03/20/09 166 W, 4 I - + 12 - 13 Last Night's Wake County Fire Commission Meeting / Garner Joint Fire & EMS Station

Handouts from last night's Wake County Fire Commission Meeting are available for viewing, along with the earlier uploaded agenda. Among the agenda items was a Facilities Committee update that included a presentation about the Garner Fire & EMS joint substation. The three-bay facility to be built on Spaceway Court will sleep 12 firefighters and five EMS members. The building has separate fire and EMS rooms-- including dual day rooms-- along with shared space, such as a shared kitchen and shared exercise area. Outside the kitchen is a covered patio. The pre-engineered structure is planned with a masonry exterior. The site plan includes room for expansion, if a fourth bay or living space addition is needed. The concrete pad includes parking for visiting apparatus. The project schedule includes: bid opening (Sept. 24, 2009),  construction start (Oct. 26, 2009), construction complete (Oct. 2010), and grand opening (Nov. 2010). View the handouts from the meeting or click to enlarge these smaller views:

Nice looking facility, I however think it’s a waste to have a second dayroom for EMS personnel, what’s wrong with both fire and ems using one dayroom. All this leads to more sq. footage increased $$$$ to the taxpayers, and not to mention doesn’t help in unity and brotherhood. I think all aspects of gov’t need to sit back and take a hard look at what wasteful spending is being done from apparatus to facilities. What was wrong with the old days and 2 and 3 story facilities, apparatus bays, offices and bathroom downstairs. And living quarters upstairs (kitchen, dayroom, shower/bathroom/locker room and dorms upstairs). It’s cheaper to go up than build out (less land and concrete). It’s time to trim back on the Taj Mahal’s…
[jdkay2839] (Email) - 03/21/09 - 11:38

insurance costs would be through the roof for 2/3 story facilities – pole injury risk too high, and this is the reason it’s cheaper to build out than up
see: http://cms.firehouse.com/web/online/News..
cornerhydrant - 03/21/09 - 14:02

For what it’s worth… here’s a general description of methodology and what has been experienced so far at Stony Hill Station #1. It has been in operation for 5 years as a “county built/owned” headquarters station, with the collocation and blended occupation of EMS and Fire. It has worked out very well thus far and I believe is a tribute to the personnel at SHFD and Wake EMS. Although rare, issues do occur, but they are typically minor and are mediated/resolved quickly. The use of a separate day room is a good thing as sometimes the folks need to be separate.

Supply costs are shared proportional to the % of square footage used by each discipline in the station. Wake County GS maintains the structural aspect of the building. The building is primarily of masonry construction (to last) and the intent is for at least 50 years service. Each discipline maintains there own parts of the structure, but we all cooperate to keep it clean. EMS 12 is housed there and EMS 33 is stored there when off line as a “day truck.” Due to move ups, EMS 12 is frequently in WF at EMS Station #10, so those guys are frequently busy.

I have found that the current approach of a county owned facility has no significant impact on the services delivered by Stony Hill FD and the collocation of us with EMS has served to actually improve our organization. County ownership of a large, functional facility is a good decision, especially in rural areas that will remain predominately “rural” for some time. The traditional “ownership issues” that seem to plaque all volunteer FD’s have to be dismissed for this style of operation to succeed. So far, Stony Hill has succeeded and matured into an organization that is more adaptive to change.

Will Wake County take it over?... well, they are responsible for emergency services in the county; so it is their prerogative. We do not waste time worrying about that issue. Also, the cost benefits of a non-profit providing the services is still great when compared to the government providing it all.

Remember, the merits of an organization are its people, their character, and what they do – not where they “live” and if they own it.

Stay Safe and WEAR YOUR SEAT BELTS !!!
A.Rich - 03/22/09 - 10:16

Any word yet if part-time firefighter positions will be affected by the budget cuts??
P/T FF - 03/23/09 - 20:07

The one improvement that I hope gets used here that wasn’t at Stony Hill and isn’t in a lot of depts around this area is the use of commerical kitchen products. As much as we use our kitchen for cooking and fellowship, it would be nice to have commerical stove tops/oven and commerical fridges.
Mike - 03/30/10 - 11:35

