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Branson unveils state-of-the-art fire station designed for firefighter health and safety

Bransons’ newest fire station, Station 4, on Champagne Drive off of Taney County 165 and Highway 165 held its grand opening with a ceremony and open house at the Station on May 1, 2024. The $5 million dollar project was completed on time and within budget. “The opening of this important station marks years of planning that we prioritized to move forward with action, construction and completion,” said Branson Mayor Larry Milton. “In approximately one year, we have gone from groundbreaking to the upcoming grand opening. This is one of several projects the current city administration is giving high priority, fast track attention,” said the Mayor.


Branson Fire Chief, Ted Martin, gives a lot of the credit to their construction team, “Construction LLC.” He said, “Once the architects completed the plans and the city released the contract, they had a 300-day Gant Chart, day per day per day, laid out and they hit it all. This project was on time on budget!”


Martin said that the project originally came in over budget because of the “then current market construction trends and bigger ‘factors’ they were originally looking at.” Once they realized the challenge, they “made some strategic changes to the building, and that allowed us to remain within budget.”


Station 4’s design aimed to improve firefighters’ health and safety from the start. He said the firefighters were involved during the design phase. Martin said that the new station incorporates features consistent with the current firefighting trend toward cancer awareness. The open bay concept, coupled with a separate decontamination room and climate-controlled storeroom allows for the complete cleaning and decontamination and storage of their bunker gear free from cancer-causing agents and other “stuff.” Another feature is a steam shower in with their regular shower. This opens the pores and helps get rid of all the “bad stuff.” Another feature is the elimination of loud bells and noise to alert the firefighters to a call.


Station 4 has three shifts, with four personnel each. Each shift comprises a captain, engineer (driver), and two firefighters. Each shift will have 24 hours on and 48 hours off. Unlike the more open concept of the other Branson Fire Stations, Station 4 has separate bedrooms for each position with three lockers in each, one for each separate shift. The firefighters buy their own food, so the kitchen has three refrigerators, one for each shift. Martin mentioned that many appliances and other kitchen items were generously provided by local residents who held a “Station Warming” event.


Station 4 will have two key pieces of apparatus, a fire engine and a decontamination unit. The Chief said that initially the fire engine will be one of the city’s “reserve engines.” Station 4 ordered a new fire engine. The payment has been made. It is now in the queue to be built. However, it may take up to two years for the delivery. The decontamination unit, funded by the state and federal government, has the capability to decontaminate up to 1,200 persons per hour from any “icky gooey” bad stuff” they might be exposed to. In addition, he mentions that the city’s antique fire engine will be kept at the Station.


There are three chief advantages to the public because of the new Station 4: reduced response times, increased capacity citywide, and a potential reduction in insurance rates. Currently, responses from Station 3 to certain spots within Pointe Royale can take up to 15 minutes, possibly longer with traffic. Martin says that Station 4 should reduce that to be within the five-minute target they have for the rest of the city. In addition, the four additional firefighters increase the overall capability of the city to respond to fire and emergencies by 25%. Martin said that after a year, we could approach the Insurance Services Organization to improve our rating from a “3” to a “2.” “This could hopefully, with the key word being hopefully, reduce insurance rates citywide,” he added.


The facility would not have been possible without the Public Safety Sales Tax voters passed in 2017. “Every day someone from the public says, ‘Thank you for what you do.’ I just want to turn that around and say to the public, ‘Thank you for your support and trust. We are working for you every day.’”

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