By Susan HusemanOctober 19, 2011
STUTTGART, Germany -- Do you know what to do when a kitchen fire breaks out?
Those who attended U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart's Fire Prevention Day, held outside of the Panzer Exchange on Oct. 15, know not what to do, thanks to a dramatic grease fire demonstration.
The lesson -- never throw water on a grease fire -- was evident as flames leapt out several feet from a pot of burning oil after Nico Mayan, the Böblingen Youth Fire Department leader, poured a small amount of water into the burning pot.
"The number one cause of residential fires -- in the garrison, the Army and the U.S. -- is unattended cooking fires," said Len Fagan, assistant fire chief for USAG Stuttgart.
"The phone rings, the kids are crying ... whenever you have something on the stove and you have to leave the kitchen, you need to turn off the heat. A fire can happen in an instance," he said.
The grease fire demonstration was just one of several activities available during Fire Prevention Day, hosted by the USAG Stuttgart Fire Department with the help of the Böblingen Fire Department.
Both fire departments gave community members rides 100 feet in the air in the rescue buckets of their aerial ladder trucks. The Böblingen Fire Department also gave children rides around Panzer Kaserne in a fire truck as members of its youth fire department taught others how to operate a fire hose.
Meanwhile, garrison firefighters gave hands-on demonstrations on how to use fire extinguishers to put out fires.
Fires don't occur often in the garrison, according to Fagan, because the garrison sponsors an aggressive year-round outreach program, in addition to Fire Prevention Day.
"We conduct fire drills at the schools, evacuation coordinator training, and fire extinguisher training for organizations such as the clinics; Child, Youth and School Services; and the banks. Training pays off," he said.
The exhibit capped off the garrison's observance of National Fire Prevention Week Oct. 9-15, which commemorates the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 that killed hundreds of people and destroyed over four square miles of the city, Fagan said.
It was fitting, then, that the garrison fire department received its latest piece of fire fighting equipment, an aircraft rescue firefighting vehicle on Oct. 7, just in time for Fire Prevention Week.
"In simplest terms, it's a large rolling fire extinguisher," said Karl Dörsam, the USAG Stuttgart fire chief.
Also known as a "crash truck," the ARFF carries 12,000 liters of water and 1,500 liters of foam component, according to Dörsam. The built-in pump has a discharge capacity of 6,000 liters per minute, meaning at full force, it takes only two minutes to empty its water supply.
This is important because, according to Dörsam, "The fuselage of a standard aircraft is supposed to withstand a working fire for about 90 seconds. You need a lot of extinguishing agent in a very short time."
The ARFF replaces a 23-year-old vehicle with about a third of the new vehicle's capacity.
The fire department, based at Stuttgart Army Air Field, will put the 665 horse-powered ARFF to work during military aircraft emergencies and refuelings.
"We're also expected to respond to civilian aircraft emergencies at the airport," Dörsam said.