Feature Sneak peek of Cullman’s Fire Station No. 3 | The Cullman Tribune


Sneak peek of Cullman’s Fire Station No. 3

Chief Edward Reinhardt took The Tribune on a tour of Cullman Fire Rescue’s newest station on Alabama Highway 157. / W.C. Mann

CULLMAN - Cullman Fire Rescue Chief Edward Reinhardt recently announced that his department’s newest station, Station 3 on Alabama Highway 157, is near enough to completion for firefighters and staff to begin operations during the week of March 12.  Though the station still awaits a few finishing touches, the chief took The Tribune through the facility for a tour ahead of the official opening.

The new station sits behind Merchants Bank on the east side of what used to be Piggly Wiggly. Bidding for the construction of the new station began back in June 2016.

“It’ll serve the northwest and northeast section of the city,” said Reinhardt, “which also will give us a third truck in service, which now we’re required to respond two trucks and a ladder to all structure calls.  So that’ll give us a backup truck still in service if we have another call.

“It puts all the northwest section that was over the 5-mile limit from a station, it’ll put it within that 5 miles.  ISO (the International Organization for Standardization) looks at your property annexed into the city, and how much of it is supplied with hydrants, okay, and then they go like a mile and a half for a pumper from a station that you’re supposed to pick up.  So, we were over the mile and a half, obviously, in this area up here. This is going to pick up 80 percent of the coverage area up here that was not within the mile and a half.”

It’s up to inspectors and outside officials, but every business and house within 5 miles of the station could potentially see improved ISO ratings and lower insurance rates.

The north section of the facility will serve as the department’s new administrative office.  In addition to space for officials, the building includes a training room built with reinforced walls and its own generator and bathrooms to serve as a FEMA-rated severe weather safe room and self-contained emergency command center.  The room also has a camera system linked to the department’s other two stations, allowing personnel at those locations to take part in classes held at the office while still being ready to respond to emergencies in their areas.

The administrative building also includes a Cullman Police Department substation, making Station 3 a full-service emergency response center for north Cullman.

Just to the south of the administrative office sits the station house, with separate bedrooms to provide each firefighter and EMT on duty a little personal space.  A large common room has recliners and a large screen television, with a small work station room on one side for computers. Reinforced walls and doorways between it and outer windows allow the common room to serve as a second safe room.  A spacious kitchen and dining area adjacent to the common room looks almost like a professional chef’s workspace.

A tower on the front of the building serves double duty.  A hoist attached to the ceiling can raise wet hoses up to hang for air drying, and firefighters can practice rappelling indoors from a platform at the top of the tower’s staircase.

At the facility’s south end, a large open bay can house up to eight trucks.  Large overhead exhaust pumps automatically activate when their sensors pick up a certain level of carbon monoxide in the bay, and rooms off the bay allow plenty of storage and house equipment to clean and dry equipment and turnout gear after calls.  A large generator just outside can power the entire facility, if need be.

Chief Reinhardt was clearly proud, both of his department’s new building, and its achievement.  He told The Tribune: “We’ve been working for quite a few years trying to get a third station; and then, of course, with the SAFER (Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response) grant, then we got the 12 additional people that they pick up for two years on the salaries.  That kind of allowed us to get off the ground, and get it running. So with that, we started working toward building the station and getting where we need to be, and here we are now.

“We’ve got a super good fire department; we’ve come a long ways.  And they’re really good, and I give all the credit for that to the guys themselves, because they make it what it is.  I don’t. I set the goals and try to lead them in the right direction, but if they don’t go, then it don’t work.

“It’s a team effort, the mayor and council supporting it, to lead us to get to where we are today: running an ALS (Advanced Life Support) department, and also being at a II in ISO rating I think says a lot for the city--the government of the city, and the department itself.”

The city will cut the ribbon and officially open the station on March 19.

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  • Fire Station 3 includes Cullman Fire Rescue’s new administrative offices (left). Staff has begun relocating from the department’s former headquarters at Cullman City Hall.
  • The administrative building includes a training room that was built to double as a FEMA safe room.
  • Inside the station’s tower, wet hoses can be hoisted up to dry, and firefighters can practice rappelling.