Fire station renovations on track

By: Linda Shepard | Rochester Post | Published June 8, 2016

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ROCHESTER HILLS — When it was built in 1956, the Brooklands Fire Station was all about firefighting.

But modern fire departments are equipped to handle almost any emergency — including medical aid, fire suppression, car accidents, hazardous material handling and more, while also providing a variety of public education, safety programs and building inspections.

“We make 18 to 20 runs a day,” said Rochester Hills Fire Department Lt. Fire Inspector Bill Cooke. “There are days we are in the 30s.”

Full-time firefighter/paramedics are on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Paid on-call personnel are scheduled for emergency medical service coverage and provide on-call response during fire emergencies.

Thanks to a voter-approved city charter amendment authorizing funding, an $8 million renovation to four city fire stations is currently underway. The stations will receive larger equipment bay doors, gender-specific locker rooms, kitchens, fitness rooms and more.

The Brooklands station, on Auburn Road near John R, will have 2,000 square feet of extra space when completed later this summer. Sleeping areas for employees on a 24-hour shift include beds, desks and wardrobes, with lighting and alarm sounds designed for maximum impact. New windows keep the sleeping areas dark.

“We had bunk beds before,” Cooke said. “Now it is nice to have your own space.”

Construction on the Brooklands station will be completed this summer, Cooke said. Trailers keep the fire stations running smoothly during the renovation process. 

The city has five fire stations, as well as a mutual aid agreement with bordering communities. Fire stations are located on Horizon Court, Walton Boulevard, Tienken Road, and two stations are located on Auburn Road. All renovations are due to be complete this summer, except for Station 1 on Tienken Road, which is scheduled to be rebuilt in 2017, Cooke said.

According to Rochester Hills Fire Chief Sean Canto, the Rochester Hills Fire Department responds to nearly 6,700 incidents per year. The new city charter amendment authorizes the city to levy up to 3 mills for Fire Department funding.

“This is a project for our residents,” Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett said. “We and the residents put our money where our mouth is for safety.”

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