Representatives from 11 Sandy Springs neighborhoods stopped by the nearly completed Fire Station No. 2 to present a large gas barbecue grill they funded for firefighters who will be stationed there.

Fire Chief Keith Sanders gave a tour to the neighbors and explained how the Fire Department works and what new tools have been installed at the new fire station to safeguard the firefighters’ health and better serve the city’s residents.

The Mountaire Springs Neighborhood Association invited other neighborhoods to join in funding the present for the firefighters at the station closest to their homes.

Twelve firefighters will be stationed out of the building in a single shift, Sanders said. Shifts are 24 hours on, and 48 hours off.

Representatives of seven of the eleven neighborhoods that funded the gas grill visited Fire Station 2 who presented it to the Sandy Springs Fire Department included Joe Fitzgerald of Woodcliff, Fire Department Section Chief Reginald McClendon, Ronda Smith of Mountaire Springs, Karen Goldman of Wyndham Hills, Adam Szabo of North Springs, Bob Lederman of Mountaire Springs, David Adelman of Brandon Mill, District 3 Councilperson Melissa Mular, David Manne of Enclave at Long Island, Cheryl Barlow of Breakwater, and Fire Chief Keith Sanders. (Bob Pepalis)

The fire chief had equipment installed in the new fire station to help clean and decontaminate the equipment – and the firefighters. He said science shows that once firefighters have cleaned themselves and gone through decontamination, they still have carcinogens from fire scenes on their bodies. A one-person sauna with an exercise bicycle inside can help with that.

“It’s not mandatory, but if you get in here for 10 minutes, get it to the temperature and break a sweat, you can disperse 90% of that toxicity out of your skin,” Sanders said.

He said he took these measures for one reason: he didn’t want to look a firefighter’s family in the eye without being able to say he did everything he could do to give them a chance to minimize the risk for cancer.

Training features prominently throughout the building, with one area able to use movable “walls” to create layouts like the homes and businesses firefighters may find themselves in, areas to practice rappelling, a fitness center and a rock wall to help with hand strength.

A three-day open house will be scheduled soon to enable the public to take a tour of the new station, located at the corner of Johnson Ferry Road and Sandy Springs Circle.

Fire Chief Keith Sanders shows the neighborhood representatives a machine that cleans and decontaminates firefighters’ equipment. (Bob Pepalis)
A rock wall in the engine bays will help firefighters develop hand strength, something Chief Sanders said is critical in doing their jobs. (Bob Pepalis)
Chief Sanders explains how traffic lights will be controlled so fire engines can safely pull out of the station, which is at the corner of Johnson Ferry Road and Sandy Springs Circle. (Bob Pepalis)
The new fire station does have a fire pole, with appropriate safeguards around it on the second floor. (Bob Pepalis)

Bob Pepalis

Bob Pepalis covers Sandy Springs for Rough Draft Atlanta and Reporter Newspapers.