HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — For two hundred years, Huntsville Fire & Rescue has put out flames and responded to emergencies.
Now work is underway to add a new fire station within city limits and Limestone County.
Keneisha Deas caught up with the Fire Chief on why this new station is needed to keep up with the city’s growth and development.
“2022 is Huntsville Fire & Rescue’s 200th anniversary. It was established in 1822, and has been providing the best service we can since then,” said Huntsville Fire & Rescue Chief Mac McFarlen.
McFarlen wants to maintain that level of public service, especially as the Huntsville area continues to expand. “The city has grown, as anyone knows tremendously, we've got a lot of growth and we've got to be able to cover that growth,” said McFarlen.
It’s why local funds for a new fire station were approved and included in Huntsville City Council's Capital Plan last September.
The chief explains they need this new station near Burgreen Road. “There’s lots of things to look at. Our main thing we look at is response time. We look at response time which is super important to saving property and saving lives in time of emergencies.”
Another reason why a new station is needed is because of ‘Insurance Services Office' or ‘ISO’ ratings. This classifies several industries, including fire departments, from a scale of one to ten. One is the best, and ten is the worst.
The lower the class, the lower homeowner’s insurance rates.
“ISO in Huntsville is ISO Class One, and it’s very hard to maintain. To put that, I guess, in perspective, the Insurance Services Office, they actually rate over 50,000 fire departments in the United States. And only three in a thousand, not three in a hundred, are able to achieve ISO Class One rating.”
A design for the new station isn’t cemented just yet, however; "We have just about got our design down to where its form follows function. We've got a station design, it functions really well. It's efficient, it's effective. Our personnel liked the design of it. So, we'll take one of the existing stations that we really like and we'll start from there and make a few tweaks to make sure that we get everything in place to make it better,” said McFarlen.
The chief says right now they are in the architectural phase for the new fire station.