One of the routes that I take when riding my bike takes me through the center of Bothell – a town next to ours. I would ride past the old fire station but hadn’t been on the route for a while. There had been a sign saying a new fire station was going to be built and, when I recently rode by, not only was it finished but there was a sign outside saying that they were planning to have an open house to celebrate the opening. I figured this might be interesting.
The open house was scheduled for a Saturday morning so was not going to be a long event but that didn’t deter people from showing up. There were plenty of people there when I arrived – indeed some were already leaving having got there earlier. As I stayed around, it got a lot busier. So many people came to have a look around. Many of them brought their kids along to see the station but I suspect the kids were less interested than the parents were.
The appliances were on display in the main open space of the station with fire trucks, ambulances and assorted support vehicles for people to climb all over. These were of interest to me but I was almost more interested in the stuff around them. Storage for the equipment, venting pipes for the vehicle exhausts so they could run indoors, things like that. The one thing that they didn’t have was a pole! I guess those are no longer a standard of fire stations!
There was much more to the station to see, though. You were able to walk throughout the building and, while there were some tours explaining everything to people, I was happier going at my own speed and avoiding the worst of the congestion. The operations space where they could control the delivery of whatever services were needed was pretty compact but efficient. It was alongside a selection of offices for some of the leadership. Across from that was a gym where the crews could work out if they wanted.
Heading upstairs and we got to the more domestic side of things. There was a large kitchen and dining area. Large cooking surfaces with big skillets were a sign of what feeding a shift involves. There were multiple refrigerators along one wall with each labeled for the shift that utilized it. I wonder whether there are ever issues with one shift pinching food from another! Next to that was a TV room with big recliners arrayed around the TV – each on embroidered with the logo of the fire station. This logo showed up in various places.
Next was the accommodation space. There were bunk rooms available for the crews to use. I understood that they would be on watch for long periods so could eat, relax, sleep, shower and work out while they were not required for operations. The bunk rooms were compact and basic but looked like they would do the job nicely.
It was interesting to see what a modern fire station involves. I hadn’t really given it much thought before and seeing the layout gave me a new appreciation for what the crews’ lives can be like. The new building was clearly a nice upgrade for the facility and it was functional but not unattractive. They even had some sculpture work outside. A lot of effort went in to putting the place together. I hope they find it beneficial.