Topics and Speakers for 2015:


Where Do I Start? by Ken Newell, Stewart-Cooper-Newell Architects

A station project is a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to overwhelm you. Whether your project is a new station or a renovation to your existing facility, Ken Newell will draw from his 26 years of designing fire stations to give an overview of the process you will face, along with the essential pre-planning that must be performed to deliver a successful project. Items to be discussed will include:

  • Land Needs
  • Designer Selection and their Responsibilities
  • Finances
  • Determining Space Needs
  • The Five Phases of the Project
  • And other station design issues and ideas

Where is the Best Location for a Fire Station?--Community Fire Protection and EMS Master Planning by Phil Kouwe, Emergency Services Consulting International

Many emergency agencies and community planners have never had the specific training or experience to conduct effective fire and emergency medical services master planning. This presentation will introduce and discuss time-proven techniques for emergency services master planning and analyzing standards of response coverage:

  • Evaluating current service demands, current service delivery methods and infrastructure
  • Understanding the community’s performance, both now and in the future
  • The importance of your community's existing comprehensive planning documents and understanding the community's future land use and transportation infrastructure plans
  • Projecting future service demand based on future land uses
  • Studying and projecting community risk
  • Developing a long-term deployment strategy designed to deliver the desired performance across the projected demand and risk
  • Fiscal analysis of projected financial requirements

This presentation includes a strong emphasis on the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and provides plenty of visual examples and useful techniques.

Fire House Design 101 by Paul Erickson, LeMay Erickson Willcox Architects

Since ancient times, wise men have known one thing about construction: a well-built structure must always be set on a solid foundation. Paul will use his 40+ years of experience in designing over 75 stations to highlight how fire stations are unique and provide practical common sense explanations for the essential concepts of successful fire station design. These concepts include: response criteria for vehicles and personnel; site design issues, how to organize the different uses within the building; the overarching importance of circulation; shared group spaces vs. private spaces, the impact of multiple shifts, options for bunking, public areas of the building, ADA and code mandated accessibility, site and building security, mechanical systems and building zoning. Attendees will leave with the confidence and ability to see and talk about their renovation or new building project in completely new ways.

Gaining and Maintaining Community Support by Dennis Ross, Pacheco Ross Architects

An uninformed public can cost you money, time, political capital, momentum and ultimately your project. What you believe you know can be just as detrimental as what you don’t know. This fast-paced, no-holds-barred presentation will educate, offer new perspectives, challenge assumptions, and present actionable concrete solutions to pinpoint opportunities, understand your public’s point of view, get local politicos and shakers/movers on board, get your membership behind you and how to reach each group to gain their support. Once you’ve done all this, how will you maintain their trust and support and how will you interact with them during and after the project is complete? You will learn:

  • To challenge assumptions and methodologies in the station construction environment
  • Unintentional repercussions of decisions • Solutions for intelligently discussing project scope, organization, and goals with others
  • How to structure a project for success at inception: from building committee and procurement to expectations, persuasion and outreach
  • Discover how to reach your public, inform politicians, get movers and shakers on board and gain support and help from your own membership
  • Proven methods, using traditional media and social media, to get your message across
  • Lessons for continued success and public interaction during design, construction and after your project is complete

Floors, Doors, Furnishings, and Bunk Rooms by Captain Brad Kobielusz, Poudre Fire Authority and Jim Zwerg, Staff Architect, Phoenix Fire Department

This presentation is offered due to demand from previous F.I.E.R.O. Fire Station Symposiums. The title says it all! Brad and Jim will share their wealth of experience and expertise with fire stations as they cover:

  • The best floor finishes to use
  • Overhead doors versus bi-fold doors for apparatus bays
  • The best furnishings throughout the station for comfort, ease of maintenance and durability
  • Pros and cons of open dorms vs. cubicles vs. individual bedrooms

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

Participants will learn how to forecast their future building and site needs. They will learn how to determine if the existing building and site can be modified to meet the needs, and whether it is better to renovate it, knock it down and rebuild, or move to a new site. The following objectives will be addressed:

  • Learning the basics of user needs analysis (the building program)
  • Evaluate the conditions of the existing station and site
  • Are the current station and site adaptable to the determined needs?
  • Additional requirements for the construction documents compared with new construction
  • The trade-off between operating out of the building under renovation versus vacating to temporary quarters
  • Some of the difficulties that will be faced during renovation, and strategies to deal with them:
    • Phasing
    • Disruptions to operations
    • Hazards presented by blending construction and operations
    • Surprises (underground, in the walls, etc.)
    • Delays in the construction
  • Seeing what is possible, and the resulting benefits

Remember, almost all fire stations will eventually undergo some degree of renovation.

