By Mrs. Michelle Kennedy (Drum)May 1, 2014
FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- Fort Drum's Fire Prevention Branch will compete against other programs across the Department of Defense after being named best in the Army on Thursday.
The organization recently received top accolades in the Atlantic Region and in U.S. Army Installation Management Command.
"First of all, I'd like to say congratulations to our fire department," said Col. Gary A. Rosenberg, Fort Drum garrison commander. "They do a lot of hard work. We do a lot, both on and off post, in terms of fire prevention education, and they have a tremendous team at the fire department.
"I would put our fire department team against anybody in the Army," he continued. "As demonstrated by their winning this award, we have a top-quality team here at Fort Drum, and I am very proud of them."
Capt. Timothy Mulvaney, who was the supervisory fire inspector during the period being judged, said he believes the program has done well because of the significant amount of cost savings last fiscal year.
During fiscal year 2013, there was a significant building fire on the installation.
"I think the driving factor (of receiving the awards) was the cost savings from the fire investigation that our office conducted," Mulvaney said. "While the cause was undetermined, there was probable cause that the fire resulted from spontaneous combustion."
Because the fire was accidental and the building was being occupied by a contractor, Fort Drum was not responsible for paying for the repair, which was estimated to cost about $1.4 million.
"When it's accidental and contractor-related, the contractor is obligated by its insurance to pay for it," Mulvaney said. "For Public Works to cough up the money to do that job again, that would be a lot. That's a big cost savings to Fort Drum."
The program also saved more than $25,000 in overtime costs by having inspectors supplement the staffing and duties of firefighters, Mulvaney said.
"It's all about money," he said. "If you can save money, then you're doing great. We found ways to do that."
Mulvaney, who has been with Fort Drum Fire and Emergency Services for nearly 30 years, spent almost 11 years with the Fire Prevention Program before moving to his current position as captain of Fire Station 1.
He has served as a firefighter and an inspector and worked closely with Child, Youth and School Services. Mulvaney also was involved with building the brigade combat team headquarters, barracks facilities and other construction projects.
Mulvaney added that he wanted to get back into the firefighting side and he hoped he could share his knowledge of fire prevention and inspection with the other men and women with whom he serves.
"People rely on (Fire Prevention Branch) for a lot; we do almost everything," Mulvaney said. "Our fire loss -- other than that one fire -- is probably one of the lowest in the Army.
"We've got a lot of talent in the Fire Prevention Branch, as well as in the operations and training branches," he added.
For the regional, IMCOM and Army competitions, the organization was judged in three areas: fire inspections, engineering, code compliance and enforcement; community and public education programs; and innovation.
Fort Drum's Fire Prevention Program listed more than 50 achievements, all of which met the DOD's fire prevention program mission requirements. The team also excelled in increasing their commitment to communicate with the Fort Drum community.
The Fire Prevention Program's everyday tasks include inspections and community education. However, programs also are judged on how they reach Soldiers, Family Members and Civilians who live and work on the installation.