New fire department improves quality of life for firefighters

  • Published
  • By Amanda Creel
  • 78 ABW/PA
When it comes to creature comforts, there wasn't much to brag about for Robins firefighters who called Station 2 home.

According to the firefighters, the facility had seen better days. However, Tuesday signaled a new era for the firefighters, as the new Station 2 opened its doors with a grand opening.

Maj. Gen. Tom Owen, commander of the Warner Robins Air Logistics Center, said the fire station was a needed addition to help our firefighters continue to protect our flightline and the aircraft that utilize it.

Both General Owen and the guest speaker, Charlie Dickenson, deputy assistant administrator for the U.S Fire Administration, agreed Sept. 11 was the perfect day to open the new fire station because it reminds us all of the dedication all firefighters have to protecting their communities.

Mr. Dickenson said no matter how much technology and fire equipment improves, the fire station is a reflection of the firefighters who are willing to sacrifice their lives out of their commitment to ensure their communities are safe.

"The people truly make the fire department, not the equipment or the facility," Mr. Dickenson said.

The new facility is equipped with everything the firefighters need to complete their mission to protect the Robins community and its aircraft. It also has a few extras to promote morale and help keep the firefighters comfortable in between training and dispatches.

Rick Kavanaugh, the project engineer for the Corps of Engineers, said the biggest changes took place inside the fire station and centered on improving the quality of life for the firefighters.

Chief David Chaplin, Station 2 fire chief, said the new facility, which cost approximately $7 million, was a long-awaited and needed addition to the Robins Fire Department.

One of the things the new fire station boasts is a more central location, which allows them to respond to emergencies no matter where they occur on the flightline more effectively and efficiently, Chief Chaplin said.

The facility also boasts more than 32,000 square feet compared to only 10,315 square feet in the former facility. The new facility has seven stalls capable of holding 13 vehicles inside the station versus five stalls and space for only five vehicles in the former facility. The additional space means the station will no longer have to park vehicles outside of the facility.

"It's nice. It's a lot better than the other station," said Leo Garcia, a civilian firefighter with the station.

All of the firefighters were looking forward to enjoying their new facility and agreed the newer facility created a better work environment.

Other features in the new station include 21 personal bunk rooms, a state-of-the-art testing and training facility, a physical fitness area and a recreation room.

"I am going to stay here everyday. I'm not going home," said Airman 1st Class Robert Crawford, one of the station's firefighters.

Airman Crawford said his favorite parts in the facility included the sauna and the recreation room, which includes a poker table, dart boards and a pool table.

"There is a lot more stuff to do to keep us busy," he added.

Airman Crawford and Mr. Garcia agreed the new larger bunk rooms were going to be a favorite among all the firefighters.

"The bunkrooms are huge compared to our other station," Airman Crawford said.