MEDFORD, Ore. – Fire District Three is becoming the first in Southern Oregon to offer manufactured homes for their firefighters.
The homes will offer couches, a living room, beds, even a washer & drier. Fire officials say the more firefighters you have living in residence, the faster you can respond.
“You’re looking at firefighter EMT personnel, you’re looking at intern firefighters,” Battalion Chief, Brandon Mitchell, said. “People like that, who are providing that first level of care.”
Right now the district’s goal is to respond to 80% of emergencies within twelve minutes. Once the homes are built, that goal will go down to eight minutes.
“All of this plays into the overarching goals that we had to really impact our rural community,” Mitchell added.
But it isn’t just the community that benefits, the houses are going into the district’s Sam’s Valley and Dodge Bridge stations, where firefighters currently have to sleep shoulder-to-shoulder. With these new homes out back, they’ll get all the amenities.
“It allows for our personnel to have an area where they can do adequate training, having adequate sleeping facilities for the personnel,” Mitchell said.
And the district saves money. There will be two houses per station, costing $55,000 each. Compare that to upwards of $300,000 to retro-fit a decades-old building.
“We were looking at a substantial amount of investment to do that for a building that we just didn’t feel comfortable investing that type of money into.”
With that money comes six new firefighters at each of the two stations, something officials say is a big step toward that eight minute goal.
“This is just one part of the puzzle that we’re trying to put together to make this a really effective program,” Mitchell explained.
Fire District Three officials say these homes will be installed late September, and then volunteer firefighters begin moving in immediately.
There will be four homes in total between the two stations. Those homes, plus landscaping, are estimated to cost a total of $280,000. That money has already been budgeted into the district’s capital projects fund.