After having only one fire station for many years, it won’t be too long before the Wesley Chapel area has three. On Sept. 17, Pasco County Fire Rescue (PCFR) hosted a groundbreaking event for Fire Station No. 38, located on Overpass Rd., west of Curley Rd., near Watergrass Elementary.
The station shows the foresight of PCFR’s long-term strategic plan.
“Wesley Chapel is a booming population center,” PCFR public information officer Corey Dierdorff said. “With new developments like Epperson and Watergrass already populated and new developments north of the new station, like Ashley Groves, already being permitted and approved, it means higher call volume. Without more stations, higher call volume means longer response times. We’re looking at putting stations in ahead of (new) development.”
Longer response times also can mean the difference between life and death. That’s why the new four-bay, 10,843 square foot Station 38 will feature some state-of-the-art technology when it opens in about a year.
The PURVIS Fire Station Alerting System (FSAS) is an award-winning, IP-based solution designed to automate the process of alerting fire and rescue personnel, enhance communications and decrease response times. Station 38 will be the first in Pasco County to utilize the system.
“Let’s say calls for chest pain, shortness of breath and a car accident all come in at the same time,” Deputy Chief of Operations Michael Cassano said. “Right now, all three calls will stack and be dispatched one at a time. With the PURVIS System, they’ll all be dispatched at the same time.”
The new system could cut critical seconds or even minutes off of response times. While Station 38 will be the first in Pasco with the new system, PCFR plans to retrofit the rest of the stations across the county in future years.
Station 38 also will employ new technology to keep its firefighters safer and better rested. To keep them safer, the new fire station will employ a Plymovent diesel exhaust capture system. Plymovent is a global leading supplier of products, systems and services for the extraction and filtration of polluted indoor air. What oftentimes happens in the bays is a truck idles while emitting both carbon monoxide (CO) and the carcinogen Benzene.
“A lot of our bay doors open into living quarters and the trucks are spewing Benzene all over the bays,” Cassano said. “With this new safe air system, it monitors the atmospheric conditions in the bay and can automatically turn on fans, regulate temperature and even open bay doors.”
Another benefit for firefighters at Station 38 will be how the PURVIS System alerts them. Currently, a quick blast is emitted over the station’s speaker system. With the new PURVIS System, the tones gradually increase in volume. Additionally, the alerts can be targeted toward only the firefighters needed for a particular call and not the entire station.
“We found that many firefighters endure sleep deprivation,” Cassano said. “When you wake up to a loud noise, it triggers catacholamine release (in your brain) and a fight or flight mindset. This was happening every time firefighters would get a call. It’s designed with the goal of being a more humane notification system.”
Station 38 marks the first additional fire coverage area in Pasco County since 2009 and the first new coverage area in East Pasco County since 2007.
Not far behind Station 38’s groundbreaking will be the opening of the new Station No. 13. Located off of Old Pasco Rd., the new station had its groundbreaking in March. The old Station 13 at 27329 Dayflower Rd. is an aging facility that has become inadequate to handle the population growth in the area.
When it opens in January, the new Station 13 will be 9,400 square feet, have space for a Pasco County Sheriff’s substation and three drive-through bays able to accommodate six fire vehicles.
“In Pasco County, county wide, we are issuing 300 residential permits a month,” Dierdorff said. “The growth is incredible but our aim is to provide the best fire and medical coverage.”