As public servants, police officers and firefighters concentrate on protecting people in their communities. Whether it’s heading to an emergency at top speed or helping out a local family in need, these dedicated service people are there, wherever “there” happens to be.
But what about their home base? Police stations and fire stations are where the staff reside in between calls and tips, tending to paperwork and training while also possibly squeezing in a snack or more likely, fitting in one more rush to the scene of a crime or fire.
While these facilities are not the permanent address members of the police force or fire department list on paperwork, police officers and firefighters do practically live at the station at times. This means these spaces should be up to par in terms of safety and ease of use. Just as your front door at home has a peephole or side windows so you can verify visitors before opening it, police officers and firefighters need to see what’s going on outside their buildings.
Visibility is critical in these types of facilities. For example, in designing fire stations, architects should be aware that, according to Whole Building Design Guide, “Fire stations are occupied 24 hours a day, seven days a week by personnel in continuous 24-hour shifts. Therefore, ensuring a comfortable living environment for the firefighters is paramount:
Vision windows can help provide natural light and avoid an institutional-like feel for firefighters on their 24-hour shifts.
For police stations, Schmidt Associates point out the importance of connection with the community: “Police station design is no longer just about building a secure, operational building. More than ever before, integration and relationship building with the community is a significant component of effective law enforcement. Consider how you can connect your new space with the community surrounding it, while maintaining the necessary level of security.” This connection can include the amount of visibility a police station has from the inside and outside of the facility.
In both fire and police stations, the ability for staff to observe people and the environment surrounding the facility is vital. Vision windows can assist in providing an extra layer of security while introducing the added benefit of natural light.
CornellCookson’s vision windows are available in one- or two-way options, so the building’s designers and architects have control over the visibility these windows offer to building occupants and visitors outside the building. One-way vision windows may be ideal for a police station, where officers should be able to view who is arriving but maintain privacy for booking and sensitive or privacy matters inside the facility. Fire stations, too, may opt for one-way vision windows to allow their firefighters much-needed spurts of rest and relaxation.
Our vision windows are incorporated into the rolling security door’s curtain. In rolling steel doors, each pane is 10" x 1 5/8" and must be spaced 2" apart. The minimum spacing in from each guide is 12". Adding vision windows to insulated doors may impact Sound Transmission Class performance.
To talk with our Architectural Design Support (ADS) team about vision windows as you design your fire station or police station, give them a call at 885.982.2022.
You can also submit a contact form here: cooksondoor.com/contact-us.