Back in 2012 the Novato Fire Protection District relocated one of their stations so it could be rebuilt. Talking with the firefighters, there have been some challenges for them but none that have affected their performance.
Fire station 64, also known as station four, was “deteriorating” Sandy Wargo, Public Information Officer for the Novato Fire Protection District said. While the old fire station facility had to go, a decision was made to keep the property. The district had to find a temporary home for station 64 while their original station was knocked down and a process for plans to eventually build a new one. A temporary space was found near Hamilton Marketplace and across the street from the Los Robles retirement community.
Their temporary home for the last 14 months consists of a series of trailers formed into a livable unit. There is also a storage unit and a large, beige tent that is their apparatus bay or garage where the fire engine is kept. “It's going smooth here. I think everybody is looking forward to the new station being built and getting back to our old location and getting settled in,” Captain Scott Freedman said.
Their temporary move took place in late 2012 and they have some items from the old station which includes tables, chairs, desks and beds. The kitchen appliances came with the new facility. It is temporary and the department has to make sure the rebuild happens. "We have to be on a timeline because of the (SMART) train coming through on this site,” Wargo said.
The crews have found there are some challenges at their new location, one of which is keeping fit. “One of the difficult things for them was the workout facility, problem one," she said.
Firefighters often work out at the firehouse when they have the lowest call volume, which is usually around 9 a.m. “This temporary station does not have a workout facility, the crews still need to keep in shape, not only to prevent injuries to themselves but to make sure that they can complete their job correctly. They have a contract with a local gym but that means firefighters have to leave the temporary station to exercise and that's not conducive to this kind of job,” Wargo said.
Some things have not changed. There are three firefighters assigned for each 48 hour shift, a Captain, an Engineer who drives the engine, and a Firefighter – Paramedic. “We're doing the same job that we were doing before and just as efficient,” Freedman said.
Some members of the community have expressed concern about response times due to the change in location. Wargo explained that this is the reason the Novato Fire Protection District kept the station going. “We're still delivering top notch service."
The Captain says all of the Firefighters are looking forward to the new, larger firehouse which will include the engine that they have now and the medic unit. "When that station is built it might house our new ladder truck (105' truck with an aerial ladder that they recently received) and an engine is what I believe is slated there, possibly an ambulance.” They are keeping in mind that this present facility is only temporary. ”We know we're only here for a little while, so we're not getting 100 percent settled in. We know we're moving and getting back into a more permanent structure," Freedman said.
In the meantime they want the public to know that they will continue to provide their usual, high level of service. "I want to let the community know that anytime anybody would like to come and take a look at the station, to schedule an appointment with me. They're welcome to schedule a tour with me," Wargo said.
To schedule a fire station tour at any of Novato Fire Stations, contact Fire Prevention Specialist Sandy Wargo at 878-2623 or firstname.lastname@example.org