OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. --
Offutt Air Force Base Fire Station 2, originally built in May 1972 and located off-base near Rising View, is currently undergoing a $1.3 million renovation that began earlier this year.
Unable to meet the National Fire Protection Association 1500 safety requirements working from Fire Station 1, the team reached out to their local partners in Bellevue, Nebraska for assistance.
As a member of the Tri-Mutual Aid Fire Fighter Association, which consists of two states, six counties and 27 different community fire departments, the Offutt Fire Department has long maintained a relationship with the Bellevue Fire Department and the local community.
David Eblin, Offutt fire chief met with Perry Guido, Bellevue Fire Department fire chief, to discuss the need to find a location for Station 2 crews during the renovation that could house members and also help them to maintain response times.
The city of Bellevue and the BFD offered their fire station at District 4, which had the available space for Station 2 crew members. This allowed Station 2 the ability response within the required time limit to all areas in their designated response area, which includes three schools and other government structures.
“We’re happy and very proud of the relationship we have formed over the years with Bellevue and we really appreciate them, stepping up and helping us out,” said Eblin. “They have helped us make sure we are in a position where we can still respond.”
The Station 2 crews and truck are temporarily at BFD District 4. Both firefighting teams have responded to a number of calls together and help each other if they have manning issues.
“Sharing the station with Bellevue firefighters has been a breath of fresh air,” said Capt. Matthew Grimes, Offutt fireman. “We’ve built a new comradery with different shifts, departments, and personalities, it’s kind of nice to meet new people.”
Offutt firefighters live, train and work with Bellevue firefighters. They are learning each other’s capabilities, getting to know each other’s limits and forming new bonds within the firefighting community. This provides additional firefighting experience for both crews as they continue to work within the community.
“It’s been great,” said Adam Harris BFD firefighter. “Having them inside the station allows us to see how they train and see how they do things, especially when it comes to the airfield, because we are not used to that.”
With the firefighters working 48-hour shifts, the fire station also becomes their home away from home. The restoration, when complete, will provide bedrooms, a kitchen, a dining area, a gym and a decontamination room that will accommodate five firefighters.
The projected completion time for the renovation on Station 2 is March 2020.