BEATRICE – Since 1965, the Beatrice Fire Department has been housed in the lower level of the Beatrice Municipal Auditorium. Back then, there were five fire vehicles. Today, there are 14, stacked inside only three bay doors. The order of stacking is based on which vehicles are typically needed, most often. Some equipment must be stored, outside.
Beatrice Fire and Rescue Chief Brian Daake says space is very tight…a primary reason the city is stepping up its’ examination of building a new fire headquarters.
Daake says just to get a Hazmat truck out, firefighters must first move an ambulance, an air tank trailer, and two rural fire department vehicles. All that work affects response times, to emergencies.
:30 “go from there”
If the city moves forward with a new fire station, Daake says two critical components include having firefighter offices and quarters no more than thirty seconds away from the vehicle bays…and exit and entrance from those bays must be efficient.
:35 “their process”
Fire trucks leaving the current department often need to travel a half-block in the wrong direction on a one-way street, to access north and east Beatrice. Daake says the department needs a better location, such as the Dempster property south of the downtown…frequently mentioned as a prime location.
:37 “fellow citizens”
City officials are considering financing a new fire station through a half-cent increase in the local sales tax…a move that would first require voter approval.