The Cary Fire Department has become the first fire station to receive a Verified Healthy Building Mark for Indoor Air by UL. Serving a population of 179,000, the station provides fire, rescue and EMS services over 60 square miles and serves as the workplace and home to the firefighters on their 24-hour shifts.
Explicitly developed for buildings designed to house firefighters, the UL Verified Healthy Building Mark for Indoor Air evaluates firehouses 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.
“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,” said Sean McCrady, director, Asset and Sustainability Performance, Real Estate Properties at UL. “Monitoring key indoor air quality factors are essential to understanding exposures and promoting the well-being and productivity of the first responders.”
A Guideline to Help Keep First Responders Safe and Healthy
To achieve the mark, spaces inside Cary’s Fire Station No. 4 underwent numerous on-site reviews that include visual inspections and IAQ testing to evaluate a range of building conditions. Part of the program also includes ongoing annual assessments to maintain the UL Verified Mark.
The program can also help stations gain visibility into potential challenges to be addressed and documented early through sound and pragmatic solutions.
The IAQ testing requirements align with the rigorous criteria outlined by 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.
In earning the UL Verified Mark for Fire Station No. 4, Cary has proven not only that their indoor spaces promote healthy air quality, but that the town leadership itself is committed to creating and maintaining healthy and safe indoor environments for the health, wellbeing and comfort of their public workers.
“Over 125 years ago, UL started by focusing on fire safety and has been working with fire stations around the world since that time,” concluded McCrady. “The health and well-being of first responders who live and work in fire stations remain critically important.