Fire stations of the world: Pratteln Fire Station in Switzerland
The Pratteln Fire Station in Switzerland was designed after Maaars Architektur Visualisierungen won an architectural competition in 2010. The new fire station in Pratteln was completed in October 2013, after nearly one year of construction. The flat new building is located in the town’s western section, where residential and commercial areas overlap. “The safety of the population is our top priority,” states the Feuerwehr Pratteln. “With the new earthquake-proof fire brigade station building, larger rooms and a SCBA workshop, we are optimising safety and guaranteeing the longevity of the building. With the merging of the fire brigade and civil defence under one roof, we are also improving internal processes. These are of great importance in major events and decide on the successful management of the event.” The Pratteln Fire Station was built according to new energy standards. With the careful choice of materials, the thermal insulation of the building shell and the rear-ventilated facade, sustainable construction is possible. The heat is generated through a district heating connection. The energy required for heat generation is obtained from the nearby heating network of EBL Stockmatt Pratteln.
Pratteln is a municipality in the canton of Basel-Landschaft in Switzerland, located in the district of Liestal in Switzerland and covers an area of 10,7 km² with a population of 15 189 (2009). Of the built up area, industrial buildings made up 10,8 percent of the total area while housing and buildings made up 14,9 percent and transportation infrastructure made up 11,7 percent. Power and water infrastructure as well as other special developed areas made up 2,9 percent of the area while parks, green belts and sports fields made up 2,9 percent. Out of the forested land, 25,9 percent of the total land area is heavily forested and 2,2 percent is covered with orchards or small clusters of trees. Of the agricultural land, 13,8 percent is used for growing crops and 10,5 percent is pastures, while 3,4 percent is used for orchards or vine crops. All the water in the municipality is flowing water.
The team of the Pratteln Fire Brigade are divided into four alarm groups and a PBU (personal rescue in the event of accidents) group. The on-call officer decides which group is called up when an alarm is received. The daily on-call group is automatically called up by the police operations centre. Those fire fighters who work in Pratteln or those who work on shift belong to the day on call.
Fire protection clothing is high tech
Extinguishing operations are a great burden and require perseverance and concentration from the fire brigade. Good functional clothing can save lives. Where there is fire, there is acrid smoke. Breathing apparatus protect fire fighters with a sophisticated system. Breathing under the mask requires training. Physical and mental fitness is all the more important. All protective equipment weighs up to 25kg. Fire gear is fitted with GPS navigation in the sole of the foot, heat sensors in the gloves and radio data transmission directly from the source of the fire. Intensive research is being carried out into intelligent clothing for fire departments. This is a dream of the future.
Fire engines, turntable ladders and command vehicles are the most important vehicles of the fire service. The Pratteln Fire Brigade has a modern fleet of vehicles and uses this apparatus, among other equipment, for rescuing people from heights and depths, for fire fighting and technical assistance. However, the techniques are complex and requires a lot of training and experience.
The fire station building
Buildings for the chemicals industry dominate the surroundings of the fire station in Pratteln. Inspired by the stainless steel silos in the direct vicinity, the architects covered their concrete building with perforated, untreated aluminium sheeting. The shimmering cladding with vertical supports conceals most of the windows behind it and gives the fire station a sculptural character. The façade is recessed on two sides. The large vehicle depot with the fire engines is situated behind tall glass gates. The floor and walls of the two-storey hall are painted in striking, radiant red. An L-shaped, two-storey functional building envelops the garage. The process and organisation of a fire fighting operation determined the floor plan of the elongated building. The workshop, hose-washing facility and warehouse, among others, are accommodated on the ground floor. Most rooms are accessible from the outside. Two staircases along the two narrow sections of the building provide the fire fighters access to the upper level. Like a gallery, a long, narrow corridor along the vehicle depot reveals a view of the space from above and provides access to the floor. Skylights allow daylight to shine into the corridor. The facilities on the upper level include the operations centre and a meeting room. To achieve an affordable building, the architects used materials that were untreated wherever possible, thereby highlighting the industrial purpose of the functional building. Through the usage of raw, unprocessed materials, it was possible to preserve and even highlight the desired industrial character of the building, without exceeding a tight budget.
Sources: Feuerwehr Pratteln Switzerland, Maaars Architektur Visualisierungen, Divisare
Photos: Feuerwehr Pratteln Switzerland, Maaars Architektur Visualisierungen, Radek Brunecky