Ocean Shores Fire Department

Geared Up For Emerencies Thanks To Work From CI

When the alarm goes off, firefighters don't have time to be gentle with cupboards and drawers. Everything they touch has to stand up to the rigors of an emergency situation and everything has to be in the right place. So when it came time for Ocean Shores Fire Department to furnish and equip their brand new firehouse, they chose Correctional Industries (CI) for sturdy designs and custom capabilities. The project required custom work in almost every room and hallway, making this job one of the largest custom-work projects CI has ever done.

Original Design: No Hang-Up For CI Crew

When it comes to fighting fires, gear and hoses are a firefighter's first priority. Ocean Shores challenged CI to develop a system of mobile gear racks that could hold firefighters' protective clothing, hats, respirators, oxygen tanks, boots, hoses and other gear they need to grab in a hurry. The gear racks had to be rugged enough to stand up to a firefighter's abuse and equipped with wheels so they could be rolled outdoors where equipment was sprayed down after use. Nothing in CI's standard lines came close to meeting the department's requirements, but CI's design crew and construction team took on the challenge to design and build a completely custom product to meet the fire department's needs. "They did an amazing job," said Courtney Beebe, the fire chief's assistant who coordinated the furnishings project for the department. "We're real proud of those [gear racks]."

Custom Styling: A CI Speciality

Other custom challenges at the firehouse included furniture designs for the kitchen and dining areas where the chief wanted "lodge" style furniture that would compliment the stone fireplace. Correctional Industries custom designed a sofa, barstools, coffee table and dining table with cherry wood, black trim and black faux leather to accomplish the desired look. The custom styles reflect the look of the Cambridge chairs selected for use with the dining table.

Quality, Crafts

The willingness of CI's team to develop custom solutions is just one example of excellent customer service experienced by Beebe and the Ocean Shores Fire Department. "They gave great customer service from the start," Beebe said, and she appreciated the availability of Correctional Industries representatives whenever she had a question. Account executives met periodically with Beebe and the chief to make selections and review designs.


Working from specifications for the building and the department's selections, Correctional Industries designers rendered full-color storyboard-like illustrations to show how everything would look together in a room. The illustrations helped identify good style choices and needs for new selections, ensuring their satisfaction before work on the pieces even began.


The Ocean Shores crew also appreciated CI's customer service when it came to installing, modifying, or if needed, reworking the furniture and cabinetry once manufacturing was complete. "When they said they'd be here, they were here," Beebe said. "If things weren't the way we wanted it, they made it right. Everything works the way it should."


All the cabinetry in the kitchen and throughout the firehouse was also custom work, designed to meet code, specifications and space needs unique to the firehouse. Cabinet styles in the kitchen complimented the cherry wood and black trim theme of the furniture in the attached dining and lounge area.

Quality, Craftsmanship & Service Dispel Myths Concerning Workforce

For Beebe, working with CI has been one pleasant surprise after another - right down to the quality of work and service provided by CI's incarcerated work crews. In fact, Beebe said that when CI representatives first met with her and said incarcerated individuals from Washington's correctional facilities do all the design, manufacturing and installation of CI's products, she was skeptical and figured the workmanship would be shoddy. "I didn't have a clue," Beebe said.


A few weeks later, Beebe and the fire chief attended an open house at which Correctional Industries displayed a wide variety of products. They were amazed at the quality of work and selection of products. "We were blown away by all that they do," Beebe said.


Beebe said she and the department continue to be impressed by CI, not just the quality and workmanship, which is excellent, but also CI's program to provide incarcerated individuals with a way to pay restitution while also giving them job skills they can put to use after serving their sentence, reducing recidivism rates. "That's what I really like about the program," she said.


Although the firehouse held its grand opening in May 2010, the department is still showing off the furniture, cabinets and other Correctional Industries products and making sure visitors know who crafted it. "Any time we bring someone in the building, I hear the guys say, 'Correctional Industries made those,' and they say, 'Wow.'"


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