American Fork City is building a second fire station as part of our public safety master plan.
The second fire station will be located in the northeast part of town at 960 E 1750 N. There are a number of reasons for this location:
- Location. AF will build the fire station in the northeast part of town because it will provide the best coverage to all of our current and future residents across the northern part of the city where some of the longest response times currently exist. The new fire station will cover the north, including the northwest, thanks to the recently completed Canal Bvld. With this connector our fire department can cover over 90% of our community within the nationally recommended 4-6 minute response time.
- Gravity. Another reason ESCI recommended a station in the northeast part of AF is because of geography, more specifically elevation. Northeast is actually at a higher elevation from the rest of American Fork City, which allows for faster response times. Ambulances and fire trucks are big and heavy and can travel more quickly downhill than uphill, effectively increasing their range.
- Demand. Locating in the northeast also places the second fire station close to some key facilities that require a lot of demand from Fire & Rescue. These facilities include the Utah State Developmental Center, the Mt. Timpanogos Temple, and the American Fork Hospital. Additionally, American Fork Fire & Rescue will still be able to service Cedar Hills, with whom we have a contract for service, at this location.
American Fork City has selected SIRQ construction, a Lehi-based company, to build the station. With a total of 20,150 square feet, Station 52 will house three apparatus bays with clear story windows, six firefighters dorms, a training and meeting room, a kitchen and outdoor cooking patio, and fitness room. In addition, the AFPD will have three office and interview rooms as well as a shooting range.
Station 52 will house a fire engine, two ambulances, and two brush trucks for the wildland urban interface (foothills) in Cedar Hills and all the unincorporated county parcels in the cities. Station 52 will be staffed 24/7 and 365 days a year with Firefighter/paramedics to respond to all FIRE/EMS emergencies in both American Fork and Cedar Hills.
What is the Timeline for This Fire Station?
The American Fork Fire Station Bond was approved by voters in 2019. The new station began construction in September 2022. It is anticipated construction will be completed in September 2023. Read the Groundbreaking Ceremony press release here.
Why Do We Need a Second Fire Station?
The Mayor and City Council have been considering a second fire station for a number of years. They have spent a lot of time weighing the options and determining the real need. The City even worked with a company called Emergency Services Consulting International (ESCI), who specialize in researching public safety needs, to see what they would recommend. ESCI recommended four stations total (later revised to five), with two needed right now. By leveraging future roads like the Murdock Connector (Canal Boulevard and Harvey Boulevard) in the north, and the Vineyard Connector in the south, the city was able to revise that recommendation to just three stations total. The end result is a recommendation that is efficient and cost effective, while still adequately servicing the community. But everyone agreed the need for a second fire station was immediate. Below are the main reasons American Fork is recommending a second fire station.
- Growing Demand. American Fork's current fire station (station 51) is the busiest in Utah County. In 2018 we responded to 3,182 calls for service. Other city's may have a higher total number of calls, but they also have more fire stations. This means their per fire station call volume is much lower. In fact, the second highest fire station call volume was less than half what American Fork does. As growth increases so too does the demand on our existing fire station.
- Concurrent Calls. When more than one call comes in at the same time it is called "concurrent" calls. AF City has the ability to handle more than one call at a time (to a point) because of the number of fire and ambulance apparatus we have. Additionally, if our units are tied up we can reach out to neighboring cities for help. But using outside agencies will reduce response time which is less ideal for emergencies. As more growth occurs we increase the likelihood of concurrent calls. Right now about 30% of the calls in American Fork are concurrent. With a second fire station concurrent calls would drop to about 5%, which means we'll be ready when our residents need us most.
- Improving Coverage. The national standard for responding to an emergency is 4-6 minutes. While virtually no city meets this goal perfectly, the more of your city that falls within this time the better. Thanks to ESCI's study we were able to assess that about 70% of our city falls within a 4-6 minute response time, with the northern portion of town being farthest away. This coverage is good, but it could be better. With a second fire station in the northeast part of town, we would bring over 90% of American Fork within a 4-6 minute response time. See coverage maps below.
- Resident Insurance Ratings. Every city has an Insurance Services Office (ISO) rating, which is used to determine how safe a city is. ISO ratings are scored 1-10 and, like golf, the lower the score the better. Currently American Fork has an ISO rating of 2, which puts us in the top 1% of the State. However, without another station to maintain our fire suppression coverage we risk slipping in our ISO rating, which would affect how much people pay for insurance in our community.
How Will We Pay For the Second Fire Station?
Capital Costs. In 2019, voters approved a bond for $8.5 million. This bond will help pay for the land in the northeast part of town and the construction of a fire station. Apparatus such as the fire truck, ambulance, and brush truck to outfit this new fire station have already been acquired as part of a contract to service Cedar Hills.
In 2020 we finished our debt payments for the city's police/courts building, which was more than what our new fire station will cost. Additionally, in 2021, the debt payments for our current fire station ended as well. This means we can build a new fire station and still lower our annual debt payments. Below is a graph that shows what the city's General Obligation (G.O.) debt will look like with the second fire station.
G.O. bonds are debt paid for by taxes. This graph doesn't include other non-G.O. bond debt, such as debt tied to utility fees, like the secondary irrigation debt payments.
Operating Costs. The Mayor and City Council are committed to funding this critical need and are considering a variety of options to fund operating expenses related to a second fire station. It will likely be paid for through several means, including revenue from emergency transports and from a fire service contract with Cedar Hills. Operating costs for a second fire station are also part of a larger property tax discussion American Fork city council is currently having along with funding critical infrastructure needs like roads and utilities.
- ESCI Study
- ESCI Presentation
- Fire Impact Fees Facility Plan (IFFP) with revised 5 station recommendation
- Mock Renderings of New Fire Station
- Current and Proposed Fire Station Coverage Areas
- Needs Presentation to Council
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- Arguments For and Against
- Mayor's Daily Herald Article - The Need for Safety