July 21, 2011

The “Tools of the Trade” statue outside the training entrance to the new Fire Station No. 8 in Temple stands as a reminder of what firefighters do every day – protect the public.

The statue, conceived by Capt. Jonathan Christian and put together by Glenn’s Welding, is also a reminder that voters said “yes” to a bond used to give Temple Fire & Rescue a stronger presence in west Temple as it continues to grow, said Thomas Pechal, fire department spokesman.

The public is invited to today’s 2 p.m. dedication of the facility, located at 7268 Airport Road.

The architects, Architectural Edge of Temple, and contractors, Chaney-Cox Construction, also of Temple, assisted the city in providing a multi-use structure designed to conserve energy and to last well into the future, Pechal said.

The $4.78 million Fire Station No. 8 will become active in mid to late October, Pechal said.

It consists of a training center, an Emergency Operations Center, a fire station and, in the future will be the location of a 15-acre drill field that can be used by the department, city organizations, businesses and eventually any Central Texas entities that need a place to train.

The training area provides classrooms for instruction, storage rooms, a media room, work rooms, a kitchen area and office space, as well as a large room that converts from a classroom into the Emergency Operations Center, complete with four small screen TVs and one large screen TV to monitor weather stations and news stations in times of disasters.

The walls and ceiling of the emergency center are reinforced to withstand severe weather conditions.

The media room, which was Christian’s idea, provides a briefing area for the media. It also functions as a work area complete with computer hook-ups and an area for cameras and tripods that is out of the way of the main room.

“A lot of thought, research and planning went into this structure so we can address future growth and not play catch-up in the future,” Pechal said.

The entire structure is fueled by propane for heating, hot water and cooking to save tax dollars, while a generator outside is diesel-powered in case of power failure.

Lots of windows provide natural lighting and windows are prevalent in the bay area for the firetrucks. The facilities have a “daylight harvesting” system in the bays and outdoor areas, where lights are not at full power until needed.

Storage rooms are equipped with motion detection lighting that can be adjusted to different time periods.

Granite and wood are used heavily in the building.

“They are an investment in the future because they will last longer,” Pechal said.

Off the bay area are storage rooms for bunker gear and a washer for the turnout gear.

In the fire station area are dorms for men and women, with the spaces including desks, storage cabinets and lighting for night reading/studying. A den is included for times when the firefighters can relax, as well as an exercise room, a washer and dryer, the captain’s quarters and front office, an exam room and kitchen/dining room area.

The exercise room is important because firefighters must stay in excellent physical condition. Each firefighter must pass an agility test each year and strive to maintain or improve their conditioning.

Pechal said landscaping will be put on hold until much-needed rain falls in an effort to help conserve water.

The master plan for the drill field shows a road connecting the area with the airport, a burn facility, burn rooms, an entire cityscape, spaces for trench and confined space rescue drills, a driving track to include highway and railroad areas and places for Hazmat training, Christian said.

A tower at the training area gives instructors a chance to monitor training and will include a remote shutdown.

“It will be a smarter, more efficient way to train,” Pechal said.

Pechal said the planning and building of the facility provided jobs during an unstable economic period, and using local companies helped get a better price for the taxpayer’s money.

“It’s a win-win project,” he said.

About Temple:
Temple, Texas is a community with a diverse economic base that includes healthcare, distribution and warehousing, and manufacturing as the foundation. Within 180 miles of a population of 17.8 million, Temple is in a strategic location that is central within the southwest U.S. marketplace.