STUART, Fla. (CBS12) — Martin County Fire Rescue now has a brand new station, which will help get firefighters to an emergency quicker.
Four years and $5.5 million later, Martin County Fire Rescue Station 14 is a reality.
It’s on North Hutchinson Island in Stuart, and while the cost may be high, the decreased response time is priceless.
“It was built around exits. It’s all about wherever they’re located in the station, when they get alerted to an emergency call, they have a rapid means of egress to respond to your call," explained Martin County Fire Rescue Chief Chad Cianciulli. "When we talk about seconds, it’s not a catchphrase, it really does make a difference.”
This facility replaces the old Station 14, which was down the street - and just wasn’t cutting it anymore.
“It was very disappointing and almost embarrassing that we would put our personnel and require them to sleep in these facilities, eat their meals, shower in facilities that were subpar,” stated Ed Ciampi, the Chairman of the Martin County Board of Commissioners.
That was something the county desperately wanted to address. With new single bedrooms and bathrooms, and even updated smoke ventilation to reduce cancer risk, firefighter health is also being made a priority.
“We have exhaust set up to where the levels reach a certain point, it flushes everything out, so our people in the bays are not breathing that stuff in," Chief Cianciulli stated. "The older stations, they never had that, it just wasn’t something they thought of back then.”
The station also has an upgraded kitchen, gym and living area, which officials hope will bring in some new faces to help the firefighter shortage the county faces.
“This will help with recruitment," the chief remarked. "They can self-isolate, regain their composure, collect their thoughts but it’s also a place to decompress.”
“We owe each of our lifesavers a debt of gratitude and today, instead of just saying thank you, we put our money where our mouths were,” Ciampi added.
And now these first responders will be better equipped - physically and mentally - to be on the front lines.
“We couldn’t be more proud of the moment to bring you into a modern fire station for today’s modern firefighter, so welcome to your new home,” Cianciulli stated triumphantly at the podium, moments before the ribbon cutting.