By Mary Kauffman
January 17, 2007
Since its formation in 1981, South Tongass Fire Chief Scott Davis said department members have increased 800%. Davis said, "When the South Tongass Volunteer Fire station was built in 1981 there was little or no consideration of building standards and codes, and no room for addition to new areas." He said, "With the numerous regulatory items and equipment required of a fire station today, the square footage to house this equipment does not exist in the current facility." Davis described the current station as "not a 'friendly' building to visitors, guests, or the public."
Photo courtesy STVFD
Davis said the current station lacks room in the meeting area for training the 40 members in the volunteer organization. Chief Davis said, "The 2006 International Fire Code indicates that 20 square feet per person is required for our classroom. Given the 600 square feet available, this is quite simply not enough room for our members!"
The South Tongass Volunteer Fire Department facility is located on a blind corner in the Mountain Point area south of Ketchikan, Alaska. Chief Davis said the station's location on a blind corner does not meet the Alaska Department of Transportation standards for safety visibility for on-coming traffic to the fire station entrance.
Other basic necessities such as bathroom facilities and kitchen facilities are lacking in many areas said Davis.
Chief Davis doesn't just point out the areas lacking in the older facility. He also described what a new fire station would require to meet the needs of the South Tongass community into the next 25 years. Among items described and needed in a new South Tongass Volunteer Fire Department station, Chief Davis listed:
And what would be the cost of an adequate fire station? Chief Davis said, "The costs with this fire station are somewhat unique." He said, "Everything that we need to house will need to be in this building because we have just the one fire station. So essentially, all of the equipment, training facilities, regulatory equipment, apparatus, quarters, and maintenance equipment must fit into this single building."
Addressing the cost of an adequate fire station that would meet the needs of the South Tongass community for the next twenty-five years, Davis said, "We anticipate the cost of the property and building to be $2,150,000."
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