Fire stations of the world: San Rafael Fire Station No 57 in California, US
San Rafael Fire Station No 57 is situated at 3530 Civic Centre Drive in San Rafael, California in the US. Alten Construction began working on the $9.3 million project in June 2017 and finished the project in November 2019. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on 15 November to commemorate the occasion. The 9 924-square-foot project includes a new two-storey fire station and storage building. The fire station houses a team of five on-duty fire fighters. However, Fire Station 57 can accommodate six on-duty personnel in the event additional staffing is required to better serve the community.
Fire Station 57 is designed to allow for easy access to the apparatus bay where trucks and equipment are housed. The new station features three drive-through apparatus bays complete with state-of-the-art bi-fold garage doors and infrastructure, apparatus support spaces, above ground fuel storage and an automatic ventilation system to prevent buildup of diesel exhaust.
The building also has a public lobby with accessible restroom, office, kitchen, dining, dayroom, laundry room, private sleeping quarters, restrooms and mechanical and electrical communications rooms.
Fire Station No 57 is across the street from the Marin County Civic Centre, which was designed by famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright and can be viewed from inside the station.
“Many of the design features on the new Fire Station 57 were created to accent and follow the same stylings of the Civic Center,” said Eric Onick, senior project manager for Alten Construction.
Mary McGrath Architects designed the buildings, which incorporate high-quality living quarters for the fire fighters, modern and upgraded technology and ventilation and exhaust systems for the apparatus bay. The renovation is part of the City of San Rafael Essential Facilities Project, which also included renovations to Fire Station 52.
The fire station meets the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design’s (LEED) Gold certification. The LEED scoring system provides a metric for measuring how sustainable a structure is. LEED-certified buildings are resource efficient, using less water and energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The city of San Rafael and the county of Marin jointly proposed to replace their existing Fire Station No 57 at its existing site. The county of Marin is the property owner and the city provides EMS services for the county in this response area. Responding to a “location and resource allocation study,” the station was designed to serve Engine 57, a cross-staff Truck 57 and a relocated Medic 53. It also was designed to be a north area cache for medic re-supply and reserve apparatus storage.
The site challenges include protection of an existing wetland and relocating the previous access from a residential street to Civic Centre Drive. True drive-through bays (no stacking) were a requirement of the project and with such a small site, detailed studies were required to evaluate the turning criteria both entering and exiting the apparatus bay. Not only was the radius studied but the cross slope, too. There is 10 feet of cross fall across the site, which provided challenges for apparatus access and accessibility.
The core facilities of the station accommodate six on-duty personnel. The sleeping rooms and restrooms are on the second level; office/living areas are located on the first level, with a direct path of travel to the apparatus bay. All elements of the “Hot Zone” are located outside of the office and living quarters and have dedicated clean-up areas. Walk-off mats are included at transition areas and the mechanical system provides positive airflow from the living quarters.
Sources: Alten Construction, Mary McGrath Architects