A second Community Open House is scheduled for Tuesday, December 4, from 5:00 – 6:00pm at Fire Station 1 in Mount Vernon to share proposed improvements based on input from community members, City staff and the Fire Department. The City engaged Mackenzie Architects to analyze all three of its existing fire stations, which are in need of upgrades to meet the increasing demands of growth, technology and fire-fighting strategies for each of the individual service areas. The functional needs have been addressed and married with community input to produce design concepts for each of the sites. A bond proposal is expected to be presented to voters in February.
The proposed work to be advanced to the Bond Proposal stage is the result of a planning process undertaken with City Leadership, the Fire Department, Community Members and the Design Team. At the first public Open House, the Design Team heard what these projects mean to the Community and what kind of design they would like to see for Station 1. The planning process included in-depth physical assessments of Stations 2 & 3 and included the following key points and needs which guided the process.
The work focused on the safety and security of our first responders. Their jobs require that they be in top physical shape, that they are protected from outside threats, and that they have safe means of decontaminating after events to prevent long-term life-threatening exposure to carcinogens and other hazardous materials. And newer approaches to exhausting vehicles in the bays will reduce the potential of harmful exposures. Having these facilities upgraded is critically important for recruitment and retention of the kinds of highly-skilled and proficient staff that we need to serve the Community.
All three of the fire stations were built over twenty years ago, and the neighborhoods that they protect have changed dramatically over that period of time. There is a need to adjust the personnel, equipment and technology for each of the stations to better serve their unique service areas. In the words of the Chief, “We have to be proactive! Our communities’ deserve a fire department that is capable and equipped to provide service throughout the city to all of our diverse citizens. Addressing the needs now will save the city money and additional costs in the future.”
Fire Station 1 was built in 1964 when the City had a primarily volunteer agency. The current concerns are that the station lacks the space for the kind of fire-fighting apparatus that is needed for addressing the downtown community, the interstate or the railway.
Especially as the downtown core is revitalized, there is a growing need to protect the valuable historic buildings and new investment in economic growth. Similarly, the growth along the interstate to the south and the railway corridor running through the commercial and residential neighborhoods demands that the City’s fire department is positioned to respond as quickly as possible and with the right equipment to avoid loss of life and property. A new station, proposed on the site adjacent to the library, would allow for proper apparatus size, location of the Emergency Operations Center and Administration to this core facility, include a Community Aid Room and Police substation, and provide greater safety for first responders.
Fire Station 2 and 3 have operational and space inefficiencies that need to be improved to allow for better response and to address the need for additional staff. Moving Administration out of Fire Station 2 allows for space reorganization adding personal decontamination zones, an appropriately sized Kitchen, Dining & Day Room, dedicated gear storage space and a renovated Exercise Room. Fire Station 3 looks to add a new bay for EMS with additional space for gear storage, a properly sized Training/Community Room, larger Kitchen, Dining & Day Room to meet the projected staff size and personal contamination zones.
These moves will allow the Department to function most effectively and efficiently in all three stations and have the ability to better flex as demands change in each of the service areas over time. All of these improvements are aimed at optimizing responses to events, creating a safe and secure work environment for the first responders, providing adequate equipment and training to all staff, and protecting the life, safety and welfare within the entire community.
This Open House is an opportunity for Community Members to view what was done with the input provided from the first Open House and the planning process. Project costs associated with the work will be provided for all three stations.
For more information, please contact Chief Brice at 360-336-6277.
The City of Mount Vernon Fire Department is organized into four Divisions: Administrative Staff, Operations Division, Prevention Division and the Training Division. Operations Division includes Fire Suppression and Emergency Medical Services. Prevention Division includes Fire Marshal’s and Public Education. Training Division is responsible for training firefighters, EMT’s, and various other city employees. The Fire Chief is also the city’s emergency manager and is responsible for any non-criminal emergency that occurs within the city.
To Protect the Lives, Property and Environment of Mount Vernon and to minimize losses when emergencies occur.
Making a Positive Difference