Fire Marshal, Dave Rich and Fire Chief, Ian Nelson brought the need for a new fire station to the attention of the county council at last Tuesday’s meeting.
Rich said the current station is outdated, and there are many NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) codes that do not have the possibility to be met as the building stands now. The hope in building a new fire station means meeting all regulations and codes for the safety of the firefighters and EMTs. Some of the problems with the current building are, age, not earthquake compliant, unable to provide washer and dryer to keep emergency staff turnout clothing clean and sanitary. These are all requirements Rich explained should be met by NFPA standards in a county of Morgan’s size.
A disinfecting station is a standard not currently met in Morgan County. In the event of a hazardous spill where emergency personnel may come in contact with dangerous materials this type of space is critical. But it would require proper lighting, draining facilities and more to meet standards. Rich said, “We owe it to our fire and ambulance people to let them have these elements of safety within their job as they’re trying to do it.”
The hope for the new building would be having enough space for 6 bay doors and having a large enough space to fit a ladder truck and the potential for other specialized equipment. The proposed building would be approximately 13,000 square feet complete with living quarters in the event Morgan County requires a full-time station staff.
Nelson continued saying, “The NFP requirements could be a liability for us as a county with new cancer initiatives for cleaning turnouts and carcinogens. Currently EMTs within the bloodborne pathogens are taking their uniforms home and washing them in their home washers, which in a normal washing machine some of the water stays in the machine. And then they wash their families’ clothes as well.”
A proposed 2-acre lot has been discussed to use for a potential new station. Discussions are still on going and must include the county council as well as the city council to provide funding for such a building. Until then, money may be distributed to repair or update some parts of the current fire station. The proposal was tabled per discussion with the city council during the May COG meeting.