The construction of a new fire station in the south part of Carthage has moved back to the top of the Carthage Fire Department’s capital wish list, but making the second station a reality has been a challenge for more than a decade.
On Monday, Carthage Fire Chief Chris Thompson presented to the Carthage City Council’s Public Safety Committee a “project document” outlining what would be needed as far as staffing an equipment to make the new station a reality and operate it for years to come.
The plan outlines what will be needed as far as staffing and equipment to open a fire station in the area of Fir Road and Interstate 49, and a proposal to renovate the existing station, located at Centennial and Garrison avenues.
Thompson and City Administrator Tom Short said they will be working up the costs to build the station, and equip and staff it after it is built, in the next few weeks.
“This has been discussed for over 10 years and it’s changed over that 10 years,” Short said. “At one time it was planned to be in the lower part of the south water tower. That was spaced out and actually bid out and bids were rejected. We wanted to put in writing what the plan is, but it’s changed so much over the years and I think people have kind of gotten used to a small station with less than minimal amount of people staffing. This is justification for what is needed at that area.”
Thompson’s plan lays out different scenarios for staffing levels and equipment purchases for two fire stations, and different plans for renovating the existing station.
Thompson said a second station is not feasible without hiring additional fire fighters.
“During previous discussions regarding a second fire station, a staffing model was proposed to split the six on-duty personnel between two fire stations; leaving one station with four personnel and the second station with two personnel,” Thompson wrote in his plan. “This staffing model is not adequate and will in fact hamper fire responses. With the exception of natural cover fires, there are no instances when it is acceptable to have only two personnel respond in a fire apparatus to any type of fire or motor vehicle accident.”
Thompson said hiring three additional firefighters will allow four people to be assigned to one station and three people to the second station.
He said the ideal way to staff two stations would be to hire six full-time firefighters, allowing both stations to have four people assigned and eliminating most overtime.
Thompson’s plan proposes stationing the department’s ladder truck, a fire engine, brush truck and two special response trailers at the station.
Page 2 of 2 - It also includes a list of items that were identified as “minimum requirements,” to make sure the station was self-sufficient and that the staff would not have to make routine trips to the main station for supplies and to refill items such as oxygen bottles for their self-contained breathing systems.
The plan for renovating the current station includes items such as a new roof, brick tuck pointing, new heating and air conditioning system throughout the entire building, new heating and lighting in the engine bay, new garage doors, additional storage and other updates.
The plan was submitted as information for committee members and no action was required.