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Do We Really Need New Fire Stations? Frequently Asked Questions

From the City of Sanford website

In 2021, the Fire Station Feasibility Working Group was created to analyze the necessity of new fire stations and to identify the optimal locations. In preparation for a future referendum, the key findings are as follows:

  • An independent professional analysis showed that moving to a 2 station model will lower long-term costs to taxpayers and increase responsiveness.
  • Our current stations are not in the optimal locations- Our present-day locations could increase our ISO ratings, increasing homeowners insurance rates. Our current properties are too small to fit even newly-constructed modern stations.
  • Our current stations are not compliant – The buildings are past their intended life span, there are no separate decontamination zones, and present a higher risk to our Staff.
  • Our current stations can not be further renovated- An engineering analysis showed that the Sanford and Springvale stations cannot be cost-effectively renovated to meet the future needs of the City.
  • Our current stations are inequitable- There are not proper facilities for female firefighters at any of the three stations. Plus, the stations are severely deficient in ADA accessibility for employees and the public.

I thought we voted NO on a new fire station?

  • In 2019, Sanford and Springvale residents voted against a $1 Million bond to purchase an undisclosed piece of land for a new fire station. The recent purchase of the Springvale Nursery property was paid for with COVID “ARPA” federal funds. The bonding process for the new fire stations investment will go before the community on a future ballot.

What’s wrong with the current stations?

  • At 50 and 100 years old, both stations are past their intended lifespans.
  • Our current stations are not in the optimal locations- potentially impacting insurance rates and response times.
  • Our current stations were built when equipment was smaller; some modern vehicles will not fit in the current bays.
  • Our current stations were built at a time when we did not understand modern safety standards, codes, and practices.
  • Our current stations are too small to be fully functional; even if renovated they cannot fit facilities that would meet modern requirements.
  • Our current stations do not have space for separate decontamination zones or wash-down areas, posing a health risk to our firefighters.
  • Firefighter PPE is currently bagged at the fire scene after use and sent for decontamination because there are no facilities to do so at the current stations; new facilities will have space for decontamination, eliminating that cost.

Why can’t we just retrofit the stations we have now?

  • The Sanford and Springvale stations are not in the proper location to keep our ISO ratings low.
  • An engineering analysis showed that the Sanford and Springvale stations cannot be cost-effectively renovated to meet the future needs of the City.
  • The stations are too small to be fully functional and even if retrofitted. They do not have room for facilities that would meet current requirements.
  • The Sanford and Springvale stations do not do not have space for proper decontamination zones or wash-down areas.

Why can’t the South Sanford Station be opened back up?

  • At over 30 years the station is past it’s intended lifespan.
  • An independent professional analysis showed that moving to a 2 station model will lower long-term costs to taxpayers and increase responsiveness.
  • To reopen the South Station and transition back to a 3 station model the Sanford Fire Department would need to hire at least TWENTY new firefighters and EMS.
  • The size of South Station only allows for TWO on duty firefighters but THREE firefighters/EMs are required for a call. A truck from Central Station was required at EVERY South Station call.

What’s happening the Springvale Station?

  • The plan is to have two new modern facilities constructed at well-placed locations to best serve the community as economically, efficiently, and effectively as possible. This means the Springvale Station must relocate a little toward the southern end of Springvale.
  • Due to the unusual nature of our real estate market right now, we have not yet been able to find a suitable piece of the land for the Springvale Station.
  • We are working to find the best solution but we are not ready to release communications about this station yet.

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