So for the past year my sweetie-wife and I have watched as the city built a new fire station near our home. Today, after several months of operation, Firestation 45 hosted an open house for the public, and while my sweetie-wife need to work I managed to attend. Here are just a few picture and thoughts from that visit.
This is the area called the bunkhouse. It is the ‘living room’ for the station for the people on duty. Off to the left is a big screen TV and a stack of DVDs. ( I was informed because that cable and internet access has yet to be connected.) Now you can see that those recliners look quite comfy, and they are, but they are not a product of your tax dollars. The city provides utilities and toilet paper, everything else including the food, the personal pay for themselves. They work 24 hours on, then have 24 hours off, after 4 work periods they get 4 days off. I learned that smaller stations the people on duty just brown bag it, but at larger ones like 45 they chip in each day for a grocery run and buy the food communally.
Here is a reverse angle of the rest of the kitchen.
I learned that station 45 is the Hazardous waste specialists for San Diego County and so they are on call for any Hazardous waste issues county wide. Fire department personnel also suffer cancers at a higher rate than the general population due to their continual exposure to burning chemical. Because of this the department goes to great lengths to reduce exposure whenever and as much as possible. Those bulky protective uniforms are washed after every use and each person has two sets of ‘turn outs’ so that one can be in the process of being cleaned while the other worn on a call.
Here is a [picture of a fire truck and a fire engine. The truck is one the left, the yellow hose is connected to the exhaust to reduce carcinogen exposure. The difference between a ‘truck’ and an ‘engine?’ A fire truck carries a tank of water, this one I think has 500 gallons, while an engine doesn’t carry water but carries ladders and equipment. Essentially a Fire Engine is a giant motorized tool box.
I mentioned that the people on duty are on duty for 24 hours at a stretch, so of course there has to be living spaces. They don;t live, at least not at this station, in a giant barracks style room, but here you can see that they have private rooms. The one picture is unoccupied. There were two wings and the occupied wing was off limits to the public.
Now in case you were getting sentimental about things and felt that traditions were dying out, here for your pleasure is the fireman’s pole. Yup, they actually use that pole for quick transits from the upper floor to the ground floor. One thing that did surprise me, though it makes sense from a middle of the night safety thing, is that the pole is actually in an enclosed space behind a door. This is of course so that you don’t stumble and fall through it by accident. (And no they were not letting us use the pole.) The display above the door is a ticker tape sort of thing that during a call continuously flashes the call and which units are responding.
I’ll end this post with a panoramic view from the second floor balcony.