Detroit Arsenal Fire Department gears up for Fire Prevention Week
(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

The Detroit Arsenal Fire Department plans to hold Fire Prevention Week throughout the installation Oct. 7-11.

They will conduct training to include building evacuation exercises, fire extinguisher training, and smoke and fire safety for children.

Fire Prevention week started in 1922 by the National Fire Protection Association and received a presidential proclamation by President Calvin Coolidge in 1925. The first Fire Prevention Week was in commemoration of the Great Chicago Fire's 40th anniversary and is held the week of October 9th every year.

The national fire prevention campaign theme this year is "Not every hero wears a cape. Plan and practice your escape." This is due to the fact that you can have as little as two minutes to escape safely in most home fires once the smoke detector is triggered.

Fire and smoke alarm activations on Detroit Arsenal can occur with some frequency due to many factors. This can lead to complacent behavior when exiting the buildings.

Detroit Arsenal Fire Chief, Mike Ball, said, "When we become complacent we can put ourselves in a bad situation. Not only do we not evacuate in a timely manner, it puts individuals in danger that could have saved themselves, and puts individuals at risk that now have to rescue those individuals."

Some may think that there aren't any signs of a hazard following a fire alarm, and therefore it is a false alarm. But according to the Detroit Arsenal Assistant Fire Chief, Martin Potter, the alarms aren't false, they are actual alarms. "Something triggered the mechanism and the alarms are working the way they were designed," he said.

Here at the arsenal, some of the things that set off the alarm are smoke from unattended cooking and heavy amounts of residue due to the construction that settle on the alarm sensors that act like smoke.

"The fire department will respond to all alarms with urgency, because you can never tell if there isn't a danger to life or property until you can investigate the cause of the alarm," said Ball.

Ball urges everyone to treat all alarms as real emergencies and act accordingly.

He also encourages microwave users to stay near when they are cooking something and keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn. "Cooking times vary with each microwave, and you can't rely on what you've done with other microwaves," said Potter.

Potter said, "You should use safe practices [with microwaves], the same way you do at home. If you put something in the microwave, don't walk away."

Keeping an eye on the things we know can cause these inadvertent alarms can keep the fire department ready to respond to real hazards to life and property.

"Anytime we have to put our resources in one area, it can lead to vulnerabilities in other areas [of our response capabilities]."