The month of October is National
Fire Safety Month. For most, it
is a time to learn new things that
help keep ourselves and others a little
safer, but for the men and women of the
Camp Arifjan Fire Department, the act of
practicing fire safety is business as usual.
The fire prevention team, which
occupies half of Fire Station number
one here, is in charge of maintaining,
installing and updating safety devices
such as sprinkler systems, alarms,
safety lights and fire exits. They also
take on the important job of educating
Servicemembers and civilians on proper
fire safety and prevention.
"The Fire Warden/Electrical Safety
Course, held every Friday, is one thing
we are doing to help minimize fires and
get the word out," says Charles Coffman,
Fire Inspector and Fire Plans Examiner
at Station One. "The fire safety wardens
are the eyes and ears in the building they
work and live," he said.
The class, which trains designated
Fire Wardens from each unit or building,
provides the fire warden with detailed
information, checklists and education on
preventing the most common causes of
fire in theater.
Another aspect of fire preventions job
is to identify the causes or potential risks
of common fires.
"Electrical hazards are by far the
biggest concern we have here," said
Coffman. "Well over 95 percent of the
fires in theater are electrical."
With so many types of electrical
outlets and plugs, it is important for
Servicemembers to be aware of the
voltage capacities of electronics and not
overload power strips, which is a big
concern. Many higher voltage electronics
such as microwaves, coffee pots and
refrigerators need to be plugged directly
into wall outlets to avoid power overload.
It is also important for those who
smoke to use proper smoking areas, and
to extinguish cigarettes in a safe location.
"The high temperatures in the summer
are a big factor in the fire situation here,"
said Coffman. "A discarded cigarette can
easily ignite dry wood chips or pallets."
A recent project conducted by the
fire prevention team involved updating
a helicopter maintenance facility with
new fire safety equipment. This included
a fire control panel that allows the fire
department to be alerted of the exact
location of the fire in the building. "It's
a vast improvement over the previous
method of going through the building
looking for the fire," said Coffman.
These improvements can be life-saving
in a dangerous situation. The fire system
is maintained by Senior Fire Technician
Ninan Joy and his team who keep the
equipment up and running properly.
With so many Servicemembers and
civilians coming and going, keeping
everyone informed is a constant challenge
for the Fire Prevention team. Therefore,
it is everyone's responsibility to practice
good fire prevention whenever possible.
With everyone's help, we can work to
reduce the number of injuries and loss of
equipment due to fires.

Page last updated Sat November 7th, 2009 at 07:14