<b>FORT STEWART, Ga. </b> - Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield took part in National Fire Prevention Week, as an opportunity to inform Soldiers, Family Members and the southeastern Georgia community on the importance of fire prevention.

Traditionally, this event happens the second week in October, in remembrance of the Great Chicago Fire, the two-day blaze that began Oct. 8, 1871, and destroyed most of the city. This year, the week of events ran from Oct. 3-9.

Paul Crowell, the assistant chief of prevention for the Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield Fire Department, is in charge of National Fire Prevention Week for both installations.

"This is the time that we need to educate people on fire safety and all related items," he said.

He added the department is campaigning to make sure Soldiers and the communities they live in make sure their fire detectors work properly by changing their batteries during daylight savings time, Nov. 7. He noted that the batteries should be changed during spring daylight savings as well.

The second main theme of the week is unattended cooking. When someone cooks, he should keep a constant eye on what he is cooking. This problem leads to 30 percent of all fires on Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield, according to Crowell.

The fire department visited places all over both installations, including all post elementary schools, to inform Soldiers, Family Members and civilian employees about the importance of fire safety, Crowell said. They also gave tours of the post fire station for children at schools outside post and visited cities and towns in the area to discuss how easy and important it is to prevent fires.

On Oct. 6, Inspector Mike Gaitten, a fire inspector with the Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield Fire Department, went to the Hays Library, on Fort Stewart, to discuss the importance of fire prevention with children and what to do in case of a fire in their homes.

"If your house is on fire, you've got to get out of the house," he said at the event. "Remember that. And make sure you go where mom and dad tell you to go."

Gaitten added that Families should have an evacuation plan and a location outside of the home where Families can meet to make sure everyone in the Family is safe in case of a fire.

Bobbie Leggins, the children's programmer at the Hays Library on Fort Stewart, appreciated the fire department for what they did that day.

"It's always good to have people who are experts in that field to come," she said. "I read stories about fire safety. I talk about fire safety during the year with the children. But the firemen are the experts in their field, and so I think it's good for the children to feel comfortable with the firemen. When there is a real fire and the firemen come to their house, some of them are scared, so I think it's good they become comfortable with them."

Crowell added that National Fire Prevention Week is very important, but the department's fire safety effort is year-round.

For more information on fire prevention, go to <i>www.firepreventionweek.org.</i>

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16