Fire facilities to be evaluated for deficiencies

By Scott Aust
Garden City Telegram – May 3, 2014

The Garden City Commission on Tuesday will consider a draft of a letter seeking consultants to perform a fire facilities study that will serve as a planning guide for current and future fire department needs.
Matt Allen, city manager, said earlier this week that the commission recently discussed what the next step for fire facilities should be. The request for qualifications was prepared in response to that discussion.
“I think it may help the commission in determining if this is what you want to do to move forward, (to get) some sort of a description of what would a study do, what would we look at, what’s entailed?” Allen said.
The commission will discuss the draft request for qualifications letter during Tuesday’s meeting.
Two weeks ago, the commission discussed priorities for future fire station projects. Two projects have been identified as commission goals: a remodel of the central fire station downtown, and construction of a third fire station on the city’s east side, which has been talked about for years as the city continues to grow in that direction.
A majority of the commission felt it made sense to hire a third party to examine facility needs and help determine the most ideal ways for the city to invest its resources, instead of trying to choose between the two potential projects.
Commissioner Melvin Dale expressed concern that a study would be a step backward, and feared that neither project would move forward.
The letter informs consultants that the study needs to evaluate current and future staffing, facilities and apparatus needs of the department, and indicates the study should address five items:
* Evaluate and identify deficiencies from a January 2012 public protection classification survey.
* Evaluate current and recommended response and model future responses based on recommended facility locations scenarios using national response standards.
* Make recommendations that will improve the fire suppression services for immediate and future community needs.
* Explain how those recommendations and improvements will affect the city’s ISO rating. The city has an ISO rating of 3.
* Quantify the financial benefit/cost to property owners for improving/declining ISO rating.
The city’s deadline for proposals will be May 23, if the commission approves the letter. Consultant selection criteria will include experience with similar studies, a list of staff proposed for the project, references, and any other pertinent information.
A committee will choose a short list to interview from among the firms that respond. The commission could consider accepting a proposal as early as June 3.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

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