The City of Richmond’s latest fire hall is special for a number of reasons.
As well as being the biggest of its kind in Richmond, the new, 26,000-square-foot, $20.7 million Cambie Fire Hall No. 3 houses the city’s fire truck mechanic shop and a new training facility.
More significantly, the shiny building – which became operational in May after replacing the the 55-year-old Bridgeport Fire Hall – is the first in a major B.C. city to integrate with the ambulance service.
And during a media tour of the building Wednesday, ahead of next week’s public open house, both the fire and ambulance departments lauded the benefits of being housemates.
“It’s about learning to assist each other in emergency situations and it also builds the rapport,” said Roger Mah, acting unit chief for the B.C. Ambulance Service’s Station 250, which is now based at Fire Hall No. 3, on Cambie and No. 4 roads.
“I’ll be helping to orientate the new recruits in the fire department training facility next week; helping them know where we store equipment in our ambulances, for example.
“It just makes the (emergency) calls more seamless. If they don’t know where that piece of equipment is, then I would have to leave the immediate area and go show them or get it myself.”
Equally pleased with his new tenants, Brian MacLeod, Richmond Fire-Rescue spokesperson, pointed out there is usually “lots of collaboration (between the services) after calls.
“They would have to come to us or us to them to go through things; now we can do that in the same house,” explained MacLeod.
Other unique features of the new fire hall are its state-of-the art rapid opening bay doors to help speed response in emergencies. The City of Richmond has signed a 20-year lease with British Columbia Emergency Health Service (BCEHS) to co-locate Ambulance Station No. 250 within the new fire hall.
The ambulance bay has space for up to six ambulances, making it one of the biggest ambulance stations in the Lower Mainland.
Both the fire and ambulance sides of the building have new kitchen and resting quarters, as well as a new, shared gym.
The city and BCEHS are hosting a grand opening of the new fire hall on Saturday, Oct. 14, complete with free tours from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., fun family activities and safety demonstrations by fire fighters and paramedics.
The new facility has room for future growth and also includes a public art installation by Daniel Laskarin, which comprises of three interlocked triangular panels standing on a raised circular platform, with a flickering glow inside.