By Spc. Paul HolstonApril 15, 2011
Whether it's plugging in that cord for your laptop, turning on the air conditioner, or leaving the light on in the CHU, there is always a possibility for a fire or an electrical hazard. To assure service members and civilians are remembering safety when it comes to electronics, Task Force Safety Actions for Fires and Electricity, also known as TF SAFE, was created to inform personnel of the precautions and actions of electrical safety. "TF SAFE's mission is to provide the safest possible environment for our service members and civilians," said Brig. Gen. Rock Donahue, the directorate of United States Forces - Iraq J7 engineering support, a native from Andover, Mass. "We do this by reducing the risks of accidental injury and even death in an environment that we can control." "TF SAFE's importance to the overall safety mission in Iraq goes back to our purpose which is to mitigate fire and electrical hazards ensuring we are providing a safe environment for our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen and civilians," said Maj. Jason Good, chief of TF SAFE, USF-I J7 engineering support, a native from Kent, OH. "We mitigate the fire and electrical hazards for our service members and civilians by conducting facility inspections, fire department operational readiness inspections and fire and shock investigations as required." TF SAFE was created in August 2008 under Multi-National Forces - Iraq because of incident fires & electrical hazards. Since then, it has continued to significantly increase the safety of service members and civilians throughout Iraq. Because most outlets in Iraq are 220 volt compliant, TF SAFE distributes power supplies, such as power strips and adapters, to ensure service members and civilians are conducting electrical safety in their rooms, as well as their workplaces. Not everyone understands that most of our devices from the states are not 220 volt, said Donahue. Task Force personnel have gone through and ensured that every single containerized housing unit [on Victory Base Complex] was removed of any unsafe power strips, as well as handing out free power strips and adapters, he said. Electrical shocks have also become an important issue. "Anytime you have a shock, it must immediately be reported through the Mayor Cell as the first course of action, no matter how minor the shock," said Donahue. Posters, screen savers, briefings and television commercials are some of the many ways TF SAFE is spreading its message, ensuring everyone is informed for their safety. TF SAFE will continue its mission as the drawdown of U.S. forces occur, as well as educating Iraqi forces on the dangers and hazards of electrical and fire safety. "TF SAFE's mission will continue throughout the drawdown process," said Good. "Our mission will include inspections of facilities we are transitioning to the government of Iraq and the U.S. Department of State. We will continue to conduct our electrical and fire safety inspections and investigations until United States Forces-Iraq fully transitions to United States Mission - Iraq [Department of State]." "We're working with our Iraqi partners to help them build the appropriate tools, get the right programs and instructions," said Donahue. "As we advise and assist on how to do these things, it has become an incremental progress." As U.S. forces drawdown from Iraq, TF SAFE continues to remind and inform service members and civilians the electrical and fire safety standards throughout. "Do not overload extension cords and power strips," said Good. "Service members and civilians need to ensure they check the voltage capacity of these items. If service members or civilians see damaged electrical outlets or exposed wiring, they need to report it to their respective billeting offices, mayor's cells or site facilities managers. Hazards that are not reported present an unmitigated danger to everyone." "Be it your workstation or living environment, stay disciplined and vigilant, it's all about protecting the force in an environment that we can control," said Donahue.