City considering $421K contract for GFFR overhead doors

During their Oct. 18 meeting, City Commissioners will consider awarding a $421,868 contract to Door Systems of Montana-Great Falls to replace the overhead doors at Great Falls Fire Rescue stations.

The project is being funded with American Rescue Plan Act, or federal COVID relief, funds.

“The need for new overhead doors at all four of the fire stations in Great Falls has never been more apparent than the past few years. The cause is based on necessity. Simply stated, the fire stations are having major complications with the overhead door systems due to the age of the components and the controllers. Almost daily, a component of one of the systems needs to be patched back together. Also, staff is no longer able to get parts for the existing overhead door systems, which further complicates repairs,” according to the GFFR staff report.

Internal scoring of community ARPA grant applications underway

The doors being requested meet modern safety standards and are under warranty with parts available if needed, according to staff. The doors are lighter than the existing doors but have longer service lives and better insulation, according to staff.

The contract includes the complete removal of the existing doors, tracks and controllers, and the installation of the new door systems to replace what was removed, according to the staff report.

The project was among the first tier of recommended city ARPA projects that staff proposed and commissioners reviewed in April.

GFFR holding fire prevention essay contest

Over the last several years, GFFR has experienced issues with the overhead doors at all four fire stations and at one point in the last year, 25 percent of the overhead doors were out of service and repair parts were unavailable, according to staff.

“In an emergency response organization, this can basically become life or death. Due to the doors being nonfunctional, it was necessary to jockey trucks around to be able to respond. This led to delays and created safety issues with some trucks having to depart into an alley or parking lot to start their response and gain access to major response arteries,” according to the GFFR staff report. “GFFR has an ever increasing demand for service and response numbers continue to climb. Simply stated, the doors need to open and close so the public can be served in the way we have vowed to protect.”

GFFR receives grant for safety equipment

The current doors have been in use for 40-50 years and some controllers were installed in the 1970s, according to GFFR. Some were replaced, but staff has had trouble trying to match new controllers to old doors, springs, rollers and other door components, according to staff.

The project includes installing 20 insulated steel sectional overhead doors and installing 20 commercial sectional door operators.

The city received one bid for the project from Door Systems of Montana-Great Falls and staff is recommending approval.

City approves $1.3 million in ARPA funds to refurbish fire engines

Replacing the doors will reduce annual maintenance expenses by $10,000, according to staff.

Since 2018, GFFR has received about 15 invoices for door maintenance and each represents a situation when a door wouldn’t open, close or was nearing critical failure, according to GFFR.

“Each invoice also represents a situation in which a fire engine is prevented from leaving the fire station in the fastest and most efficient way possible. This may lead to using alternative travel routes, back roads, or down alleys. Regardless, there is more than likely an increased response time. The National Fire Protection Agency standard response time is six minutes from the call to arrival on the scene. Maintaining the status quo impairs GFFR’s ability to meet that standard,” according to the GFFR staff report.