Boston Fire Department Firehouse Design Guidelines


Boston, Massachusetts

Johnson Roberts Associates collaborated with the Boston Fire Department to create Firehouse Design Guidelines for new firehouses and future improvements/upgrades. Months of research included an existing facilities study, meetings with chiefs and other fire department personnel, and comparisons to similar initiatives in other municipalities.

As a result, the Boston Fire Department has a comprehensive and detailed design resource centered around firefighter health. All City of Boston firehouses must adhere to the concept of “Healthy Firehouse Design.” The overriding design concept is to contain pollutants and carcinogens created by fire events within a dedicated area. This containment thereby minimizes firefighter exposure to contaminants. One method of effective containment is creating a clear and distinct physical separation of three firehouse zones:

  • Red (or Hot) Zone: areas associated with firefighter response activities (apparatus bays, decontamination, bunker gear cleaning / storage, etc.)
  • Grey (or Neutral) Zone: areas associated with public activities (public entrance and lobby, patrol room, public toilet, etc.)
  • Green (or Cold) Zone: areas associated with firefighter living activities (bunk rooms, staff shower / changing rooms, dining, kitchen, etc.)

Additionally, the Firehouse Design Guidelines cover staffing and programming requirements, spatial diagrams, and potential floor plans for stations with different development constraints. Specifications in the Firehouse Design Guidelines detail architectural, engineering, and equipment requirements for 21st-century firehouses.