The Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Fire Hall and Emergency Response Centre is a critical infrastructure for the Canadian Armed Forces. Critical duties are carried out at the centre in the defence of Canada. Because new fire trucks are larger and the emergency responsibilities are becoming increasingly complex, the need for a new building was evident.
The three floor 40,000 square foot LEED Silver rated facility replaces the 55-year-old cramped fire hall within CFB Esquimalt. Unlike other fire halls, this new facility is unique due to its two critical groups – a fire hall and a base command post. The role of the base command post is to respond to environmental and civil emergencies in a post disaster scenario while the fire hall provides firefighting services for both CFB Esquimalt and the immediate surrounding communities. The facility is designed as one building segmented by a gallery which establishes a sense of distinctness and identity for each of the two functions.
Having a fire hall and base command post together required extensive specialized equipment that, when integrated, supported the automation controls, audio visual, video surveillance, intrusion alarm, access control, inter-communications, and fire alarm remote monitoring. Houle also needed to take environmental factors into consideration in the design process. The automation equipment integrated the bollard, apparatus bay door and gate controls, window status, ventilation, fire signal and fire hall controls, weather station display, and stove shutdown controls. The fire alarm remote monitoring upgrade monitors over 200 remote facilities.
The complex lightning protection on the two tiered roof provided many challenges due to dissimilar metals, building expansion joints, and post disaster seismic requirements. The post disaster scenario had to dictate electrical duplicity and redundancy in order for the building to remain operational. There are two 750 KW diesel emergency generators, one as a standby unit in case the primary generator fails. There is also a 120 KVA UPS to support the computers, air compressors, audio visual, and site lighting in the event of a disaster.
Houle was the first major sub-contractor on-site to begin layout and design integration and the first major subcontractor to complete its work, including commissioning and training.