Saturday, Oct. 30 will mark the ribbon cutting and open house of the new Alvin Volunteer Fire Department and Emergency Medical Services station.
The public is invited to attend the ribbon cutting at 10 a.m., followed by an open house until 2 p.m. at 801 E. South Street.
The 30,000 square foot building combines both serves under one roof at a cost of $11 million, and took 18 months to construct, according to Alvin Volunteer Fire Department Chief Rex Klesel.
A new ladder fire truck, named “Tower 1” will be on display for citizens to get a close look. It replaces the old 27-year-old ladder truck which will be sold by the city.
“We want to encourage the citizens of Alvin to see what their tax money is used for and we want them to meet the firefighters and medics who protect them,” said the Chief.
The structure, which sits on five acres, was purchased by the city, with the intention of being a new fire station; however, during discussions about the city’s needs for emergency services, it was determined that a new EMS station was also needed.
A study of the property showed that the Mustang area lacked adequate fire protection, thus the location was ideal to meet that need, said Klesel.
He added that a survey showed that the site is in a 500-year flood plan, and an additional eight feet of height was added during construction. “We built the property up in anticipation of flooding,” said Klesel. “During one of the worst storms we have had, Hurricane Harvey, the property did not flood,” he added.
Klesel noted that the new station was built to withstand 160 mph winds, which would include a Category 4 hurricane. There is also a back up generator, should the city lose power during a storm, allowing it to be self-sufficient.
The building has a kitchen to prepare food for crew members on duty and a training center, which both entities can use, as well as the Alvin Police Department. “Our goal was to have it big enough to hold most of our training needs,” said Klesel.
The room is located between the fire and EMS buildings, making them easily accessible for training either individually, or with both training together. There are two classrooms which can hold 95 seated and several hundred standing. Since
Ambulances answer structure fire along with the dire department. Thus, training with both organizations is necessary.
Alvin’s EMS covers not only the city limits, but also part of Brazoria County, which includes a 20 square mile area. They have already responded to almost 6,000 calls for service this year. The fire department covers 100 square miles and has had 600 calls thus far this year.
In the EMS portion of the building, there are dorms for six medics when they are on night duty, two restrooms with showers, a day room, kitchen and administration offices.
There are currently 71 volunteer men and women firefighters who serve Alvin and all are on call 24 hours a day. Five full-time paid staff members and three part-time staff members are also on duty. There are a total of eight fire trucks in the three fire stations within the city, with six captains at each station who live within the areas of their stations.
EMS houses three ambulances and a van, with a new ambulance coming in the future. There are 18 full-time medics and 23 part-time.
All administration offices for both EMS and fire are housed in the new facility as well.
An interesting note was that part of the contract was to have the statue of a full-length fireman moved from the old fire station to the new one. The statue of the man alone is about 1,000 lbs., but the granite base added to that weight, making it difficult to move.
A new tanker truck has been ordered, thanks to a grant which paid for half its cost.