Friday, February 10, 2012

Watertown Fire Department: Possible FAA Model

It was just a few short months ago when the Watertown Fire Department moved into its new facility on the west side of town.

City leaders and the Federal Aviation Administration worked together for several years trying to coordinate efforts and money to make the project possible.

Now the FAA says they may use station two as a model for local fire departments that assist airports all across the country.

Overlooking the Watertown Regional Airport is a 17-thousand square foot building that may soon be a model for the Federal Aviation Administration.

The new facility features two ambulances and an array of fire equipment.   

"As commercial flights use our airport we are required to have personnel on scene to man the crash trucks or emergency equipment when a commercial flight comes in," Watertown Fire Department Assistant Chief, Mike Oletzke said.

An average of three commercial flights makes their way into Watertown Regional Airport each day.

The FAA saw a need for a fire station and decided teaming up with the city made sense.

City leaders say the west-side location was ideal; it solves a long-standing flooding problem, and helps crews avoid the railroad tracks that run through town.

"We are providing much better emergency services now, being spread out we can enhance more of the city faster and also still keep personnel in place," Oletzke said.

For people who use the airport like Brian White having help nearby is a relief.

"I think any place like this that's going to have a large amount of people gathering should have something like that nearby, even if there isn't any kind of a fire or anything of that nature," White said.

Oletzke agrees, he says not only is it good for safety at the airport, it has also improved response time of paramedics.

Station two had a final price tag of around four million dollars, around 1.7 million of the funds came from the FAA.

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