Topics and Speakers for 2014:


What NOT To Do! by Captain Don Collins, Clemson University Fire Department

Captain Collins will open the symposium with a stunning collection of fire station related photos to illustrate common and not so common mistakes and oversights found in fire stations across North America. The examples provided by Captain Collins will help prepare the viewer for the rest of the symposium’s presentations. More importantly, it will underscore the importance of a fire department doing its homework before making a capital investment that must be lived with for decades.

From Dalmatians to Decontamination – 40 Years of Station Evolution by Ken Newell, Stewart-Cooper-Newell Architects

In this introduction to what you need and should expect in station design and construction, Ken will discuss the evolution of Fire Station design over the last four decades. The presentation will explore how much of the evolution in station design is the result of positive changes in fire industry equipment and practices. Ken will also discuss how the fire station has evolved into a very specialized facility - not just a garage in which to keep big trucks. Each attendee will leave with a great grasp of where their project should go from here.

  • Trends in Station Design
  • Elements of a Modern Fire Station
  • Regulatory Changes
  • Equipment and Technology Impacts to the Station
  • What You Should Expect from Your Design Professional

How to build the best Fire Station in the World! by Battalion Chief David Hartman, Charlottesville Fire Department

David will walk you through his department’s 10-year journey of how they built the best fire station in the world for their community! This journey starts with opening remarks by Fire Chief Charles Werner and then David will provide you with a candid presentation on how you can build the best fire station in the world for your community. Items to be covered include:

  • Relationships: Their relevance and importance!
  • Budgeting in today’s challenging and difficult construction environment!
  • How to seek your Firefighters input and have them engaged!
  • Small Fire Departments can build phenomenal fire stations by following a specific process!
  • Building an intelligent fire station!
  • It won’t be perfect, but you sure can get close!
  • Don’t build for tomorrow; build for 5 to 10 years from today!

My Fire Station is Sick? What do I do Now? by Cindy Ell, Firefighter Cancer Foundation

We continue to identify the health dangers presented to fire, rescue, and emergency medical personnel on a working incident, but do we know what to do when the fire station is the cause for responder illness? This presentation will explore "Sick Building Syndrome" and offer information on the diagnosis, remedy, and prevention of experiencing a harmful workplace. There is also increasing evidence to show the correlation between once thought benign illnesses and the transition to an occupational disease diagnosis. Timely information on this topic will be included.

Turnout Time and Station Design by Dr. Julie Lawless, Western Illinois University

The fire station is a unique environment. It must serve the dual functions of a durable and functional work space, as well as, a comfortable living environment. It is both a public facility that invites the public into its spaces, as well as, a space of calm that provides a place for fire fighters to relax between calls. It must provide spaces for social interaction, quiet living, yet direct and purposeful pathways for rapid response in the time of emergencies. There is a distinct gap in research regarding the livability of these spaces in regards to the dual functions of these environments and the impacts on the socio-physical well-being of fire crews. This research presents initial findings from a 2011 pilot-study and the use of qualitative research methods to investigate the connections between station design and crew response, in regards to the functionality and livability of the station environment. Specific highlights include an examination between the traditional, multi-story station and newer single-story design types.

Training by Design Update by Chris Pfeiffer, CR Architecture + Design

Chris will present an update on Training By Design©--a concept that has been promoted and implemented in CR’s fire station designs for more than decade. You will gain an appreciation for the ease with which simple in-house training features can be implemented in the design of your station—most of which are low-cost solutions with long-term cost savings potential for your training budget. The presentation will include case studies of recent projects that have fully embraced this concept in the design of stations that truly function as training fire stations.

Fire Station Floor Finish Basics by Joseph M. Mottola, VP, H2M Architects & Engineers

Several topics will be discussed that delve into the decision making process and selection of the appropriate types of floor finishes in fire station design and construction. Finish selections are based on many factors including firefighter safety, cost/budget, durability of finishes and aesthetics. The goal of the presentation is to help the end user identify their needs and preferences. Properly selected fire station floor finishes are an investment in the fire station and in the safety of the emergency personnel.

Safety Considerations in the Fire Station by Kevin Roche, Phoenix Fire Department

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. In fact, many departments experience as many injuries in the station as they do on emergency incidents. 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) and, in turn, reduce workers’ compensation costs.

Quality Never Costs as Much as the Money it Saves by Dennis Ross, Pacheco Ross Architects

This presentation has elements for both new and existing stations.  How can the Chief, the municipality or the owner maximize its stash of funds for a new or renovated facility? Thorough facility planning in this age of tight budgets is paramount. Learn about cost-effective means for feasibility studies, programming, design and planning for the future, and construction methods. Hiring a qualified Architect pays big dividends when trying to stretch your dollar. New, renovate, repurposing, or project phasing may provide the answers. Learn how proper design and planning will make it real.

