Windsor's new fire hall built to withstand flooding, earthquakes

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Windsor's new fire hall built to withstand flooding, earthquakes

Windsor's new fire hall built to withstand flooding, earthquakes

The base for future emergency response in Windsor is built to withstand seismic activity and flooding from 100-year rains.

Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens and Fire Chief Stephen Laforet cut the ribbon outside Fire Hall No. 6 on Provincial Road Thursday morning.

"This facility is designed with the best technology," Dilkens said during the official opening. "It's designed to accommodate all the people who need to be in the room providing information, feeding information, looking at information and making decisions in real time"

The 13,800 square-foot building houses the city's Emergency Operations Centre, two truck bays and living quarters for up to eight firefighters and two captains.

The emergency centre includes a large policy room where many screens line the walls.

"What that allows us to do is take information in from a number of sources," said Laforet. "We have a 64-port switch here which means we can take in multiple feeds from whether it's television, whether it's an internet feed, whether it's a snow plow program that facilities use or traffic cameras, and we can take that information here and display it on any of these screens."

Laforet said in the event of an emergency, the room is large enough so that all necessary parties will have space to work, research, and execute an action plan. He said that depending on what happened, people in that room during a disaster could include police, fire and rescue teams, city engineers, social workers, hydro or gas experts, and those people bring assistants. 

"What it brings for us is efficiency," said Laforet, adding that the technology and space to work is key for coming up with a quick action plan in the event of a disaster. 

He added the response centre is equipped to handle a variety of situations "from a relatively localized event such as a fire to something more widespread like a flood or a tornado"

The site was built to withstand and respond to a "variety of emergency events," from industrial fires to flooding.

Laforet said that the building has a large generator in case of power outages, but that trained teams can conduct emergency response "on a piece of paper."

Dilkens said the station, including the emergency response facility, cost about $5.1-million and construction was completed "under budget and ahead of schedule."

The placement of the new fire hall was important because it better serves areas of Windsor where fire response time "was not as good" as the city would have liked it to be, Dilkens said. 

"This was actually designed to better serve the needs of the expanded part of the city that were undeserved."

Dilkens said as per an environmental assessment, Provincial Road needs to be expanded to accommodate traffic, but there are no concrete plans for that expansion at this time. 

"So we've got Cabana Road is sort of the first priority making sure we have the right width there and the right space there to move to the new hospital location, but in terms of Provincial Road that is something that is on the books, ready to go once the funding is available."