Fire Station Location Project
Fire Departments across the country are in transition. The three main reasons include challenges in:
- recruiting and retaining non-career firefighters
- achieving best practices for firefighter health and safety
- accommodating modern firefighting equipment, training, and operations
Golden Valley is no different. In 2016, the Golden Valley Fire Department (GVFD) completed a study to identify what it needs to do to continue to provide the community with high-quality, fast, and efficient emergency services while being fiscally responsible with taxpayer funding. This was followed in 2020 by a study of all City facilities to determine future needs and opportunities.
Location, Location, Location
The City’s three current fire station locations are not geographically optimized for today’s updated highway system. Station 3 provides coverage for Minneapolis, while Station 2 (Turners Crossroad) no longer connects to main roads but also provides coverage into St Louis Park. Renovating existing stations is not feasible due to costs and restrictions posed by the current site sizes.
To improve efficiencies and response times, the City needs to consolidate Stations 2 and 3 to one remote fire station along the Hwy 100 corridor.
This fall the City will begin a process to select a site for a new remote fire station, a priority determined by a 2021 analysis of all of its facilities and how they meet community needs.
The City of Golden Valley hosted a Fire Station Location Open House Tue, Oct 25, 4–8 pm at Fire Station One for community members to meet with staff, learn more about the project, and ask questions.
Community members who didn't attend the open house are encouraged to review the open house materials and submit feedback below.
Golden Valley’s fire stations were established to support a paid on-call staffing structure, which is no longer sustainable in today’s culture. Fire departments nationwide are finding it more and more difficult to recruit and retain paid on-call firefighters due to increased family and job obligations. This is also making it more difficult to respond to fire calls within Industry response-time standards.
The 2016 study concluded Golden Valley needs to move from a three-station paid on-call staffing model to a two-station duty crew staffing model. To accommodate this, the City needs facilities to house firefighters 24 hours a day.
In response to recruiting challenges and retention issues, in March 2022 the GVFD began staffing duty crews, rotating between the three fire stations. Each crew includes 3–4 paid on-call firefighters scheduled from 5–11 pm Mon–Fri, with full-time GVFD staff (chief officers and fire inspectors) covering 8 am–5 pm Mon–Fri.
The table (right) shows the difference in response numbers and times for paid on-call and duty crew models. As the GVFD continues to shift to a full-time duty crew staff with two stations, numbers for call response and response times are expected to continue improving.
The duty crew model has also enabled the GVFD to respond to an additional 23 types of medical calls, which were previously handled by Golden Valley Police Department and ambulance services.
GVFD’s current facilities do not provide adequate measures to protect firefighter health and safety. Stations are not equipped with ample workspace to reduce exposure to carcinogens and proper facilities to clean carcinogens off equipment and gear. They also lack a protected space for firefighters to dress for calls.
The transition to duty crew staffing will ensure long-term resiliency of the fire department and its operations. Facilities must first accommodate contemporary firefighting equipment and enable best firefighting practices. This includes:
- drive-through truck bays
- space to avoid conflicts with large vehicles and pedestrians
- a protected space for firefighters to dress for calls
- equitable facilities for male and female staff
- improved spaces for maintenance, hands-on training, and physical fitness training
Lack of adequate training space means most training occurs on concrete and outdoors, which is not ideal in winter.
Current stations do not have sleeping quarters.
Current facilities do not offer adequate locker room space, including gender-equitable amenities.
Photos show Station 2 locker rooms—first photo is men’s and second is women’s.