FIRE STATION SITING
Public Services Committee
Whereas the primary responsibility of the Arlington County Fire Department is to protect lives and property in an efficient and effective manner, taking into consideration human needs, geographic limitations and economic realities;
Whereas, siting of fire stations is a highly sophisticated enterprise, based not merely on response times but also on fire suppression demand, medical assistance needs, effective fire fighting/EMS force, occupancy, and historical occurrence, and often determined by advanced technologies including, but not limited to Geographic Information Systems (GIS);
Whereas, a generally accepted ratio of fire stations to population is 1:22,0001 and the residential population of Arlington County is projected to be 212,900 by 2020 (current nighttime population of 190,000) and the employment population to be 275,800 (current daytime of 270,000) from the significant population growth anticipated in the near future as a result of redevelopment of Rosslyn 2, Clarendon-Courthouse, Columbia Pike, Crystal City and Pentagon City 3 and, in addition to significant projected population growth 4, it is projected that call volume will increase significantly 5, meaning longer response times (14.6% were outside the 3-minute call range in 2000) and/or fewer "first due" responses;
Whereas, communities and neighborhoods have a vested interest in the proximity of fire stations to their residents as well as the accompanying challenges public safety facilities can present to neighborhoods;
Whereas, representatives of all the neighborhoods whose primary Fire/EMS provider is the Cherrydale Fire Station spent a considerable amount of time in 1989-1990, working in concert with the Fire Department and other governmental entities on the selection of a location for a new Cherrydale Fire Station, and the voters of Arlington approved two separate bond issuances (1990 and 1994, respectively) for the construction of a fire station on what was originally referred to as the Nichols site6, only to have to begin the process anew in 2002 when the County Board approved a site plan for development of the Nichols site. This site was subsequently sold to a private developer;
Whereas, much of the information upon which a site selection would be made for the relocation of Fire Station #3 (Cherrydale) was directly linked to the relocation of Fire Station #8 (Halls Hill/Lee Highway) and serious community concerns have been voiced over the possible closing of Fire Station #4 (Clarendon) and, as such, recent studies have focused on the possible relocation, consolidation or addition of other fire stations within Arlington County to meet changing needs for service, increasing populations, changing demographics, aging fire department facilities while attempting to service all of Arlington County's residents and workers within a four-minute response time7;
Therefore, Be It Resolved by the Arlington County Civic Federation that the County government is strongly encouraged to develop a formal process for citizen input into fire station siting issues, including, but not limited to, a reasonable and continuous stream of communication (site status and funding) to the immediately affected neighborhoods as well as the community at large, until such time as a final site is selected and acquired and funding expenditures commence and that citizen input be formally incorporated into facility design for all future station renovations, replacements or additions;
And Be it Further Resolved that we join the Cherrydale Volunteer Fire Department, the Cherrydale Citizens Association, the County Board's Fire Station #3 Relocation Task Force in requesting the County act to obtain enough land on the so-called Nichols/Bromptons site, across Pollard Street from the existing historic Cherrydale Fire Station, to construct the new Cherrydale Fire Station on that site;
And Be It Further Resolved that the Arlington County Civic Federation encourages the County Government to begin planning for an 11th fire station to serve Arlington residents and workers while continuing its analyses, in conjunction with affected residents, based on both the Routley and Tri-Data reports, of the best locations for fire stations to meet service and response time needs as well as to most effectively comport with mutual aid agreements and response times to and from Arlington with neighboring jurisdictions.
1 Civic Association conversation with Deputy Chief Shawn Kelley, December 2002. Other siting standards utilize square miles served.
2 The Tri-Data and Routley reports indicate that the population of Rosslyn alone could triple within the next twenty years.
3 Also mentioned as higher growth areas, though not as significant as the corridors, are the Glebe/I-395 intersection and Shirlington (Routley)
4 Source: Council of Governments (Tri-Data, p. 2)
5 Projected to reach 41,363 by 2020 (as opposed to 27,737 in 2000) according to the high-growth scenario (Tri-Data, p. 11).
6 Located on Lee Highway immediately adjacent to the existing Cherrydale Volunteer Fire Station
7 Four-minute response time is an accepted standard for urban response and one to which the ACFD aspires in 80 to 90% of its responses. Several areas of the County still are outside the four-minute response time range. This is horizontal response (to curb only) and does not consider vertical response for high-rise occupants.
This page was last revised on: January 25, 2004.