PUBLIC SAFETY: Longboat Key, FL
Located on a barrier island between Sarasota Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, Longboat Key Fire Station #92 posed several unique challenges. In addition to the clean lines and smooth surfaces that take inspiration from the Sarasota School aesthetic, the structure includes all the enhanced features of a modern fire station, including a kitchen, gym, bedrooms, television room, and a report writing room. But considerations of public health and public safety took the station beyond these standard elements.
As a Fire Station situated on the Gulf Coast of Florida, the structure needed to be resilient and be able to withstand hurricane-force winds and flooding. To that end, the station is designed to withstand winds up to 166 mph and the land was raised to meet the flood plain requirements. This makes the building one of the most resilient structures on the island, an important feature when considering firefighters and EMS personnel must respond quickly to community needs after hurricanes. It also features a dedicated weather tracking apparatus to ensure the station’s personnel are the first to know of updates to storm trajectories and duration.
The second challenge was to incorporate the health of area residents and the firefighters themselves into the design. Near the station’s front entrance on the South end, a public medical facility provides the island’s residents with basic walk-in medical care, meaning they don’t have to drive to the mainland for more minor injuries. The station also incorporates a comprehensive plan for the health and safety of the firefighters and EMS personnel themselves, honoring the most up-to-date recommendations of the International Association of Fire Fighters. Ventilation in the three apparatus bays, a two-stage decontamination area for personnel, and an extractor to clean a fire fighter’s gear are all designed to reduce exposure to carcinogenic particles that pose long-term risks to first responders.