Fire Station Quality & Safety

The Firefighter Cancer Support Network (FCSN) has found that 61% of line-of-duty career-firefighter deaths were caused by cancer from 2002 - 2016 and that in 2016 alone cancer caused 70% of the career-firefighter death toll. Firefighters are also 9% more likely to be diagnosed with cancer and 14% more likely to die from cancer than the general population.

According to The Journal of Occupation and Environmental Medicine:

  • Firefighters classified by insurance companies as high hazard
  • Demonstrate high incidence of heart attacks, high blood pressure and cancer
  • When compared to other workers, firefighters face more risk in developing these cancers:
    • Colon Cancer 21%
    • Stomach Cancer 22%
    • Prostate Cancer 28%
    • Brain Cancer 32%
    • Skin Cancer 39%
    • Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma 51%
    • Multiple Myeloma 53%
    • Testicular Cancer 102%

Firefighters are exposed to risks to their health and well-being every day on the job; however, they should not have to be at risk of exposure to a plethora of contaminants, carcinogens, and toxins when they return to their station. The fire station should be a reprieve from the caustic environs where the firefighters just returned from and should be focused on mitigating any carcinogens and toxins that were brought back from the field.

EPOCH, a division of Shive-Hattery, is devoted to creating fire stations that are not only functional by creating efficient work flows through plan, but also helping to keep carcinogens and toxins out of the living space of the fire station. If a station is designed poorly, a dangerous cycle can occur

Risk Contamination Cycle Graphic.JPG

Our Approach

Where firefighters respond to a call, are exposed to various containments and carcinogens, return to the station, and - upon returning to a poorly designed station - cross contaminate the station and its living spaces with all the contaminants from their first response. A well designed station can break the cycle by preventing any of those containments from entering the station’s living spaces.

Our Approach Graphic.JPG

Our typical approach to a fire station project is to visit a station in the department, in particular if the fire station being designed/built is a replacement.  The level of input from the department varies and is defined by the Chief.  Once we have an understanding of the department and station culture, we work with the fire department by starting with a programming phase to determine the above.

Because of the bidding and procurement requirements often required in municipalities, more often than not, we include FF&E in the construction package, thereby elevating these costs.  We would expect a station without LEED certification to be less.  Depending on the amount of crew members per shift, apparatus and unique space requirements, a typical fire station can range from 8,000sf to 12,000sf.  This is assuming the fire station only services fire, EMS, water rescue, etc.

“Who We Are.” Firefighter Cancer Support Network, Firefighter Cancer Support Network,
Erickson, Paul R. “F.I.E.R.O.”