By Johnny Fong
For Fire Chief
An architect new to fire-station design contacted me to discuss sleeping quarters. He had read about the use of individual sleeping quarters, but was in the process of designing a fire station with a single dorm room. “What’s better,” he asked.
There’s no easy answer to this question.There are three basic types of sleeping quarters:
- A single large bunk/dorm room without walls to separate individual sleeping areas. The beds typically are lined up side by side and occasionally are separated by some sort of fixture, usually a locker or other storage unit.
- Separate sleeping quarters for each firefighter. Such rooms typically feature a bed, desk, and a locker or storage unit for each shift.
- A compromise solution
Sleeping-quarter design often is driven by budgetary factors. Building one large sleeping room with 10 beds is much cheaper than 10 individual sleeping quarters separated by 6-foot-high walls, which in turn are cheaper than building 10 individual sleeping quarters separated by full-height walls. Add to this the costs of doors, lighting fixtures, wiring and HVAC considerations.