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Inside the New $12.4 Million Fire Station at Birmingham’s Airport

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Area leaders and officials were at Birmingham-Shuttlesworth (BHM) International Airport last week for the unveiling of a new Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) station and new ARFF trucks. (Bold As A Lion Studios)

flybirmingham.com

A new Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) station and new ARFF trucks were unveiled last week at Birmingham-Shuttlesworth (BHM) International Airport. The new facility and trucks, together with First Responders, are the cornerstone of BHM’s emergency readiness.

At a ribbon-cutting, Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin joined board members of the Birmingham Airport Authority, project contractors, architects, Birmingham Fire and Rescue, and the airport staff to celebrate the completion of this major project.

Similar to other fire stations in Birmingham and across the U.S., the ARFF station is home base for the men and women who will respond to emergencies. In this case, they are uniquely positioned and specially trained to save lives and property should an aircraft incident or other emergency happen at the airport. AT BHM, ARFF services are provided by Birmingham Fire and Rescue and these emergency responders work from the station when they are on-duty.

“Our commitment to safety at BHM is second to none,” said Darlene Wilson, Board Chair of the Birmingham Airport Authority. “This new building is a testament to the way we take care of the community, visitors, tenants, and those who are out there doing the hard work every day.”

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Here are some of the highlights of the new ARFF station:

  • Building is 17,548 Sq feet
  • Total cost: $12.4 Million with 78% of project funded through federal grants
  • Four bays to house ARFF trucks and equipment
  • Sleeping quarters for 7
  • Men’s and Women’s locker rooms
  • Kitchen and dining area
  • Laundry room
  • Watch room which allows those on duty an unobstructed view of the airfield
  • Training and exercise rooms
  • PPE storage
  • Gear wash/drying and decontamination room

The ARFF station was designed by Architect Clay Dorsey of Birmingham and built by Construction Works, Inc. (CWI), a general contractor based in Atlanta. Both of these companies are minority owned and are DBE certified. DBE stands for Disadvantage Business Enterprise which is a federal designation that was established to help traditionally disadvantaged businesses compete for major transportation projects. This represents a milestone at BHM in terms of the level of minority participation in a major project. But it’s no accident. Members of the Birmingham Airport Authority Board are continually striving to encourage minority and DBE participation in construction projects.

“We couldn’t be prouder of the way this project came together and the diligent work that was done by these companies,” said Wilson. “The airport continues to be an economic driver in this community, offering opportunities for businesses large and small.”

The Birmingham Airport Authority has purchased two new fire trucks that will be housed in the ARFF station. The 6×6 Rosenbauer Panther at a cost of $895,184 with weight of 50,000+ pounds; 3,000-gallon water tank and 400 gallon foam tank and a 4×4 Rosenbauer Panther at a cost of $697,343 with weight of 38,210 pounds 1,600 gallon water tank and 210 gallon foam tank.

The total cost of this public safety project (the new ARFF station and the two fire trucks) is just over $14 million, with 79 percent of that total funded by Federal Aviation Improvement Program grants

ARFF services, specialized training, and very fast response times are a federal requirement at commercial airports. The regulations are all factored into the specifications of the ARFF station and the ARFF trucks. This project is an example of how the Birmingham Airport Authority is leveraging federal funds to enhance safety on the airfield.

As Alabama’s largest commercial airport, Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport has served as a gateway to the sky for more than 90 years. Governed by the Birmingham Airport Authority, the airport continues to be a catalyst for growth and economic development for the entire region.

For more information, visit flybirmingham.com or follow BHM on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.