La Crosse Fire Department hopes to renovate old stations with Five Year Plan

One thing that hasn’t changed is that a city needs firefighters, but what has changed is what the fire fighters need.

“The stations are getting to be 80 years old and they were just built for a different kind of truck and a different kind of world,” explained La Crosse Fire Chief Ken Gilliam.

Fire station one was built at a time when women weren’t able to be firefighters. As the station progressed to include women on fire crews, the building did not.

“Making sure we have men’s and women’s restrooms as silly as it is, you kind of take it for granted in other buildings,” added Gilliam.

Without a place for both sexes to change, problems can arise quickly.

“A female needs to come into a shower and decontaminate after a fire and all the men have to be locked out of the locker rooms so she can have some privacy and take a shower, and vice versa.”

Male or female, living conditions also prove a logistical issue,

“They sleep on sides of their cubicle walls; you can see it’s pretty dated. If a female wanted to change uniform or do something up here what areas of privacy do we have?”

Funding is needed to update all the stations and build a new 5th station.

“We do have capital requested for 2020.”

With the strategic plan recommended to be filed by common council, it starts a long road to potential funding.

“We still have six more months of meetings where the council will make the ultimate decision if that’s the priority or if there’s other needs.”

Until then, the city will still need its firefighters.

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