and what factors now drive their cost. The second part of the presentation will review more detailed items such as spatial requirements, lighting, mechanical systems, vehicle exhaust systems, fire protection, structural conditions, door operations, and apparatus clearances. Additional information shall be reviewed for associated support spaces to ensure departments are providing hygienic conditions for first responders.

Colorado presents some unique challenges in terms of being able to develop new capital facilities. Most of Colorado's fire departments are set up as political subdivisions of the State (Districts). The Districts, as other public entities in the State are subject to a state law referred to as T.A.B.O.R. This imposes barriers in terms of funding. Secondly, securing voter approval for funding new fire stations is often a large challenge. This presentation will describe ways to help fire departments secure funding while balancing all the competing requirements and standards associated with design, developing, and constructing a new capital fire facility.

The AIA A201 General Conditions of the Contract for Construction sets in place the understanding of the roles of the Owner, Architect, and Contractor. This presentation will provide an in-depth, and easy understandable explanation of the contract so the construction of your station runs smoothly—and what to do when it does not.

FED Talks

Do you feel the approvals, regulations, financing and just about everything you need to get your project off the ground has gone south? No matter what issue you solve, it seems to be a moving target that won't stay still. Why does this phenomenon happen in the design/construction industry? You will hear some anecdotes, a few doses of reality and what makes our industry unique when buy-in is involved. Listen and learn how you can avoid some of the pitfalls, plan and prepare for the unexpected, survive the turmoil and find a path to project completion on budget and on schedule.

One of the biggest challenges of any department is providing the needed hands on, practical training for the firefighters. For paid departments the training usually results in dedicating so many hours per year of the firefighters "on the clock" time to send them to the proper facilities. This increases the department budget by duplicating personnel needed to cover the one away at training. The volunteer departments face the problem of finding opportunities for their personnel to have time away from their regular jobs for training, which usually means evenings or weekends. Much of this training will require that valuable apparatus be out of service as well. Out of service personnel and apparatus will have adverse effects on your ISO ratings. None of these scenarios are unfamiliar to any department. While most stations have some sort of space that can be used for classroom training, very few have the luxury of an emergency training center on site. Understanding that fact, let us consider how you can achieve some much needed and required training through some inexpensive additions to your new facility. Some of these ideas can even be incorporated into your existing buildings for very little money. This presentation will consider how to implement cost-effective training features into fire Station Design.

Healthy buildings, healthy firefighters — a co-panelist at our local FCAM conference is a researcher on fire fighters and cancer. Her work has influenced Ted's thinking on fire station design. He will introduce her work to you and describe how we could all benefit from shifting the way fire stations are designed to focus on eliminating carcinogen transfer in buildings.

This has been an on-going topic in the fire service for several years. This issue has gained heightened awareness recently with the changing social norms of gender issues, including the "Me Too movement". This presentation will provide practical, proven ideas to effectively deal with gender issues in the fire station.

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