Ocean Pines Fire Department seeks upgrade for aging firehouse
OCEAN PINES, MD- The Ocean Pines fire department is pushing to upgrade their fire station after safety and staffing concerns at their current building.
They say the current station has not been renovated since the mid-’80s when call volumes were lower and safety standards were more relaxed.
Right now equipment sits right next to the fire engines creating contamination for gear even before firefighters head out to a fire.
They say their protocol has them decontaminate their gear and shower before going home after a call but with a small area and only one shower, the current station is proving challenging and unsafe.
“There are certain protocols for when we take the PPE off we have to change our uniforms we have to take a shower and we don’t have a real decontamination area so crews will walk from the bay into the small area we do have- right next to the kitchen and wait in line to use the one shower in the station,” Lt. Joe Enste.
Enste says the new station would demolish all the offices while keeping the engine bay. It’s expected to cost around 8 million dollars, but 2 million is already secured thanks to saving from the department and a grant from the State of Maryland.
They say the remaining funding will come from a bump to the HOA fees in Ocean Pines, which Enste says will be around $3.50 a month.
“It’s a cup of coffee a month and it will help our guys do this job safely and to help ultimately the response times too,” he said.
A meeting with the Ocean Pines board will be held at the firehouse on June 30th- to hear public comment on the proposal.