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Clear AFS breaks ground on new fire station


CLEAR AIR FORCE STATION, Alaska -- Clear Air Force Station, Alaska held a groundbreaking ceremony on the site of the future home of a Clear Fire and Emergency Services facility, July 9, 2018. Clear AFS plans for the new fire station to include four drive through stalls, 14 individual bunkrooms, a first-class training room and support areas. (Courtesy photo)

CLEAR AIR FORCE STATION, Alaska -- Clear Air Force Station, Alaska, has a population of 350 personnel and covers 11,500 acres of land with a hardworking, diverse community that includes Air Force Active Duty, Alaska Air National Guard, Department of Defense civilians, and contractor base operations and support personnel.

Clear Fire and Emergency Services is charged with protecting these lives and mission essential properties within the boundaries of its community while operating out of the same fire station since 1960.

To help with these efforts, Clear FES plans to build a new fire station, and July 9, 2018, marked the groundbreaking ceremony on the site of the future home of the Clear FES facility.

The new fire station will bring the living and working conditions into the 21st Century with four drive through stalls, 14 individual bunkrooms, a first class training room, and the support areas needed to provide the best customer service to the Clear AFS community.

“This new fire station affects a lot more than just our job, it improves our quality of life. We have had to operate under a severe space shortage and place two firefighters in bunkrooms sized for only one person for quite some time now,” said Captain Kevin Morris, who has been with Clear FES since May of 1988. “Having everyone under the same roof will make response capabilities better and easier for all of us.”

The new fire station is an innovative two-story design, providing a separation of living and working areas for the 24 hour operations. Current operations are housed in a 6,046-square-foot station, while the new station will be a sprawling 20,583 square feet.

Clear FES has decentralized operations spanning four separate facilities. Due to the unique location of Clear AFS in interior Alaska, Clear FES is required to maintain vehicles and equipment that support structural firefighting, emergency medical, hazardous materials incidents and wildland fire responses.

Clear FES can support remote search and rescue operations on the installation, and coordinates with the multi-agency Alaska Rescue Coordination Center. Clear FES provides mutual aid to several communities along the Parks Highway, with an annual response load of about 120 calls per year to surrounding communities. They also maintain the capability to protect the specialized facilities and systems that support the Solid State Phased Array Radar System, which comprises the primary mission at Clear AFS.

In the next four years, the fire department will also be required to provide protection for the $1.2 billion Long Range Discrimination Radar, currently under construction through the Missile Defense Agency. The LRDR system is the largest construction effort being managed in the Air Force Space Command portfolio, and will include new dorms, shops, and security forces facilities as well.

The new fire station has been a long time coming for the 13th Space Warning Squadron fire fighters. The process started in 2004 after the 7.9 magnitude earthquake of 2002. The earthquake wreaked havoc in the facility, showing stress cracks in the east and west exterior walls, the hose tower, at the roof line, and from the outside through the stall floors into the training room. It was identified at that time that there was not any seismic bracing in the mechanical and electrical room as well.

“Not only will this station bring the living and working conditions into acceptable standards, it will be safer for the firefighters,” said Fire Chief David Conklin.

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