Kitchens by Joe Mottola, H2M Architects

What’s cookin’? Fire fighters are known for being great cooks and having special recipes. In addition to a place to cook and eat, the fire house kitchen is also the center for conversation and the setting for the all-important group comradery. In this presentation, you will learn about the best layout for a kitchen, the best type appliances, the best cabinet materials, the best countertop materials, and many other kitchen needs. The kitchen is also a venue for post-incident critiques, training sessions, and entertainment. Learn how to design and equip your kitchen for ease of cleaning and durability as well as a setting for all the other activities.

PPE Considerations in the Fire Station by Kirk Owen, Southwest Regional Sales Manager Veridian Fire Protective Gear, Assistant Chief Plano Fire Department (retired)

Currently, there is considerable focus on fire fighter exposure to carcinogens, especially as it relates to PPE. Failure to properly store and maintain PPE can be very expensive for a fire department. It will damage PPE and can compromise its protective properties--putting firefighters at risk—both from a safety and a health perspective. This presentation will outline ways to design a station for proper storage of PPE to prevent ultraviolet light damage and maximize ventilation. The presentation will include information about installing washer/extractors and drying equipment. Attendees will gain an appreciation of the importance of how station design integrates with the overall care of PPE.

Hot Zone Design: Contain the Contaminants by Paul Erickson, LeMay Erickson Willcox Architects

Paul will introduce revolutionary thinking in the design of today’s fire stations to improve the overall health of emergency responders. Fire fighters and EMS personnel are regularly exposed to health risks that place them in the highest risk groups of medical and health insurance programs nationwide. Discover how exposure to toxic and carcinogen contaminated materials in the field are transported with the emergency responders back to the station, and even conveyed to family back in our private residences. Learn essential concepts in containing contaminants within the station. Paul is a pioneer the concept of HOT ZONE Design.

Safety Considerations in the Fire Station by Kevin Roche, Phoenix Fire Department, (retired) & FACETS Consulting

This presentation is applicable to new stations as well as existing stations. To the surprise of many, firefighter injuries in the station occur at a very alarming rate. For most departments, these injuries are more frequent than realized and are easily preventable. This presentation will provide simple, but often overlooked, ways to make stations safer for firefighters and the public. Implementing these considerations will result in fewer station injuries (and fatalities), less lost time and, in turn, reduce workers’ compensation costs.

What Works, What Doesn’t by Captain Don Collins, Fire Station Consultant; Professor Emeritus, Clemson University; Captain, Clemson University FD

NO ONE has more photos of fire stations than Don Collins. NO ONE has spent more nights in fire stations across North America than Don Collins. Yes, fire stations are his passion. In this presentation, Don will illustrate the almost infinite number of things that do not work and he will offer solutions to those problems. After this presentation, you will say “Wow, I would have never thought of that!”

Fire Station Physical Examinations—(well sort of) by the F.I.E.R.O. Fire Station Awards Jurors (Don Collins, Jeff Harkey, Brad Kobielusz, Steve Mita, Blake Redden and Jim Zwerg)

This is an expanded version of last year’s critique of the F.I.E.R.O. Design Award entries. These experienced experts, with fire service backgrounds, will illustrate the strong and not-so-strong features of fire stations, i.e., they will give several of the entries the equivalent of a “physical exam”. Even architects with a strong history of designing fire stations pay close attention to this session. The 2015 Design Award winners will also be named at this time.

Storage, Storage and Storage by Joe Mottola, H2M Architects

There is the old adage that you can’t have enough storage. That is especially true of fire stations. How many stations have you visited and noticed all kinds of “stuff” lying around? It has been said that we know how to organize a chaotic incident scene better than we can organize the “stuff” in our fire station. Inadequate storage causes problems with housekeeping and station maintenance. In this presentation, you will learn how to anticipate your storage needs and plan for them on the front end. In addition, you will learn how to maximize your existing space to increase storage. Remember, not everything belongs in the apparatus bay.

How to Plan the Station We Need Within Budget by Ken Newell, Stewart-Cooper-Newell Architects

What happened to those low, recession construction prices? Whether the Great Recession is over or not may be debatable, but the fact that building costs are higher than ever is not! More now than ever, limited budgets are the single largest controlling factor in what you will be able to build. This session will explore the methods and options successfully utilized by many fire departments to plan and build a functional, durable, low-maintenance facility without “busting the budget”.

