CAMP ZAMA, Japan (Oct. 24, 2016) -- Fire and Emergency Services Division engaged with several children and youth members for Fire Prevention Week 2016 held Oct. 8-15 on Camp Zama and Sagamihara Family Housing Area installations.

This year's campaign was "Don't Wait -- Check the Date! Replace Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years," according to Hiromi Oliva, fire protection inspector, with several events and activities to promote fire safety to kids.

"It's best to teach kids while there still young because they learn so quickly," said Oliva. "This prepares them to survive in case of a fire."

The week kicked off with mascot Sparky the Fire Dog -- along with Camp Zama firefighters-- riding around the SFHA neighborhoods, handing out safety hats and taking pictures with youth members.

The campaigned continued with puppet shows at the Child Development Centers, covering safety tips such as "STOP, DROP and ROLL."

There were also activities held at Arnn Elementary with students trying on firefighter uniforms and shooting water at a pretend fire.

"It was actually pretty fun to try on the fireman's suit and experience how heavy it is," said Jada Banks, fourth grader at Arnn.

Oral Clarke, fourth grader at Arnn, said he learned that smoke alarms need to be checked often and replaced every 10 years.

"The way to check your alarm is to press this button … if it doesn't make a noise, that means it's dead," said Clarke.

Oliva said one of the most important reasons this campaign engages with young people is to minimize the fear most children have of fire fighters and the tendency for them to hide under the bed when they see them.

"We want to make sure our children know firefighters are their friends and there to help them," she said.