If you do, be sure to put in commercial sinks too!! It’s a major pain washing commercial pots and pans in a regular sink.
Silver - 03/30/10 - 12:46

jdkay, in response to the question “what’s wrong with both fire and ems using one dayroom”, from my few years of experiance where EMS and Fire co-exist, Some EMS employees will tend to watch tv and lounge around all day while firefighters are out pre planning or doing things in the bay and when John Q Pubic comes to the fire station and sees folks laying around or sleeping at 10 in the morning or 3 in the afternoon, that sometimes leads to the wrong impression. I know at my station the day room for firefighters normally gets used after dinner where as EMS’s day room/bunk room is used all day and is also hidden from normal view. Im not speaking about ALL EMS folks, we have some that rotate in every 3 or 4 months who actually are helping out with things around the station and like socializing with us. Then there are those months where we get the ones that you would have to rescue from the their room if the building ever caught fire. I aint sayin, im just sayin! Stay safe guys!
CTK - 03/31/10 - 14:56

CTK, I am sorry that your experience with co-located EMS providers has been less-than-stellar. Question: Have you approached the individuals you find problematic? My experience has been that most folks, if made aware of a problem, will try to remedy and actually appreciate the attempt at resolution.

Remember that most EMS providers have a comparatively high UHU. (I say this as one who did both fire and EMS for 20 years. I always let my EMS crew/s go to bed earlier than the engine/truck/rescues and no one ever griped. When a FF/EMT had to do their tour on the ambulance they got the same bennie and it was appreciated!)

From a safety and risk management standpoint, I don’t want a tired provider treating folks. That opportunity exists with the ever-increasing call load, frequent move ups, and the majority of folks still on 24 hour shifts. There is a lot of evidence to support “safety naps”. These are best when done out of sight of the public, of course.

EMS strives to maintain the outstanding working relationship with fire and LE. If there’s a problem with one or two people please address it with them. If that doesn’t work use the chain of command. Feel free to email me if you wish to discuss offline. Be safe…EGH.
J.D. McLean (Email) - 04/01/10 - 00:08

JD we normally handle this if its happening. we approach the individual and try to let them see where we are coming from. Some just dont care, then we approach the DC, then by that time the individuals will start to see that they have really worn out their welcome and most of the time make sure that they put down a different station for the next rotation. Like i said before, there is only a few who are like that in the entire EMS system. I agree 100% about a safety nap and think it should be in place at each level of the public safety system for those who work 24’s. But when u work in a smaller town where the mayor or town manager or any one can just be in the neighborhood and drop in, most of the time they dont know who is sleeping on the recliner in the middle of the day room and it automatically poses the question…if they are sleeping all day, what are my tax dollars doing?

Normal citizens dont think the way we all do. they could care less how many calls we have ran or how long we were on the “big one”. You cant really explain this to folks. Sleeping or laying around in the station where the public can see u is just not kosher, atleast where im from.

Granted, EMS is more than likely to be running “BS” calls in the middle of the night and then have a long transport time to Wake, then get hit for another call on the way back, they most of the time deserve a nap. Having a secluded EMS day room/ bunk room seperate from the fire fighters is the way to go i think. Now, in the evening or on weekends i think its fine if work is done and everyone wants to sit down and watch the game or the race or whatever together in the same room. Some folks dont really take pride in areas where us small town boys have grew up. In a town or city where you do everything you can to keep the “image” at it best can really be brought down by someone just wanting a pay check and counting down hours till the next shift arrives.

Didnt mean to get on a soap box, but it feels good to express views and opinions with other people who are civil.
CTK - 04/01/10 - 16:33

The EMS Day Room cited above is also the space programmed for the completion of patient records and other items that due to Federal regulations are not be completed or stored in open, public areas of the station. And you don’t go up anymore for several reasons: 1) safety – if you go up, you have to come down. Poles are a safety risk and steps tend to slow response to the truck and can be dangerous with multiple folks trying to navigate down at the same time. We have too many facilities today that the biggest hindrance to reflex times is the distance and route to the truck. In addition, these are public facilites and are required to be in compliance with Federal ADA regulations, which would require an elevator. The initial price of a commercial elevator and the on-going cost of ownership (maintenance and repair) would be great given a 30 year (or more) life expectancy of a station.

Rest assured that extensive work has gone into the programming of every square foot of this station to ensure that that the operational needs of both Fire and EMS are accomplished while maintaining the respect of every tax dollar that is funding it’s construction.

With the call volume, both response and cover assignments, that we are experiencing in Wake County, the need for “safety naps” is clear. At some facilities, these can be accomplished far from the eyes of the general public (not that we are hiding anything, it’s just that first impressions are often lasting impressions), while at others, space limitations just don’t allow that to happen. We make the best of and maximize every situation, while not abusing that situation.
Olson - 04/01/10 - 20:27

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