Groundbreaking for New Fire Station 5

Sunnyvale will be breaking ground on its newest fire station, FS5, this Wednesday.

This is a big deal, since other than a renovation project, we haven’t expanded fire service coverage in many, many years.  This is something of a public/private partnership that developed out of both Onizuka and a major office project, Moffett Place.  It’s a bit complicated, but I’ll lay out the plan and the service changes.

Currently, Sunnyvale has an existing Fire Station 5 at Mathilda and Innovation Way in Moffett Park.  It’s about 1.75 acres and is staffed with one full time engine staffed by two Public Safety Officers.  Each of the other five stations are staffed with two or more apparatus.  Accordingly, the current Station 5 does not provide the same level of service as the other stations.  [Edited 6/25/15 to correct staffing/rig information]

As part of the approval for the Moffett Place office complex, the city required rather extensive community benefits related to FS5.  We are requiring the developer, Jay Paul, to execute a land swap with us, giving us over two acres of land for a full-service fire station with three bays, just like the other full-service stations.  Jay Paul will build the new station for us at no cost to us.  In addition to this, the new facility will have a 25 yard tactical firing range for training our public safety officers.  Currently, they have to leave the city for more distant locations whenever they need to do training.  Now, they can train within city limits, and the FS5 officers can even train while on duty in the station.  That’s a huge win.  The new station will also support a permanent training classroom, which is important to us.  We currently conduct classroom-style training out of a couple of temporary buildings at FS2.  The third big commitment from Jay Paul is to give us a 100′ ladder truck for servicing the taller buildings in the Moffett Park area.

The City’s main obligation is that we now need to fully staff FS5, which requires a complement of six Public Safety Officers, a doubling of personnel there.  The FY 2015/16 budget includes funding for these positions.  But with the growth in Silicon Valley, the added service capacity is necessary, and it allows us to shift things around and offer better fire response.

This is a significant improvement to Sunnyvale’s public safety, and it’s an indication of the level of community benefits that Sunnyvale is now requiring of major developments in the city.  Expected completion of the facility is in Spring of next year, so we’re looking at maybe a 9 month construction project before FS5 is fully operational.

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