PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. — During the first week of November the Presidio of Monterey observed ‘Fire Prevention Week’ by teaching civilians and service members across the post and Ord Military community ways to protect their families and homes from accidental blazes.
Fire Prevention Chief Cory J. Prough, whose crew is conducting the training, said, “This year’s theme is ‘Kitchen Fire Safety’ and we have a second theme this year. In light of the wildfires that were going on in Monterey County we’re doing ‘Wildfire Evacuation Planning’.”
Monterey County has recently been home to three large wildfires. Presidio of Monterey firefighters aided local and state efforts to extinguish these fires, but some area homes were lost to the flames.
Prough said his crew has been speaking to people about, “Making sure folks have their go-bags ready, two ways out of the community, and lines of communication with their friends and loved ones in case they’re displaced.”
In addition to being educated about evacuation plans, community members took part in interactive training focused on kitchen fires. A digital fire extinguisher allowed people of all ages to simulate putting out a fire on an LED screen.
“Normally that prop is in our fire prevention trailer but we have a mobile unit this year due to the pandemic and we’re just cleaning it off in-between users and teaching people how to use the fire extinguisher in the event they’ve got to use it,” said Prough.
Many fires result from unattended cooking, and with the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays coming up it’s important to keep a watchful eye on your oven, grill, or other heating elements. It is also recommended that homes have fire extinguishers, baking soda, and potholders nearby to put out small fires before they can spread.
In a typical Fire Prevention Week, the crew holds events throughout Monterey Bay, drawing in large crowds. This year those large community events were scaled down or transitioned online due to COVID-19. Four fire safety virtual trainings have taken place so far with over 200 participants, with more virtual training sessions on the schedule.
Presidio of Monterey Fire Prevention Inspector Wilfredo Sepulveda, who conducts the virtual training, said, “Everyone likes the fact that they’re able to participate, even from the comfort of their homes because of COVID-19.”
The training covers Army policy on building safety including candles, seasonal lighting displays, extension cords, daisy chains of surge protectors, and other potentially dangerous items and behaviors.
“Any opportunity we have to touch one person is a potential for a fire not to happen.” Said Prough. “Check your fire extinguishers and make sure they’re still in the green. If you’re ever in doubt with those you want to take them in and get them replaced . . . It’s the best insurance you can have for your home.”