Fire stations of the world: Amarillo Fire Department opens new Fire Station 5, new features to improve response time, US
Amarillo Fire Department’s Fire Station No 5, located at 3200 S Washington Street, Amarillo, Texas in the US, opened in April 2021 with fire fighters initially moving into the facility on 5 April 2021. The station is one of three new fire stations approved by voters in the 2016 municipal election. Fire Station 5 consists of three truck bays and a substantial living area, rounding out to 15 794 square feet, which is three to four times larger than what the initial building, originally constructed in 1953. “In Amarillo, fire stations are more than just buildings,” said Amarillo Fire Department Chief Jason Mays. “Fire stations are part of the communities and neighbourhoods they serve. I know our fire fighters were extremely grateful that voters approved these improvements and new fire stations in 2016. We are proud of these new fire stations and what they represent, their neighbourhoods and our commitment to protecting the public.”
This is the last of three new fire stations in Amarillo being built. Fire station three and nine are the most recent new fire houses in Amarillo and this one will closely resemble those but there are also some unique features this one will offer that others do not.
The layout of the facility is specially designed in a way for fire fighters to get to their trucks more quickly. “A special architect came in who specialises in fire stations. So, he was able to design it where it’s more efficient, we can get to the trucks quicker. When a call comes in, we can get to the trucks faster than some of the way our old stations were designed,” said Cody Snyder, PIO captain for Amarillo Fire Department.
“This one has the plymo vents that will pull diesel exhaust out of the truck rooms for us. It’ll help us not be exposed to that as much. It has a separate room for our turnout gear so it’s not sitting here saturated with diesel exhaust. These new doors, they’re safer, they’re better. They open and close automatically. They don’t get weak and fall down in front of the truck as we’re trying to exit the station,” said Snyder.
It also has a turnout locker room where they keep their gear after responding to calls. It is important the gear stays in there to help reduce the exposure of the dangerous chemicals it may hold.
“This was necessary for our guys and this gives them more room. We’ve added another company, so now we’ll have two trucks running out of here. It also enabled us to move our Hazmat Team here and traditionally our Hazmat Team was broken into two crews across town from each other and they would swap out from month to month the Hazmat Unit but now they’re all going to be housed together,” said Justus.
It will also include a lounge area, kitchen, four bedrooms, two co-ed locker rooms, a gym, tornado shelter and more.
A total of 24 fire fighters will be stationed here, eight on each shift.
The cost of the station was just a hair under 3,8 million Dollars. This was already part of the proposition and a smaller part of the overall 21,6 million Dollars.
Some of the neat features of the building also include a storm shelter and second story that includes a fire pole to slide on down (the second in the city to have this feature that's a firehouse standard) and a machine bay door that opens in 10 seconds.
“This was our oldest fire station. It was outdated,” Chief Mays said. “Every time we would run just a single-storey structure fire, we would always send four trucks, we only had two stations that had three double companies. That meant every time the tones went off for a structure fire, if it was significant enough, it meant there was an empty station somewhere.”
The updates to this project allow the department to add another crew and be able to fight structure fires with a crew still intact at another station elsewhere in the city. Chief Mays said with the station’s proximity to both Interstates 40 and 27, it will help the department as a whole be more efficient.
Overall, it means a lot to Chief Mays to have the city’s support for a station and the department’s new personnel.
“It is costly to add personnel; that’s a recurring cost. So, for them to identify that that is worth the amount that it’s going to cost,” he said. “It’s a great thing. We are very appreciative and I believe, slowly but surely, we will see more efficiency within the city and our response times. We hope to see those improve.”
Sources: Amarillo Fire Department , News Channel 10