|Mar 01, 2012 --
Graton Fire Protection District, a local fire protection service in Northern California, faced many challenged beyond what normal fire fighters encounter in their day to day work. The Graton Fire Protection District was housed in a 1940's train depot, which was not structurally conducive to getting to fires quickly and had no sleeping dormitories for firefighters, resulting in delayed responses in emergency situations. Additionally, the-out dated train depot was not ADA-compliant and had very limited space for housing the firefighters and fire vehicles. With 7,800 people in the surrounding local communities depending on their public service, it became critical that the fire protection district build a new station.
USDA Rural Development provided a $3.5 million Community Facilities loan to Graton Fire Protection District to construct a new fire station that is ADA-compliant and meets essential needs of the firefighters.
The new fire station is 14,339 square feet, complete with a new kitchen, larger bays, gym, and laundry room. The new fire station provides the firefighters with living quarters that house 8 firefighters, allowing for a more immediate response and adequate coverage around the clock. The new fire station also houses 10 fire trucks, allowing for multiple responses throughout the growing counties they serve.
The new fire station is also located near a major freeway cutting down response time and making more areas easily accessible. Which is particularly critical since the expansion has resulted in increased mutual aid coverage into parts of Western Santa Rosa and Sonoma County; meaning that they now respond to calls within their county and 58 surrounding counties.
And, when they are at the station waiting for emergency calls, the firefighters can now continue training and preparing for a variety of situations in their fully equipped training facility. Here, firefighters train new staff and hold safety meetings.
"Our new fire station has allowed us to grow from a volunteer department into a full-time station." said Deputy Fire Chief Bill Bullard. "And now that everything is up to code and more structurally sound, we can focus our attention and efforts on further improving safety in the our local communities."
The Graton Fire Protection District is growing at a 5% annual rate, and expects to start hiring more firefighters in the next 5-10 years.
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