Town of Sebago, Maine
Cursory Review of the Design, Layout & Siting
Proposed New Fire and Rescue Building
Neil D. Courtney
In conducting a cursory review of the layout of the proposed public safety facility for the town of Sebago, I offer the following.
According to the drawings provided, the projected single story building contains slightly less than 10,000 square feet of interior space. The facility is proposed to be located on a 80,000 square-foot parcel of land and accessed by a 60-foot wide right-of-way.
Congregate all fire apparatus and Emergency Medical Service (EMS) vehicles in one, cohesive section of the building
The current floor plan has the facility divided into two distinctly separate areas relative to vehicle placement: one for parking fire apparatus, the other for EMS vehicles. The fire apparatus is scheduled to be located in a four-bay section of the building that measures 94’ across the front with two of the bays measuring approximately 58’ deep and two at 74’. The four fire apparatus bay doors are all 14’ wide and 14’ tall. The EMS vehicle sector is provided a two-bay area that measures 44’ across the front with the depth at approximately 33’. The overhead doors are 12’ wide and 10’ tall.
The four bays designated exclusively for fire apparatus could include the EMS vehicles in a revised layout of the floor plan. In order to accommodate all rolling stock in one deliberate area, the mechanical room/bathroom/office/storage area located along the rear wall of the fire apparatus bays (behind Engine #4 and Tanker #2) could be relocated to that area currently designed as the two–bay EMS vehicle area. This would effectively give all the fire apparatus bays approximately 74 feet of depth. (Note: Current fire service literature suggests the floor space needs for a typical fire department pumper should be 40’ in length.) Were the apparatus bays increased to 80’ in length this would in effect create sufficient space for two pumpers to park one behind the other.
Currently, the two fire bays (Engine #4 and Tanker #2) are restricted to 58’ feet due to the construction features at the rear of these two bays. This probably disallows for any vehicle placement to the rear of the Engine #4 and Tanker # 2 positions. The EMS vehicles would be located in one of the four forward–facing apparatus bays.
Moving the block of rooms from the rear of fire bays (40’ by 16’ = 640 square feet) to the EMS vehicle bays (44’ by 30’ = 1,320 square feet) would create excess space that could be incorporated into the training room, bunkroom, office(s) or other workspace(s) that could utilize the 680 square feet. On the other hand, this additional space could be allocated to the fire and EMS vehicle bays to ensure sufficient room for “all” rolling stock in which to be housed.
If the intent of the currently proposed floor plan is to lend a semblance of separation between the fire department and the ambulance service, then positioning the fire department section and the EMS section on either side of the training room could meet that objective. This realignment could better define the three components of the building’s layout: the business component, the dormitory component and the vehicle storage component.
There may be construction cost savings found by “grouping” the business, the dormitory and the vehicle storage components together instead of distributing those functional areas throughout the facility as currently depicted. For example, the vehicle exhaust extraction system would be placed in one apparatus bay area instead of two separate ones. There would be less floor drains to contend with, as there would only be one area where vehicles would be washed or snow, ice and rainwater would collect and be removed through a singular network drainage pipes connected to one grease separator. Two overhead doors would be eliminated. This could reduce heat loss and maintenance cost over the longevity of the building.
The elimination of the EMS vehicle storage area from the rear side of the building and by locating the ambulance(s) within the fire apparatus bay would have all emergency vehicles exiting from one distinct and very visible section of the building.
Another concern with the configuration of the proposed EMS bays is the route of travel in correlation with the parking area. Departing ambulance(s) are routed directly into the path of vehicular traffic approaching the parking area at a right angle. The parking lot is located beyond the bay doors requiring all automobiles to pass directly in front of the doors. This configuration presents a safety issue.
Access and Visibility
An independent driveway leading from the fire/rescue station to the main road exclusively utilized for responding emergency vehicles should be considered. Responding fire apparatus and ambulances should not have to compete with other vehicles by sharing a road leading from the station to the arterial street. As drawn in the site plan, this situation could be exacerbated in the future should the right-of-way be utilized by other enterprises to gain access to additional parcels of land that may be developed at a later date.
The location of a new fire station should allow for “high visibility” for emergency vehicles to egress safely and unimpeded from the fire and EMS facility and onto the public roadway. The curb cut where the emergency vehicles enter the roadway should afford sufficient line-of-sight distances that oncoming traffic and the apparatus operator can clearly see one another and allow for driver reaction time.
The public safety facility should be equipped with a fully automatic fire sprinkler system
Although it is not clear whether or not the building will include a sprinkler system, a new public safety building should be designed and constructed with an automatic fire sprinkler system as an example to the community that the fire department’s premise is “life safety and property conservation.” The investment the town of Sebago has made in procuring its fleet of apparatus, the construction of a new facility and the level of safety provided its first responders should unequivocally include a fire sprinkler system.
Questions to Consider
Does Emergency Management need to be considered in the layout of the proposed facility? Does the town have an emergency shelter?
Will the kitchen have a stove? Will it require a ventilation hood system?
Will the building be used for anything else beside fire and EMS functions? Are there other civic and social activities in town that should be considered regarding the design of the building?
Allocating 15 square feet per person, it appears the training room can accommodate about 25 people maximum. Will this room be of sufficient size?
Where will decontamination procedures be conducted for EMS?
Standards to Follow
Ensure the facility features include relevant aspects of the following Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards and recommended practices:
· NFPA 1201: Standard for Providing Fire and Emergency Services to the Public
· NFPA 1500: Standard on Fire Department Occupational Safety and Health Program
· NFPA 1581: Standard on Fire Department Infection Control Program
· NFPA 101: Life Safety Code
· OSHA 1910: Relevant regulations and standards