Health of fire crews and the environment intersect at Derrimut

27 Feb 2020

As the weather cools and Australia comes to terms with a summer marked by devastating fires, smoke haze and flooding rains, the built environment's ability to adapt to a changing climate is being put to question. While this conversation continues, discussions about the health and well-being of those on the front line of our emergency services will also surface.

In late 2019 construction of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade's (MFB) Derrimut Fire Station began in Melbourne’s inner-west. The $10 million state-of-the-art station will put the safety of its crews at the forefront and provide them with the facilities to meet the community’s emergency response needs now, and into the future.

Set to be Australia's largest fire station and the first to go down the Green Star path, an MFB spokesperson explains that the Brigade has a strong track record of minimising the environmental impacts of its operations and maximising the safety of its staff.

"We are committed to reducing our carbon impact and have implemented sustainable building practices to improve the health and safety of our firefighters and the community, as well as deliver long-term environmental benefits."

The design includes a diesel emissions system to capture truck exhaust fumes to significantly reduce exposure to diesel particle matter, and this technology won't be bound to Derrimut. The MFB say this is just the beginning, with plans to incorporate these environmental considerations into the design of all future fire stations.

"The MFB is committed to reducing exposure to diesel emissions at fire stations. After a recent successful trial of source-capture technology at our West Melbourne Fire Station, MFB has amended our station design guidelines to require diesel emissions source capture systems be installed in all new station builds."

Replacing the North Laverton Fire Station, the Derrimut project has also carefully considered the use of low-impact, sustainable materials and will implement a range of energy and water saving measures to reduce the station’s environmental footprint.

"Derrimut Fire Station’s design incorporates energy and water efficiencies including improved lighting design, the installation of solar panels, and water harvesting procedures. These are just some of the suite of measures we have embedded into the design of the building to reduce MFB’s consumption and lower our carbon impact.”

The GBCA works with projects like Derrimut Fire Station to help them go beyond standard practice and toward a low carbon future for the built environment. With a changing climate and extreme weather events in mind, our Future Focus will see the Green Star rating system evolve to consider the resiliency of systems and communities, and the health and wellbeing of their occupants.

The new Derrimut Fire Station is scheduled for completion by the end of this year with the opening planned to coincide with a new station in Brooklyn that will replace the current Spotswood Fire Station.