Making that morning pot of coffee, watching the news and checking your e-mail are things most of us do on a daily basis that require electrical power. Task Force Safety Actions for Fires and
Electricity was created to ensure electrical safety is always on the minds of service members deployed to Iraq.

TF SAFE's mission statement declares that it will, through immediate and longterm measures, significantly reduce the number of fire and electrical incidents throughout the theater in order to
improve the safety of our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and civilians.

The goal of TF SAFE is to provide electrical and fire safety awareness throughout the Iraq joint operations area, said Maj. William Corey, chief, Task Force SAFE, United States Forces-Iraq.

"Over the last seven years we have had several electrical fatalities and to bring those numbers down we had to implement TF SAFE," said Minnick Eargle, safety manager, USF-I. "Bringing this
program on board has brought the number of electrical fires down as
well."

"We track all of the electrical and firerelated incidents in theater," said Sheldon Longnecker, TF SAFE theater fire chief, USF-I. There used to be about thirty-five fires a week and that has been reduced to one or two, he said.

"The program has affected the IJOA quite well." A large portion of the TF SAFE operation is providing power supplies and conducting electrical safety assessments on facilities. Handing out free power strips and proper adapters have reduced electrical fires, said Longnecker.

Initially, the priority was buildings with water or latrine functions, said Eargle. Then it developed into going through offices, trailers and compartmentalized housing units.

As electrical issues within the lodging areas surfaced, they have been researched and resolved.

"Florescent lights were a major problem when we first got here," said Longnecker. The magnetic
ballasts were causing fires. Measures were taken to stop the installation of those ballasts and
fires have been reduced.

Flyers, commercials, television spots and informational briefs are all used to get the messages out.
Another method to get the awareness message out is a monthly class held on Camp Liberty. The class covers topics of electrical safety, shock reporting and inspections.

"We are out there and available, if needed. If you have any issues or anything you suspect is a problem in your CHU or work area, make sure you let us know," said Longnecker. "We'll do the investigation; we don't care how small or large the issue is."

"We get a lot of static reports and that's fine with us. That tells us that our awareness
program is getting out," said Longnecker. "We would rather get ten static reports every month then to have someone get shocked, not tell anyone, then have the next person get electrocuted."

"We do all shock investigations no matter how minor," said Corey.

TF SAFE's mission is to make sure that electrical and fire safety standards are adhered to and awareness reaches everyone in theater.

"Take the time to be conscience about the electrical hazards that may be present in your facility," said Eargle. "If you're not sure, contact Task Force SAFE, the mayor cell or any local safety office. They can assist in getting someone out there to look at it."

Page last updated Sat March 26th, 2011 at 03:40