The Lodi Area Fire Department (LAFD) has contracted with Public Administration Associates, LLC out of Whitewater to conduct a study of the existing fire and EMS stations based on their current and future effectiveness. Based on these projections, the EMS station is ample to serve the community for at least the next 20+ years. The fire station, however, needs to be replaced.
Understanding the Decision
The decision to construct a new fire station is based on assessments in 4 areas:
- Physical structure of the existing station, including size and condition
- Safety concerns for fire fighters and surrounding area
- Accessibility and use of the current building, with particular attention to the growth of the community
- Insurance rating, including available equipment, staff, and response times.
This last factor–Insurance Service Office (ISO) rating–is important to residents and business owners in the fire district. ISO provides data to insurance companies–in this case on the quality of service provided by the LAFD. The rating given to LAFD tells insurance companies how to set their rates. A lower rating means higher insurance premiums for property owners.
The report from PAA includes a list of 20 factors they surveyed. 19 of those are listed as “deficient”. Only the HVAC was was deemed sufficient. Deficient factors included insufficient space for standard fire trucks (raising the cost of purchasing new ones), improper storage space for emergency gear, lack of sufficient restroom facilities (there is no women’s restroom), electrical issues, and a failing roof.
PAA looked at the option of renovating the current building, expanding it, or building a new facility on the existing property. All these options were ruled out. The primary reason was lack of space.
A New Location
The recommendation was made to build a new fire station at a new site. A few options were presented, but the most attractive location is near the intersection of Hwy 113 and Cty J1Near Ness Automotive. The availability of vacant land in the area makes it easier to build without disrupting other businesses or residences.
The relocation would also shift the “5-mile response area” to include more populated areas such as West Point and Okee. This improves the ISO rating for those areas, and provides much better protection for homes located there.
An Additional Location
PAA’s other recommendation was the addition of a second station located in Harmony Grove. Harmony Grove has a municipal water system, but this can’t be factored into the ISO rating for the area because it’s outside the 5-minute response area of the current station.
The construction of a small station, equipped with a single tanker/pumper truck would qualify Harmony Grove for an improved ISO rating. Approximately 25% of the current firefighters live in the Grove. Having equipment close at hand would significantly increase response time for the area.
The Fire Department is considering their options and moving forward with the planning stages.
A Lodi native, Blaze attended the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay where he graduated with a degree in theatre technology & design. He has traveled extensively throughout the United States and the world–including a 6-year stint in China. He has been a teacher, a writer, a designer, and is the founder of the Redleaf Consulting Group.
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