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BEACHWOOD, Ohio –Aug. 23, 2018– The City of Beachwood’s new Public Safety Center, opening Sun., Aug. 26 with a ribbon-cutting at 11:00 a.m., is a testament to the power of collaboration.
Beachwood Fire and Rescue Department Chief Patrick J. Kearns, Captain Philip L. Corpora, and Firefighter Gregory Liggett led a team that toured fire stations across the country to determine the features required to keep the fire and rescue forces healthy and efficient. Architects LeMay Erickson Willcox shared their fire-station expertise to develop a Public Safety Center that will serve Beachwood for at least the next 40 years. And Beachwood Police Department (BPD) agreed that moving the dispatch center from their crowded BPD offices to the new building would allow more room for dispatchers, while saving money by combining the fire station and training facility with the new dispatch center.
It is also a testament to long-term planning. The City of Beachwood, then led by Mayor Merle S. Gorden, bought the parcel at 3777 Richmond Rd. at Park East Drive in 1999, with the intention of using the land for a future municipal building as the area developed.
Nine years later, discussion began about building a new fire station. This came about because Beachwood’s first fire station, located on Chagrin Blvd. at Fire Station Dr., was built in the early 1970s to support a squad of volunteer firefighters, who came to calls from elsewhere and slept at home. As such, the original station lacked many typical features required for modern professional firefighters, who live at the station during their 24-hour work shifts.
In 2012, a committee was convened to determine requirements and best practices. The groundbreaking occurred in 2017, after the construction was approved by City Council.
Now, the Public Safety Center is opening with a ribbon-cutting and celebration for the public on Sun., Aug. 26. The ribbon-cutting will occur at 11:00 a.m. and tours of the facility will continue until 2:00 p.m. Four-footed members of the Western Reserve Dalmatian Club will attend (with their bipedal counterparts) to ensure that firefighters’ best friends have the opportunity to approve the new building. There will also be an ice-cream social featuring Mitchell’s Ice Cream and popcorn treats from crazybuttrue gourmet popcorn.
Fire Station Features
Form and function were the watchwords throughout the design process. The entire building has triple-redundancy power through a battery back-up, then an external generator, and then, if that were to fail, a mobile generator can plug into a building outlet to power the entire building.
The entire facility features Hot-Zone Design, which ranks locations by Hot, Warm, and Cold zones based upon location of contaminants. Firefighter turn-outs —exterior clothes worn over their uniforms during firefighting— are stored and washed in a Hot zone, far from the living quarters. ADA-compliant ramps from the bay floor to the living area help to separate fumes from breathable air, and the living quarters and administrative areas are positively pressured to push air out toward the bay, repelling fumes and keeping them in the Hot or Warm zones.
The bay’s full-visibility, bi-fold doors open in seven seconds, a significant improvement over the 23 seconds required by the bay doors of Fire Station 1. The doors do not have springs and the openers are smaller, which will result in a significant cost savings for maintenance. The bay floor features radiant heat: fire engines rust from the bottom-up, so floor-based radiant heat will dry the trucks from the bottom-up, thereby extending the life of each vehicle by an estimated 5 years.
Bunkrooms and bathrooms are gender-neutral. The weight room and exercise room will include weights and aerobic equipment donated by the Beachwood 100 and Homewood Suites by Hilton Cleveland-Beachwood.
Regional Dispatch Center
Incorporating a new shared dispatch center into the Public Safety Center saved the City of Beachwood $1 million in estimated costs of renovating an area in the City’s Municipal Complex. The new dispatch area is twice the size of the dispatch center moving from BPD. Beachwood and Pepper Pike will both be dispatched from the center, and there is adequate capacity to attract other cities to join Beachwood as a Regional Dispatch Center. The center was built with room for eight dispatchers, allowing for future expansion: the current set-up accommodates four.
Training Facility and Emergency Operations Center
At the top of the stairs will be a 9/11 memorial that will feature a piece of 9/11 steel brought over from Fire Station 1, as well as photographs, news clippings, and memorabilia, part of a collection established by the late Richard Barson, a Beachwood resident.
Down the hall from that is a 60-person capacity room that will double both as a multi-discipline training facility and an Emergency Operations Center (EOC). This room has videoconference capabilities with microphones for distance-learning events. Should it be required as an EOC in the event of a regional disaster or other major emergency, dispatch can patch their information to the EOC monitors.
When hands-on training is required for fire, police, tech rescue, SWAT, and other disciplines, the Public Safety Center has that covered. The mezzanine area adjacent to the training tower will hold props for different fire and rescue scenarios, and includes a framed-out space for training with situations involving windows. A three-story training tower has a balcony on levels two and three, plus grates in the floor for confined-space containment and tech-rescue training. The tower’s interior can be filled with non-hazardous theatrical smoke. The roofline has two tiers and the tower is suitable for interior and exterior rappelling. When not being used for training, the tower will be used for hose drying.
“We hope the community will attend the ribbon-cutting and celebration for the public on Sunday, Aug. 26 between 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.,” Beachwood Mayor Martin S. Horwitz said. “We look forward to showing our citizens the many innovative features incorporated into the facility that will keep our region safe for many decades to come.”
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Lynn B. Johnson, MFA
City of Beachwood