Revitalize Your Fire Station With 5 Easy DIY Projects


CarolinaFireJournal - By Chris Goins
By Chris Goins
10/26/2015 -

There are times when a fire department would like to build a new facility but may not have the funds at that time. Coming up with a game plan and contacting a design builder as early as possible is the correct way to go about planning for growth, but sometimes it may be years before you are actually ready to start the design and building process.

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Building a new station requires the right amount of capital and time. If those two requirements are not available, you’re probably not ready to build. So, what can be done to your current station in the meantime to help increase functionality, curb appeal and comfort? Consider these five do-it-yourself projects to improve your facility.

  1. Power Wash and/or Repaint Your Exterior
    The building’s exterior is the first thing locals and visitors see when driving past your station. A clean exterior can help foster the community’s sense of pride in their fire department. Power washing or painting the outside of your building can revitalize an old or outdated structure, and it’s fairly inexpensive to do.

    Be sure to consult with a professional before undertaking this job. It’s crucial to select the correct paint to use on the station’s different exterior surfaces, and power washing may cause damage to certain materials.
     
  2. Renovate Bathrooms and Kitchen
    A great way to delight your firefighters is to upgrade the bathrooms and kitchens. These areas are used on a daily basis, so they take a beating. Kitchen and bathroom renovations can be carried out with minimal cost to the station and can sometimes provide the most benefit.

    Consider painting or staining the cabinets or replacing the current floor with tile or vinyl composite tile (VCT). Even occasionally hiring someone to deep clean these rooms can provide the feel of a new station.
  3. Build a Storage Shed
    One of the most common complaints we hear from departments is the lack of storage space. Sometimes when visiting a station, it’s amazing to see how much “stuff” is inside the bays. Clutter makes buildings seem messy and appear smaller. Over time, it can accumulate to inhibit flow of foot traffic through the building.

    Adding an exterior storage shed is a simple, inexpensive solution to this problem. By making a home for extra equipment and supplies, you can clear your bays and living space for a safer and tidier environment. Of course, be sure to check the local building codes to find out if you need a permit before proceeding.
     
  4. Conduct Regular Roof Maintenance
    Water damage can be one of the worst hazards for a building and its equipment. Constant leaks may end up causing more damage to the facility than the price of a new roof. Keeping water away from your building is one of the best preventative measures to decrease water damage.

    Clean out gutters on a regular basis, and check the flashing. Remove all overhanging tree limbs, and check for signs of insects. As a short-term fix, patch existing leaks. Ultimately, if your roof hasn’t been well maintained, it may be time to replace it. Water damage is a problem that will never go away unless repaired properly.
     
  5. Freshen Up Interior Finishes and Lighting
    A fresh coat of paint can go a long way in the bays and office areas. Sometimes in the bay areas, the vinyl insulation in the ceiling may start to turn a yellow color. Clean it with the right solution to help improve the look and brightness of your bays. Remember to test the cleaning solution on a small area before applying it on the entire insulation.

    Also, having the correct lighting can make a huge difference. Buying new fixtures or switching to fluorescent or LED lighting will make your station look brighter, especially after a fresh coat of paint.

Summary

There are many other things you can do to your station to help with its appearance and functionality until you’re ready to build a new facility. Seeking guidance from an experienced professional is always a good first step.

Having a five- to 10-year plan to build a new station is a great idea, but maintenance on your current station in the meantime will have a positive impact on your department and your community.

As a Project Developer at Bobbitt Design Build, Chris Goins has worked on multiple fire station design-build projects. Over the past 20 years, Bobbitt has been a pioneer in design build for fire stations across the Carolinas and is recognized throughout the industry for quality work.
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