History of the fire station
The former fire station was built in 1973
The former fire station, adjacent to the municipal workshops located at 1875 Avenue Bédard, was built in 1973 when the population was fewer than 3,000 inhabitants. The garage only accommodated three vehicles and the Fire Chief had to ask his firefighters to leave their shared office whenever he needed to make a confidential phone call!
Official opening of the current fire station on November 26, 2015
The current fire station officially opened its doors on November 26, 2015. Strategically located in the heart of Town, on the former Urecon site, it was built to better meet the needs of Saint-Lazare's population which, in 2016, was close to 20,000 inhabitants.
Nearly 800% increase in emergency calls answered in 2015
In 2015, the Fire Department responded to 600 medical calls and 450 emergency calls, compared to 119 emergency calls in 1999—an increase of almost 800%!
At 15,000 square feet compared to the previous 1,800 square feet, the current fire station was built to withstand tornadoes and earthquakes. It is completely self-sustaining thanks a diesel generator that can handle 100% of operations. The fire station is also certified in emergency preparedness and civil security in the event of a major disaster. Its emergency control area, equipped with multiple screens and a call center, enables remote management of emergency situations and events through technologies such as videoconferencing and video surveillance.
To ensure that firefighters can reach their emergency vehicles quickly (by walking as few steps as possible), the interior layout of the fire station is designed on one level for maximum efficiency. The Ministère requires that at least 10 firefighters be at the scene of a call in 15 minutes or less, hence the importance of calculating every single step needed to reach it. As the safest building in the Town, the fire station also houses the computer data center, which is equipped with an independent ventilation and cooling system.
The current fire station features:
- A garage now capable of accommodating a dozen or so vehicles;
- A 35-foot-high fire hose drying tower with multiple windows;
- Ventilated locker rooms equipped with heat lamps to dry combat equipment;
- A monitoring and telecommunications station;
- Several administrative offices, some of which are equipped with wall beds, which could be needed if emergency measures are implemented;
- A dormitory with retractable wall beds to maximize the use of space and provide the option of transforming the room into a training or practice room, for example;
- All other features of a typical fire station, including a communal kitchen, rest areas, storage, a workshop, laundry room, emergency showers, etc.
The Town of Saint-Lazare's fire department has always been a pioneer in the region, specifically given its implementation of numerous initiatives.
In 2001, the fire department introduced external on-call firefighters. At all times, based on a rotation of 4 teams, 5 firefighters and 1 officer are always ready to respond to any emergency situation.
In 2011, the department brought back the first responder service (then provided by volunteers) and implemented the on-duty guard service through which 2 firefighters are present at all times to respond to medical and fire emergencies in addition to the external on-call team composed of 6 firefighters, 1 lieutenant and 1 Chief of Operations.
The department ensures the presence of a minimum of 10 firefighters at all times on the territory. It responds to an average of 450 emergency calls and 600 medical calls every year.
Another interesting initiative is the smoke alarm verification program implemented in 2007. Through the program, homeowners are visited by inspectors every five years and apartment building tenants are visited annually.
The construction of new municipal infrastructures is rarely welcomed with open arms by the population, whether it be new shops, a new town hall or a new fire station—and, in Saint-Lazare’s case, the council chose to build them all at the same time! It was clear, however, that this was a necessity as infrastructures were aging, becoming obsolete and dangerous, and were often no longer compliant with building and safety codes. The project took nearly 10 years to complete, mostly because the municipal administration wanted to ensure that it could take advantage of Component 5 of the Quebec-Municipalities Infrastructure Program (QMIP) in order to reduce the bill for taxpayers.
The total cost of construction was $5.2 million; however, the Town received $2,685,372 in government assistance as part of the Quebec-Municipalities Infrastructure Program (QMIP), representing 55% of the overall cost.
In preparing its specifications, the City stressed the importance of having a green building and ensuring the well-being of its employees.
- Outdoor and indoor LED lights (except garage);
- Fresh air entering the building is treated by a thermal wheel recovery unit (heat from the air is extracted from the building and transferred to the air entering the building). This contributes significantly to reducing energy consumption;
- Heating and air conditioning using heat pumps that provide heat transfer between rooms to reduce energy consumption required for heating;
- Abundance of natural light in occupied spaces;
- Triple-pane windows for better energy efficiency;
- Multi-intensity garage lighting;
- Skylights and glass garage doors for increased lighting;
- Room lighting with presence detectors (automatic on/off);
Reduced water consumption
- Toilets and sinks equipped with automatic commercial fittings;
- Sanitary appliances with low water consumption;
- 45,000-litre underground water reservoir with sensor, used during firefighter practice drills for the purposes of water recovery;
- Planting of approximately 50 different species of trees on the site in order to reduce heat islands;
- Completely vegetated lot;
- Water retention on site.
Quality of indoor spaces
- Natural ventilation through operational windows, to help cut down on use of mechanical ventilation systems;
- Independent control of heating/air-conditioning systems by occupants for increased comfort.