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Fans help firefighters stay comfortable

Jessamine County Fire DeptConstructed with brick and mortar and capped with a 12,000-square-foot (1,115-m2) peaked steel roof, the Jessamine County Fire Department in Nicholasville, Ky., has its share of ever-changing weather-taking place within the facility itself. With 16-foot (5-m) ceilings and eight 14- by 14-foot (4- by 4-m) glass doors roasting in the morning and evening sun, it felt as though fires were brewing within. Fire Department Chief Mike Rupard installed an energy-efficient 16-foot diameter Big Ass Fan from Big Ass Fans, Louisville, Ky., to achieve the desired air circulation in the summer months and alleviate the severe temperature discrepancies from winter heat stratification.

High ceilings in the bay area forced gas heaters to run continually during the winter in order to keep the environment warm. While the temperature at the ceiling level remained a constant 70 F (21 C), the floor level was experiencing temperatures in the 50s. Kentucky winters drop well below
freezing, leaving the hoses vulnerable to freezing in the elements. "The heaters would have to run constantly to keep the bay area comfortable enough for the trucks and firefighters," Rupard said. By slowing the fan speed the warm air collecting at the roof line is mixed through the space creating
uniform temperatures from ceiling to floor. This air balance has made the department workout
facility, located on an open mezzanine above the truck bays, far more bearable for those exercising
any time of the day or night.

During the summer, the fan speed is increased as these gentle breezes dehumidify hot, stagnant
air and create a comfortable, cool feeling. "We can open the bay doors and crank our Big Ass Fan
up and you really get a nice breeze that runs through the station, keeping it very comfortable inside,"
Rupard said, adding that the fan helps disperse unwanted fumes and emissions off the trucks.