National Fire Prevention Week: Stay Fire Smart
October 12, 2009
RED CLOUD GARRISON - Roughly eight people die in home fires every day while someone is injured in a home fire every 39 minutes according to the 2007 statistics. The importance of fire prevention cannot be emphasized enough. In this sense, Area I fire department prepared a variety of displays and lectures during Fire Prevention Week Oct. 4 through 10.
"The main purpose of Fire Prevention Week is to spread the fire safety word to help prevent accidental fires by educating our population," said John Cook, Directorate of Emergency Service fire chief. "The theme of this year is 'Stay fire smart and don't get burned.' In order to put this message out across the folks in Area I, we scheduled numerous events throughout the week."
The National Fire Prevention Week is annually observed in every U.S. Army installation as well as the continental United States, which begins the first Sunday in October and ends the following Saturday. The origin of the NFPW goes back to 1871, the year in which the Great Chicago fire devastated the country. Not only did the fire kill more than 250 people and leave 100,000 more homeless, it destroyed more than 17,000 buildings in the city, which is one of the largest U.S. disasters in the 19th century. That tragedy opened people's eyes to the importance of new fire safety codes and public awareness campaigns across the whole nation.
Diverse activities were scheduled by Area I fire department throughout the week. They planned an open house event in each fire station, in which students from local international schools were invited to take fire safety instructions. Soldiers as well as the students were able to get on the simulator installed in the USAG-Red Cloud garrison fire station during this period. This year, the Kyonggi Province Fire office lent the simulator, which allows visitors to experience the same environment of actual fire incidents and teaches them how to escape safely. In addition to these activities, lectures and fire extinguisher demonstrations were scheduled for Soldiers as well.
Cook advised if you follow a few important safety regulations, fire incidents can be effectively prevented. One example is fire detectors.
"With the advent of fire detectors, the number of fire incidents has declined to 50 percent of what it had been," Cook said. "So, make sure your fire detectors and alarms are properly working. If a device is not in your room, you should have it installed. It will save your life."
Also, Soldiers and civilians who live off post must know how to call local fire station in case of emergency.
"I do recommend people who live off post know how to contact the local fire department in case they have an emergency and to learn how to tell them their address. The emergency number in Korea is 119. You don't have to worry about language barrier as they provide English service," Cook said.
He also emphasized the leaders' role in a unit in terms of preventing fires.
"The fire safety, just like any safety, is responsibility of all leaders. So they should make sure that their Soldiers are fire safe and practice fire evacuation drills in barracks, preferable once a quarter. A commander should make fire safety trainings a part of regular activities and designate fire safety personnel in a company," Cook said. "Being aware of what fire safety is goes a long way in preventing fires."