Cary, North Carolina Fire Station

Cary, NC firehouse takes first UL Healthy Building Mark for indoor air

Feb. 23, 2022
Explicitly developed for buildings designed to house firefighters, criteria for the UL Verified Healthy Building Mark for Indoor Air evaluates the firehouse against rigorous criteria for IAQ.

UL announced last December that a fire station in Cary, North Carolina was the first firehouse to achieve a UL Verified Healthy Building Mark for Indoor Air.

The UL Verified Mark demonstrates that Cary’s Fire Station No. 4 has indoor spaces that promote healthy indoor air quality (IAQ). As noted by UL, achieving this verification shows a commitment by town leadership to create and maintain indoor environments that support firefighter and related administrative staff health, well-being and comfort, backed by UL’s globally recognized expertise in IAQ and building health.

Explicitly developed for buildings designed to house firefighters, criteria for the UL Verified Healthy Building Mark for Indoor Air evaluates the firehouse against rigorous criteria for IAQ while helping to mitigate the unique challenges presented in indoor environments with policies and plans that promote the continual advancement of IAQ. The program can also help Cary gain visibility into potential challenges to be addressed and documented early through sound and pragmatic solutions.

“We place a priority on the health, safety and well-being of our firefighters to help ensure that they can be ready to keep Cary residents safe 24/7,” said Cary Fire Chief Michael Cooper. “We value the safety-focused work from UL and are proud to work with them. Under this Verification program, our building interiors have excellent IAQ as well as policies and plans in place to demonstrate that we will maintain and advance IAQ over time.”

The Cary Fire Department provides fire, rescue and EMS services to a population of approximately 179,000 in a jurisdiction covering about 60 square miles. Fire Station No. 4 opened in 1988 and is a single-story, 9,000 square foot building, which serves as work and home to crews during their 24-hour shifts. The day side of the station provides office space, a kitchen and a living room area while the apparatus bay houses the station’s fire trucks. The night side accommodates a common dormitory with beds for each firefighter, bathrooms, locker rooms and laundry facilities.

To achieve the UL Verification Mark, spaces inside Cary’s Fire Station No. 4 underwent on-site visits, involving comprehensive data and science-based reviews that included UL visual inspection and IAQ performance testing to evaluate a range of building conditions.

The program includes ongoing annual comprehensive assessments to maintain the UL Verified Mark.

The IAQ testing requirements verify that Cary’s Fire Station No. 4 meets rigorous criteria aligned with industry-recognized, third-party organizations, such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), World Health Organization (WHO) and American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). All laboratory testing and analysis methodologies are informed by the EPA Compendium of Methods, and ASTM D5197 and TO-17 for air sampling.

“Over 125 years ago, UL started by focusing on fire safety and has been working with fire stations around the world since that time. Through the UL Verified Healthy Building Mark for Indoor Air, the Cary Fire Department has taken the next step to protect not only its citizens, but also its firefighters,” said Sean McCrady, director, Asset and Sustainability Performance, Real Estate Properties at UL. “The health and well-being of first responders who live and work in fire stations remain critically important.

“These environments are unlike traditional workplaces, where pollution control strategies can be crucial to the management and optimization of air quality, both because of the time spent in the building and hazardous pollutants involved in the industry. Monitoring key indoor air quality factors are essential to understanding exposures and promoting the well-being and productivity of the first responders,” concluded McCrady.

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