By Sgt. Gaelen Lowers, 3rd Sustainment Brigade Public AffairsSeptember 2, 2010
JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq - In the past year and a half, inspectors have made more than 167,000 fire and electrical safety inspections on U.S. and Iraqi facilities throughout Iraq.
"Since Task Force Safe's start in 2008, we have been making the country safer for Soldiers, contractors and local nationals alike," said Capt. Brian Moore, the deputy chief of Task Force Safe, and a Port O'Connor, Texas, native.
Protecting this many lives from electrocution and fire sounds daunting, but it is accomplished by the joint effort of TF Safe and 46 Stanley, Baker and Hill employees throughout the country.
"Prior to August 2008, there were some safety issues, which were addressed," Capt. Moore said.
"It's hard to hold camps to any type of electrical code, so basically, what our inspectors are going out and looking for is if it will kill or shock you," he continued. "If it hurts, then it is a life, health, and safety issue."
Besides the more-than 2,300 weekly inspections and the 44,000 repairs they have made since forming, TF Safe holds a bimonthly class to teach Soldiers and contractors electrical and fire safety classes, said Texas City, Texas, native Mike Lauret, TF Safe's theater master electrician and electrical subject matter expert.
"Electrical safety is important because there have been 19 fatalities in theater due to electrical circumstances," said Lauret. "A lot of electrical installations were not (performed) correctly, and the majority of people in theater didn't know how the systems were supposed to function."
Lauret has worked as an electrician for more than 40 years. He is described by his peers and coworkers as their "go-to guy."
"He's a master electrician, the top of his field," said Maj. Corey William, the chief of TF Safe, and an Erie, Pa., native. "He's the glue that holds us all together."
While Lauret handles the electrical portion of the class, Michael Wreyford, a fire protection specialist for Stanley, Baker and Hill, and a Pine Mountain, Ga., native, takes care of the fire protection portion.
"On the fire side of the course, this is a basic rundown of fire safety in Iraq," said Wreyford. "I believe it really opens some eyes. They get to see what 'right' looks like, especially on the electrical side."
The course is just one of many things TF Safe does to get the word out, said Capt. Moore. The number of repairs and inspections has contributed to making Iraq a safer place to live and work.
"I believe we have been very successful in our campaign," he said. "We'll be here until the end. We'll continue to do the mission, continue to make inspections, and continue to make Iraq a safer place for everyone."