Sensory Stations by Lynn Reda, Hughes Group Architects

This presentation will address the relationship between the firefighters and their building, giving you a better understanding of how the design of the building and its systems affects and enhances the experience and your ability to manage the experience. Included is the evolution of sustainability, changes in technology, and building automation.

Physical Security for Fire Stations—Basic Security Technology and Implementation by Brad Silvernail, Carolina Video Security, Inc.

Overall fire station security has emerged as a hot topic in recent years. In this presentation, the fundamentals of physical security as they apply to a fire station will be reviewed. Key items that will be covered include:

  • Fundamentals of Physical Security
  • Unique Requirements of a Fire Station
  • Basics of Access Control Systems and Technology
  • Basics of Video Surveillance Systems and Technology
  • Physical Security for an Example Fire Station

How to Create an Energy Efficient Fire Station by Bob Mitchell, Mitchell Associates Architects

This presentation is applicable to new stations as well as existing stations. If you could lower your energy costs, think of the ways you could better use your limited funding. This presentation will provide you with the fundamentals of energy conservation and alternative energy applications. You will learn what energy savings measures are the most cost effective. Items covered include: insulation, windows, air filtration, furnaces & boilers, heat recovery, ground source heat pumps, day-lighting, HVAC controls, impact of occupancy patterns, climate variances, and an explanation of energy modeling. Cost factors (initial, operating, maintenance, life cycle) will be explained as well as a sample analysis of a building.

Station Maintenance and Furnishings: What Can We Do Better? by Jim Zwerg, Phoenix Fire Department and Captain Brad Kobielusz, Poudre Fire Authority

Operating and maintaining a Fire Station can be an expensive proposition. The ongoing maintenance of the hard materials, both inside and out, can be can be expensive and time consuming. What are some tips and factors we can consider to control these ever spiraling costs? On top of that, consider the interior finishes and furnishings. Learn how to reduce these long-term costs. There will also be an emphasis on pest and infection control. Remember--cheaper up-front costs do not equal longevity. Station designs should reflect the department’s needs, not the architect’s needs. This is a hot topic that will address good practices in finishes and furnishings to keep your facilities well maintained, clean, and safe as possible.

Fire Station Space Design Considerations by Chris Pfeiffer, CR Architecture + Design

Mark will present an overview of common design considerations and an in-depth discussion of specific design considerations of the spaces that comprise a typical fire station. These will include recommendations for proper sizing of spaces, furniture and equipment considerations and appropriate finishes. You will learn basic programming guidelines that will help guide you as you begin your next project.

More than Just a Fire Station: by Fire Fighter Steve Mita, Worchester Fire Department

 This presentation will explore the potential fire stations have beyond the fire service. It will examine the role they can serve in revitalization and neighborhood stabilization as well as the indirect potential to spur economic development. Discussions will include: designing a fire station in blighted areas; how to make a building secure while not becoming a fortress; the role firefighters in occupied fire stations have on public safety (crime prevention and community building); understanding fire stations as “iconic” structures; how fire stations can become the face of a community; and, how they relate with the local media.

F.I.E.R.O. Design Awards by Captain Blake Redden, Charlotte Fire Department and other jurors

The announcing of the F.I.E.R.O. Station Design Awards is an educational experience. Captain Redden and jurors will announce the winners and explain the features that make the entries award winning. In addition to all of the entries being on display throughout the symposium, this presentation will have the winners on a PowerPoint presentation to that features can be highlighted to the audience. The entries are judged by individuals with fire service backgrounds as well as degrees in architecture.

Keys to effectively zoning fire stations by Tom Lee, Samaha Associates

A properly designed station requires lots of zoned uses with adequate separations such as:

  • Public/Private
  • Vehicular/Pedestrian
  • Day-lit/Electrically lit
  • Heated & Cooled/Heated Only (climate dependent)
  • Contaminated/Clean
  • ADA Accessible/Non-Accessible
  • Quiet/Loud
  • Business/Living/Apparatus/Assembly

This presentation will address numerous incompatible issues in fire station such as:

  • Daylighting causing premature PPE deterioration
  • Locating laundry off the apparatus bay and sorting clothing in a contaminated zone
  • Bunk rooms adjacent to exercise rooms without adequate sound isolation

Other issues that will be addressed include the types of separations (visual, room barriers, entrance mats, walls, fire walls, etc.).

Good Design Practices and Standards for Apparatus Rooms in Fire Stations by Joseph M. Mottola, VP, H2M Architects & Engineers

Several topics will be discussed that delve into the decision making process as it pertains to the proper design and layout of apparatus rooms in fire stations. Topics to be discussed are focused around firefighter safety and include door sizing, bay sizing, critical clearances, proper flow, space adjacencies, storage areas, space access, surface finishes, lighting, training and more. The goal of the presentation is to help the end user identify the critical components when designing apparatus rooms. Properly designed apparatus rooms are an investment in the fire station and in the safety of emergency personnel.

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.