Several cost saving subjects will be discussed including:

  • Construction Cost Trends: The Highs, Lows, and Highs Again
  • Controlling Site Costs
  • Single-Story versus Multi-Story
  • Construction Types and Their Costs
  • Selecting the Appropriate Materials
  • Ways to Reduce Your Footprint…and Budget

Critical Success Factors for Selecting a Fire Station Alerting System by Rick Foster, Purvis Systems

There are plenty of reasons why you may be contemplating a change in your Fire Station Alerting System (FSAS). Your existing fire station alerting system may be nearing the end of its useful life. Perhaps you are struggling with system reliability, speed, or integration issues with your current system. You might be looking to add more sophisticated features to your present voice or tones-only system. Or, you could be faced with regional consolidation, or even building or renovating a fire station. Whatever the reason for considering a Fire Station Alerting System (FSAS), you want to make sure your system is highly effective at incident notification, efficient to operate, and suited to your particular environment. To that end, this presentation highlights the critical success factors that can be used to guide your selection of a Fire Station Alerting System. It can direct you on delivering the most value to your fire department, ensuring you consider the right options, while staying in tune with the needs and nuances of today’s dynamic, fire and rescue personnel.

A Case Study of Rochester Fire Station #2 by Curt Pronk, Rochester Fire Department and Craig Carter, BKV Group

Located in northeast Rochester, Minnesota, Fire Station #2 was just recently place in service and was a successful project by all accounts. Getting to that endpoint, however, proved very complicated. For example, they had less than 24 hours to convince Police and Emergency Management to participate and propose a scope and budget. Complications included:

  • An atypical A/E and GC selection process mandated by City Council
  • Some political posturing over land acquisition
  • Challenges associated with coordinating three City Departments in one building
  • A site with no utilities but lots of rock and steep topography
  • A rush by other departments to piggyback scope onto the deal
  • An enthusiastic fire fighter’s advisory board

Post FIERO Fire Station Symposium Experiences and Insights Gained by Captain Robert Main, Honolulu Fire Department (retired) and Main Street Services

Captain Main will share a number of fire station experiences since being at his first F.I.E.R.O. Fire Station Symposium in 2008. Among the experiences he will share are:

  • Developing a modular program for station design based on operations that is gender neutral
  • Writing a 100-year planning program for facility installation, replacement and renovation
  • “Going through hell” with a low bidder who had no business building a fire station
  • Having great success with a design build team
  • Experience with assisting the City & County of Honolulu in an eminent domain case in purchasing a fire station site.

Pulling it all Together After you Leave the 2015 F.I.E.R.O. Fire Station Symposium 2015 By Battalion Chief David Hartman, Charlottesville Fire Department (retired) and Hartman Fire Station Consultants

You have all these great ideas, you’ve been educated to the point it’s impossible to think it can get done, and now it’s your chance to pull it all together. You’ve done your research, visited everyone under the sun, now what! Dave will walk you through the process and break it down into key components. He will share with you how Charlottesville went through a 7 year process from concept to occupancy. You can do it! Items to be covered include:

  • Current Physical Assessment: Pictures are a powerful tool!
  • Future Needs Assessment: Do you know what you need?
  • Firefighter Input: What do they think, ideas from the troops?
  • Budget: There’s never enough money!
  • A/E Firm selection: Spend time on this one!
  • Program Development: Where you start may not be where you end up!
  • Schematics and Design: Your first chance to see your ideas!
  • Construction Documents: Where you can make all the mistakes!
  • Construction: If you are onsite you can catch lots of mistakes!

Controlling Construction Costs While Building Wisely by Ken Newell, Stewart-Cooper-Newell Architects

Ken Newell, AIA, LEED AP, will discuss several ways that a Fire Department can maintain control of the cost of constructing a new station. Over the last twenty years, Ken has been directly involved in the design of over 185 Fire, EMS and other Public Safety projects, and will share the best-practices and lessons he has learned from designing stations expected to last 50-75 years.

  • Simplifying the Station Design
  • Construction Types
  • Material Selections
  • Site Selection
  • Single Story vs. Multi Story

What TO Do! by Captain Don Collins, Clemson University Fire Department

As a counterpoint to Captain Collins’ opening presentation on "What NOT to do", he will conclude the symposium with more stunning photos of the things TO do. This will be a capstone presentation about having fire stations that are the pride of the fire department AND the community. The presentation will show examples to illustrate the importance critical thinking and informed design can have in building a fire facility that enhances the community and reinforces the value of the fire service to the public.

Introduction to Storm Shelters and Safe Rooms by Paul Maulden and Dave Harman, GreatRoom Shelters

Every year fire stations and emergency services buildings are destroyed or severely damaged by high winds. This can be from tornados, hurricanes, downbursts, thunderstorms, typhoons, or gust fronts. This presentation will introduce the latest in the requirements and standards for the design of storm shelters and safe rooms. Attendees will recognize a new found need for this protection. Learn how this protection can be integrated into a fire station or other emergency services facilities. In addition, this will be an opportunity for the fire service to provide input to the designers of storm shelters so the designers understand fire service needs.