Defense Infrastructure:

Fire Protection at Philadelphia Naval Business Center Meets Response Standards

GAO-03-20: Published: Oct 29, 2002. Publicly Released: Oct 29, 2002.

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When the Department of Defense closed military installations as a part of the base realignment and closure process and transferred properties to public and private ownership, it in some cases retained a portion of an installation as a military enclave. During this process, legal jurisdiction over an enclave may be transferred from the federal government to the local government. Such a transfer may incorporate provisions for fire protection and other services by local and state governments. A federal fire-fighting service provides fire protection services at the Navy's enclave located at the Philadelphia Naval Business Center. This is one of the three military enclaves, formed during the base closure and realignment process, which is still protected by federal firefighters. Twenty-four other military enclaves were converted from federal to local fire protection during the base closure process. The Navy retained a federal fire-fighting force at its enclave at the Philadelphia Naval Business Center because of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania did not respond to the Navy's request to change the jurisdiction of the Navy-retained land. The level of fire protection at the Philadelphia Naval Business Center is similar to that available elsewhere in the City of Philadelphia, but the arrangements for providing that protection differ. If a fire occurs on non-Navy property within the business center, both the Navy and the Philadelphia fire departments will automatically respond to the call, with the Navy as the first responder. However, if the fire is located on Navy-owned property at the business center, only Navy firefighters will automatically respond to the alarm. As private development at the Philadelphia Naval Business Center continues, the fire protection arrangements are expected to be reassessed. The Commissioner of the Philadelphia Fire Department stated that, as development at the business center continues to increase, his office will need to reevaluate the location of city-owned fire stations in the area around the business center.

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