Monolithic Emergency Center

Monolithic Emergency Center

David South February 28, 2011, 10:26 a.m. Commercial Monolithic Dome Structures

Emergency Center Prototype A (birds eye view) — This alternative for the Emergency Center has the three domes in a row. It will fit on narrower property. The size of the domes will be determined by what needs to go in the building. (Leland A. Gray Architects, LLC)
The Perfect Emergency Center

A Monolithic Emergency Center is an all-encompassing complex. It includes specific areas for fire engines, rescue vehicles and ambulances; 911 and police communication centers; a disaster shelter.

Ideally, to be effective, such an Emergency Center should beindestructible. It should be impervious to fire, snow, tornadoes, hurricanes and earthquakes. And that’s exactly what a Monolithic Emergency Center is and does.

But what about the doors? Fire stations often have serious problems with their large openings that may compromise a structure’s ability to resist partial or even total destruction.

In 1980, FEMA published the second edition of its Guide 361, Design and Construction Guidance for Community Safe Rooms. For engineers and builders, it delineates what is needed to produce a disaster-safe building. For instance, to be tornado-safe a door must be able to withstand both tremendous pressure and flying projectiles, or it must be protected by a wall designed to withstand such forces.

Monolithic Emergency Centers meet or exceed all of FEMA’s specifications, including their drive-through doors. Those doors have large, curved, protective barriers over them, making them safe.
Location and Use

Their design makes Monolithic Emergency Centers ideal for daily use and in case of disaster. They should be located centrally, manned 24/7 and function as a backstop for smaller, neighborhood, conventional facilities.

Most populated areas have conventional fire stations that serve a specific neighborhood. Conventional stations usually have conventional doors. Those doors and often the entire structures have little if any ability to resist a tornado. Thus the Monolithic Emergency Center should be located centrally, so it’s available to the greatest number of people.

We do not have a one-size-fits-all Emergency Center! Instead, we design and build to fit the needs and wants of a community.

Smaller Emergency Centers can be built with only one set of doors. Obviously drivers would have to learn to back around the corner into place. But the facilities would be smaller and less expensive. They can also be designed just as tornado-safe command centers.

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