Firehouses

By EMMANUEt MESAGNA, R.A. FIREHOUSE PLANNING

Over the post decode, Firehouse Planning and Design has become increasingly sophisticated and complex. Years of study and experience hove made it apparent that by planning o firehouse properly, o safer and quicker turnout con be mode. This is accomplished primarily by arranging traffic flow patterns within the firehouse to be as direct as possible. The integration of the "primary adjacency" concept for planning the Fire house will deduct considerably from the turnout time by "grouping" the Flrefighting personnel in the "highest octivity" areas of the firehouse. Turn out time olong with dispatching time and travel time are three of the key elements in the successful containment af fire which is one of the primary gaols of a Flrefighting unit.

The improvements in firehouse planning have created a total upgrading of human comforts with great emphasis on physical fitness. These include well planned kitchens, air conditioning, better lighting, well-planned toilet-shower facilities and dormitory spaces, acoustical improvements, safety features in building plonning and the integration of a small gymnasium like area, for physical Fitness purposes in firefighting needs, into the firehouse plan.

Cancipt Planning for the Flrehouie nnd Plan Types

Turnout lime is the key element in firehouse planning. When planning the firehouse the mast important feature is to group various functional spaces in a primary adjacency pattern so that movements to exit from the firehouse are minimized. Dispatching, travel, and turnout lime are the key elements in the successful containment of (he fire.

The one-story firehouse hoi a series of pian types which can be categorized in the fallowing manner [see Fig. 1):

(A) One-Way Straddle ot the Apparatus Area

All of the support (unctions for this plan type are located to the left or right of the apparatus area. This plan type is the least desirable in that the plan has the longest travel distances to reach the apparatus area ond therefore odds fa the turnout time of the fire company. This plan type by its nature creates a circulation pattern which can be eliminated in other plan types. Other plon types hove supporting areas responding directly onto the apparatus area.

(B) Ïwo-Way, U Wraparound al Apparatus Aroo

This plan type is the most desirable lor purposes of minimizing the turnout time in firehouse planning. Using the same gross area for the standard twa-campany unit, it places all areas al the shortest possible distance from the responding apparatus. Another key elemen I in this type of planning concept is that It separates the noisy areos of the firehouse from the quiet areas by the natural separation ol the apparatus areo.

Chief Architect, Fire Deporlmem. City of New York, Director of Facilities Plonning and Design. I97S.

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