By RACHEL PONDER, APG NEWSSeptember 11, 2008
For the second year in a row the Aberdeen Proving Ground Fire and Emergency Services Division, Directorate of Safety, Health and Environment, has been recognized by the Department of the Army with a Fire Prevention Program of the Year Award.
In 2007, there was zero reportable structural fire loss within more than 14 million square feet of non-residential buildings at APG, which is in part due to a continued annual reduction in the number of fire code violations detected during APG's periodic inspection schedule.
Fire Chief Edward Budnick, Assistant Chief James Budnick, Fire Protection Specialist Barry Bennett and Fire Protection Specialist AndrAfA Fournier accepted the award on behalf of the department at the Department of Defense Emergency Services Awards Banquet on Aug. 15 in Denver, Colo.
Doug Farrington, fire prevention specialist, said that while he appreciates the award, he and his co-workers are just continuing to take a proactive approach to fire prevention while providing quality services to the APG community.
"We want to continue trying to be the best and improving our programs," Farrington said. "We are always working to make APG safe. We feel that it is more honorable to prevent a fire than to fight a fire."
Some of the proactive steps include being diligent about conducting fire inspections.
Last year, the APG Fire and Emergency Services performed 2,371 fire inspections serving more than 30,000 military and civilian employees and residents. Farrington said that these fire inspections play a critical role in the prevention of fires.
The fire prevention personnel showed flexibility by volunteering to alter their work hours on a need-by-need basis in order to provide training and inspections to installation agencies at times that met the agencies' schedules.
"Fire prevention is a three hundred and sixty five day-a-year job," Farrington said.
"This award is directly related to not only the activities by all the members of the Fire and Emergency Services Division but the combined effort of all tenant and operational organizations on post," Chief Budnick said. "This joint effort is critical to make this program an award-winning one. We continue to be enthused about our support and interaction with all these organizations."
APG Fire and Emergency Services Division is active in the community by organizing several block parties like Community Awareness Day, and providing free fire prevention classes on specialized topics such as evacuation planning, kitchen safety and babysitter fire prevention for base residences, as well as federal employees and military personnel.
The APG Fire and Emergency Services Division is also committed to providing training to children. For instance, they provide merit badge training to Boy and Girl Scouts groups, the Civil Air Patrol, and the Young Marines, and have expanded a mentoring curriculum with the APG-based Maryland Freestate ChalleNGe Academy, as well as conducted career day lectures at seven area public schools serving more than 4,500 civilian and military children.
APG Fire and Emergency Services' commitment to proactive fire prevention is also playing a critical role during the installation's many ongoing construction projects due to base realignment and closure and APG 2012. For example, they provide continued fire protection consultation for more than $900 million BRAC projects that will affect the APG installation and established a system for saving costly existing fire protection equipment, such as, alarm panels and transmitters, from large BRAC demolition projects so they could be reused in upgrading existing alarm panels in other APG facilities.
Farrington said that APG Fire and Emergency Services is committed to continue to provide quality services for the APG community. He added that next year his department hopes to receive the Department of Defense Fire Prevention Program of the Year award.
"Remember, fire and safety is everyone's job every day." Chief Budnick said.
In the event of an emergency, dial 9-1-1. For further assistance, with any fire prevention and protection needs, call 410-306-0572 in APG North and 410-436-4451 in APG South.