San Jose has recently completed construction and putting into service a new firehouse. It is located on White Road near Lake Cunningham. Engine 21 resides here. On January 23, 2016 they had an open house to show off this new building and community safety resource. I had the opportunity of visiting this new station during their open house. Mayor Licardo and Vice Mayor Rose Herera were present as well as other City officials. I chatted with several firefighters who make this their home away from home. They are really quite pleased with station. It has an open artchitecture, it is modern, it has many comfort ammenities, and it provides the space necessary to store three firefighting vehicles as well as tons of support equipment. There is plenty of parking and a nice size service yard.
I had a chance to talk to the architect of the building; Dominique. He told me that they did not outsource the design of the building but rather relied on internal city employees to facilitate the design of which he was the key artchitect involved. I asked if he could highlight any design points which supported sustainability. He said that much of the building materials were chose to utilize recycled materials, all wood was green certified, and as much of the furnishing utilized recylced materials as they could arrange. The lighting uses LED lighted throughout. The building uses windows with an eye towards minimizing the need for internal lighting.
I talked with several firefighters about the overall sustainablity practices of the San Jose Fire department. I was told that they have really cut down on the program of testing fire hydrants throughtout the city to save on water (I don't know if this is good or bad!). When at fires they have a new mandate to prevent the flow of tainted water into the curb gutters. Lastly, they have installed water storage/collection tanks at their training facilities to be able re-use water that is used for their training exercises.
It was a very interesting open house and of course, the kids absolutely loved it (They received free firehats!).