I’m happy to say that the Fire Industry Equipment Research Organization (F.I.E.R.O.) Fire Station Design Symposium is on for 2009! After initially choosing not to hold the event this year because of the tough economy, organizers reconsidered, noting that fire stations are still being planned or built and, therefore, people still need all the help they can get in this arena. “And with a portion of the economic stimulus package earmarked for fire stations, we decided that we should offer an educational opportunity to help everyone get the best value for the money,” explains Robert Tutterow, F.I.E.R.O. vice-president and the Charlotte (N.C.) Fire Department health and safety officer.

I had the opportunity to attend Fire Station Design Symposium a couple years ago, and I must say, it’s chock-full of useful information for fire personnel and architects alike. Hosted by the Charlotte Fire Department and sponsored by F.I.E.R.O. in partnership with FireRescue magazine and the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), the symposium offers fire service personnel an opportunity to learn the ins and outs of fire station design from architects who have experience designing stations and fire service personnel who have been through the process themselves. Basically, everyone there is a wealth of information.

Some of this year’s session topics and speakers include:
* “Avoiding Mistakes” by Don Collins of the Clemson University Fire Department;
* “How to Get Started” by Ken Newell of Stewart-Cooper-Newell Architects (class will feature a special portion on USDA grants);
* “Maintaining Control of the Construction Process” by Greg Gilbert of BigWaHa Architects; and
* “Cost-Effective Furnishings” by Jim Zwerg of the Phoenix Fire Department.

F.I.E.R.O. will hold its Fire Station Design Symposium on Monday, Nov. 2, at the Charlotte (N.C.) Fire Department Training Academy. Tutterow says organizers are calling the event the “Fire Station Design Symposium—Lite” because the normally 2 ½-day event will be compressed into 1 day to focus on the basics principles that every department should know before embarking on the station building process.

“The cost will be significantly less, as we are fully aware of limited travel budgets during these economic times,” Tutterow explains. “Moreover, the underlying theme of this year’s event is managing costs, both initially and during the life span of the station.”

Another popular part of the symposium is the F.I.E.R.O. Station Design Awards Program. The Awards Program is open to design firms and fire departments that have brought a fire station online during the last several years or have a project “on-the-boards” that has not yet been approved for construction.

Winners will be chosen by five jurors, all fire service personnel with degrees in architecture.
* Don Collins, Captain with the Clemson University Fire Department, is the lead juror. He’s a retired professor with the Clemson University School of Architecture.
* Brad Kobielusz is a Captain with the Poudre Fire Authority in Fort Collins Colorado.
* Jim Zwerg is the staff architect with the Phoenix Fire Department.
* Jeff Harkey is Editor-in-Chief for FireNews.net.
* Blake Redden is a firefighter on Ladder 4 with the Charlotte Fire Department.

Jurors will judge the designs on the Saturday before the event, and present the winners during the Symposium’s Monday lunch hour.

Registration for the F.I.E.R.O. Fire Station Design Symposium includes a 1-year subscription to FireRescue magazine’s digital edition. Register today at www.fierofirestation.com.

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