Fire stations of the world: Fire Station 1, Fairbanks, Alaska, US
The Fairbanks Fire Department’s response area is 13,1 square miles, with an asset valuation of $2 620 877 920 and includes the Chena River, Pioneer Park (Alaska Land), the Carlson Centre, Fairbanks Memorial Hospital and many other important landmarks. Fairbanks Fire Department provides mutual aid support for ten surrounding fire departments including Fort Wainwright Army Base and Eielson Air Force Base. The City of Fairbanks has a protected population served of 32 469 citizens. The temperature in Fairbanks ranges from 90 degrees above zero in the summer to 60 degrees below zero in the winter. The amount of daylight ranges from 21 hours, 49 minutes in the summer to 3 hours, 42 minutes in the winter. These temperature and daylight extremes can make fire fighting quite a challenge. Fire Station 1 is located in the heart of beautiful downtown Fairbanks and houses an engine, a platform, a heavy rescue, two ambulances, a tender and the duty battalion chief. This is also the home of the administrative staff. The station was built in 2005 and is the city’s busiest station. The Fairbanks Fire Department's Operations Division is currently staffed by 43 fire fighters at two fire stations. Operations personnel work a 48/96 schedule and are divided into three platoons and supervised by a battalion chief. The fire fighters respond to a wide variety of 9-1-1 calls to include: structure fires, wildland fires, motor vehicle accidents, vehicle extrication, water/ice rescue incidents, hazardous material incidents and technical rescue incidents. In 2017, crews responded to a total of 5 300 calls in their community.
Fire Chief Jim Styers reported, “The Fairbanks Fire Department is comprised of 44 dedicated, community serving professionals, who are highly capable and proud to serve the community of Fairbanks. The Fairbanks Fire Department serves approximately 32 000 city residents and the surrounding borough community through a robust mutual aid agreement.”
“The City of Fairbanks is protected by a group of highly dedicated and skilled men and women. The department is staffed 100 percent by professional fire fighters, who are trained to provide state-of-the-art fire and EMS services. The members of the Fairbanks Fire Department work diligently to achieve the highest levels of preparedness, prevention, quality customer service and community involvement through continuous improvement and training. We have been serving the Fairbanks community for over 100 years and will continue to do so for many years to come. We take great pride in our beautiful city and are committed to doing our part to keep it the progressive and safe place it is to work and live.”
Fairbanks is the largest city in the interior region of the US state of Alaska and is the northernmost Metropolitan Statistical Area in the United States, located 196 driving miles (or 140 air miles) south of the Arctic Circle. Originally established in 1901 as a gold mining town, the city has now become a popular tourist destination. In the summer, hundreds of cruise ships stop over at Fairbanks, while in the winter, people come to see the Northern Lights.
The first fire department in Fairbanks was a volunteer department organised during the summer of 1903 under the direction of fire Chief Dan Noinan. The department’s equipment consisted of a few buckets, ladders, fire axes and holes in the slough, which was used for needed water. The City Council took over the Fire department in November 1904, electing JJ Buckley, a city patrolman, as its first fire chief.
The first fire station, built in 1905, was on Second Avenue between Turner and Barnette Street and was later moved to Turner Street between Second and Third Avenue. In the fall of 1905, the City Council decided to build a new fire hall on Third Avenue opposite Turner Street. A concrete Fire Station was later built at Fifth and Cushman followed by the station at 656 Seventh Avenue in 1962. The citizens of Fairbanks approved a new fire station during the October 2003 City election, to provide a new station at Eleventh and Cushman Street. The new station provided much needed support for the more versatile but larger, heavier vehicles that are used in the fire service today.
In 1905 the Fire chief was paid $200 per month and the only other two employees receiving only $150 per month. The volunteer members were furnished room and board and received $1 per hour for their response at fires. The Department became fully paid in 1907 with JJ Buckley as fire chief with five other fire fighters.
From 1 April 1909, through to March 1910, there were 65 fires, entailing a loss of $5 486 in Fairbanks and an additional loss of $15 025 in the Garden Island area. These fires required the laying of 44 150 feet of fire hose that year. The previous year had 59 alarms with a total fire loss of $6 281, which resulted in the laying of 34 500 feet of hose.
Today, the Fairbanks Fire Department is fully paid with a staff of 44 full time employees. The workforce is divided into three shifts and work a “48 on, 96 off” schedule. Each shift has a battalion chief, three captains, four drivers and five fire fighters. The department also has an assistant fire chief, a deputy fire marshal, an administrative assistant and a clerk/coordinator of the Fairbanks Emergency Planning Committee (FEPC).
The department has two fire engines, one 102-foot platform, a 100-foot platform, a heavy rescue, four ambulances, incident command vehicle, heat trailer, light trailer and two water tenders. There are two staffed fire stations and another unstaffed station located next to the city-operated Regional Fire Training Centre on Thirtieth Avenue.
The department runs a paramedic level transport ambulance service. 19 fire fighters are certified as paramedics. All Fairbanks fire fighters are certified to a minimum of Alaska certified Emergency Medical Technician one. Fairbanks Fire Department personnel are trained and certified in emergency cold-water rescue, confined space rescue and hazardous material response at the operations level. Many individuals in the department are certified in specialised areas to help with the training in others.
Source: City of Fairbanks