We are thrilled to have served as Fire Station Specialty Architects on the fantastic team who brought this project from concept to reality for Salt Lake City. When designing fire facilities, we always want to keep in mind how a new civic facility will contribute to its community, in terms of emergency response, resiliency and sustainability. Seeing the first Zero Net Energy Fire Station in the country operating as anticipated is a huge accomplishment for the team and the industry as a whole. As the article below explains, operating at Zero Net Energy means "it will produce as much energy as it consumes on an annual basis. It's also expected to become certified as LEED Gold, which means it meets a range of holistic sustainability benchmarks, including material management, waste diversion, water conservation, energy efficiency, renewable energy, and more." This not only raises the standard for future designs it also opens the door to the possibilities of even greater advancements as we continue to design forward thinking stations.
This blog post will kick off a new series highlighting some of our favorite project elements from different projects and spaces. One thing we love as architects is the uniqueness of each site, and the opportunities and challenges they present. We play to the strengths of the site location and consistently design a unique home that caters to our clients' lifestyle.Read More
Ask An Architect
AIA is hosting an upcoming "Navigating Your Building Project" on April 14th, from 9:00am - 11:00am at the Center for Architecture & Design in Seattle. The venue is located at 1010 Western Ave, Seattle, WA 98104.
Stephen Rising of TCA Architecture will be there to share his expertise on navigating a residential project. If you've been gearing up for a large remodel or a new home design & build, this is an excellent opportunity to come with questions and learn more from industry experts about how to approach your project.Read More
"Throughout the first 5 parts of this series, we have considered the risks of exposure to diesel exhaust, management of personnel exposures, the spread of diesel exhaust through the fire station, and strategies for mitigation.
In Part 6, we will consider air testing, appropriately documented, which is ultimately how we verify employee safety when there is an airborne hazard.
Although diesel exhaust has an odor and may be irritating to some people at higher exposure levels, your sense of smell is not an accurate method for determining the concentration of diesel exhaust components to which personnel may be exposed. Yes, you may be able to say that there is some diesel exhaust in the area, but you cannot say with any reliability that it is present at either a safe or a hazardous level.
In truth, it is challenging to answer this question even with air testing. One of the reasons for this was discussed in Part 1 of this series. Diesel exhaust is not a simple workplace air contaminant but is a complex composition of dozens of compounds including both gases and particles.
Often people do not realize that there is no test method, Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL), or other reference exposure level for diesel exhaust as a whole. (Unfortunately, we don’t yet have a Star Trek tricorder that will tell us how much diesel exhaust we have and whether it is dangerous to life or health!) We must consider the individual components.
On its Chemical Sampling Information page for Diesel Exhaust, OSHA states that it has no sampling method for diesel exhaust, but instead recommends sampling for several of its components: acrolein, benzene, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, nitrogen dioxide, and sulfur dioxide. For each of these, there is a method of sampling and analysis available from OSHA or the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). There is also an OSHA PEL for each of these compounds, so that interpretation of results can be relatively straightforward and meaningful.
In addition, OSHA refers the reader to NIOSH Method 5040, for measuring diesel particulate matter (DPM) as total carbon (with both organic carbon and elemental carbon reported by this method)."
-Featured on Firehouse Magazine
"In Part 5 of this six-part series, we will look at mitigating strategies and current systems on the market that attempt to "close the door" on exposure pathways within your station as discussed in Part 4 of this series. Following the analysis and categorization of exposure pathways, more than likely your happy bubble (that everything is fine) has been popped. You probably have some work that needs to be done.
Whether you have an existing station or are planning a new station, the next step in the evaluation process is to conduct a detailed survey and assessment of what mitigating measures are in place, or can be put into place, at each potential exposure pathway. These may consist of administrative protocols, installed or planned building systems, and existing or new building design considerations (or some combination thereof). Think of this effort as the next step in a strategic planning process that starts with your current baseline, establishes prioritized objectives for improving the situation, explores alternative strategies to achieving those objectives, and recommends a hierarchy of tasks and necessary timeline, as budget allows.
Your existing ventilation systems to consider may include dilution ventilation, source capture and downdraft. For each, consider the effects of air currents or disruptions to airflow, the effectiveness of protocols for use, firefighter acceptance, operational costs, and maintenance requirements and resources. Focus on the potential weak points in each system—failure to follow exhaust management procedures, poorly serviced apparatus, broken, rapidly changing or new equipment, reserve apparatus and move-ups, propping open doors, and delayed service calls. Even a mindset that it is someone else’s problem should be considered."Read More
"In Part 4 of this 6-part series, we will be looking at the concept of Exposure Pathways and Routes of Exposure as a prelude to discussion in Part 5 of your department’s options to minimize chemical concerns, especially as they pertain to diesel exhaust, fire-related carcinogens, and the handling of hose and turnout gear.
After thoroughly cataloguing equipment and identifying potential contaminant sources, as outlined in Part 3 of this series, the next step is to begin documenting the spread of these contaminants within your facility, to determine your mitigation needs and opportunities. Be mindful that transparency in your inspection and hazard identification process will go a long way toward building trust in your department, as you address potential exposure risks though procedural change and/or facility adaptation. Key to this effort is the systematic identification of possible exposure pathways associated with each contaminant source, and routes of exposure by which individuals may be exposed to chemical contaminants."Read More
"In Part 3 of this 6-part series, we examine the first and perhaps most critical step in managing exposure to diesel exhaust and carcinogenic/chemical hazards in your facilities. The initial evaluation of your operation should consider your safety management systems, as discussed in Part 2, and should also address the physical layout and condition of your station, the age and condition of your apparatus, and concerns expressed by your firefighters, union or community.
The late comic Irwin Corey once stated, “If we don’t change direction soon, we will end up where we are going.” Well, we have finally changed direction, in the sense that firefighter safety and contaminant awareness is one of the top concerns not only of responders but also of decision makers. However, given that we’ve changed direction in our awareness, how do we go further to change the direction of our decisions and actions and their consequences? Where do we go with our increased awareness?"
-Firehouse MagazineRead More
Brian Harris Shares His Thoughts with Firehouse Magazine on Embracing Technology in Station Design
"Fire stations are among the most complex, heavily used municipal buildings found anywhere. Simultaneously, they are garages housing millions of dollars’ worth of apparatus; they are dormitories; and they have expansive kitchens, training rooms and public meeting facilities as well as administrative office space.
And, they are expected to last decades – sometimes under around-the-clock, heavy-duty service. That’s why it is important to ensure they are designed for the purpose in which they are intended and built using the best materials available.
Firehouse® Magazine interviewed several architects to compile their comments on best practices for how to design and build a fire station for today’s (and tomorrow’s) fire service needs. They were unanimous in their appraisals and comments – hire professionals with experience building complex, purpose-built fire stations; your community will be better off for it and future generations will be thankful you did."Read More