By Edward Chavez
JBLM Fire Prevention

School has started around western Washington. The Joint Base Lewis-McChord Fire Prevention staff wants to remind parents on some important fire safety issues to keep everyone safe.

Many families may still be in summer vacation mode, with eating, playing and sleeping. As parents, we try to get the kids geared up to focus on studies. So the JBLM Fire Prevention staff wants to assist parents in educating the children.

Many older kids, if not already cooking at home, may want to start cooking at home. The most important thing to teach the children is never leave the cooking area unattended. Here are some other reminders:

• When cooking, leave phone and media devises out of eye site as not avert attention from the cooking.

• Ensure anything that can catch fire is not located near the hot burners -- paper plates, towels or even the oven mits.

• Limit, or even better, don't allow the frying of food to be done on the stove top.

• If using microwaves, don't use any metal objects inside the microwave -- that includes tin foil products and metal or even plastic utensils. Ensure cooking ware is microwave safe.

• When removing food from the microwave, the food will be very hot so use caution.
When finished cooking, double check to ensure all the appliances are off before leaving the kitchen.
Remind the kids of your evacuation plan and area to meet up, if you haven't made a plan this would be the ideal time to put one together. The what, where and how are very important.

• What to do in the event of an emergency -- like calling 911 as fast as possible. Cellphones may not connect to JBLM dispatch right away, but ask the answering operator for JBLM.

• Where do you what the children to go when an emergency happens? Account for all in the house. If there's bad weather, have a plan B. Check with neighbors to see if someone will be home. Make sure if they go to a neighbor's house that information is passed on to the dispatcher.

• How not to have a fire -- reinforce these fire safety items along with any other house rules.


There are some of you that have college-age children who may be leaving home for the first time. Much like the military members living in our barracks and dorms on JBLM, there are things parents need to ask.

• What is the fire prevention plan for the resident?

• Are the smoke alarms in working order? Are the residents required to test them monthly?

• What are the two exit routes the student needs to follow?

• Is cooking allowed in room? If so what are the safety items provided to eliminate any cooking fires?

• Are open flames (candles) authorized?

• How often is the evacuation plan practiced?

• Ensure all roommates keep each other informed of there where about's for accountability in the event of emergency.

• The policy for hallway clearance, these are required to allow them to exit quickly and blocking them could slow that down.

• Clean out dryer lint traps after each use.

•If the alarms activate leave quickly.


Fire Prevention Week is Oct. 7 to Oct. 13. This year's theme is "Be aware. Fire can happen anywhere. Look. Listen. Learn."

The use of space heaters in work area need to be authorized by JBLM's Directorate of Public Works. For more information, call Eric Waehling 253-966-1772 or Sakhawat Amin 253-966-9011.

We are still experiencing one of the worse fire season on records. The vegetation is still extremely flammable, and it won't take much to ignite and the winds are also picking up. It is illegal to discard any smoking material out of a vehicle on the installation and throughout Washington state.

Fines can reach as high as $1,200.

For more information, call 253-966-7164.