By Justin Creech, Belvoir EagleJanuary 12, 2012
Fire and Emergency Services Fire Marshall's Office will conduct their 7th annual Door-to-Door Fire Safety Campaign this spring to check smoke alarms, fire extinguishers and answer any questions residents of Fort Belvoir may have regarding fire safety.
The yearly campaign is a valuable tool for the Fire Marshall's Office as it allows it to see how it can better inform the community concerning fire safety.
The first year of the campaign was 2006. The Fire Marshall's Office was looking for a way to get information out to all the residents on Fort Belvoir because the department was starting to see a pattern of residents not calling the Fire Department when they had an emergency in their home.
After finding out that many residents didn't know how to use a fire extinguisher, the 2007 operation focused on educating residents on how to safely operate a fire extinguisher.
The promotion continued to improve in the spring of 2008 as a proactive plan was put together like the first Door-to-Door in 2006. In 2008, the campaign focused on handing out fire safety information and offering to check smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers, and talk to residents about the clutter in their homes and garages.
"The plan came together with the help of the entire Fire Department and Villages of Belvoir Personnel to support this effort," said John Weaver, FES Fire Marshall.
FES continued to check smoke alarms, fire extinguishers and carbon monoxide detectors in the spring of 2009, but added a few more elements to their operation.
FES also focused on the continuing problem with clutter in homes and garages. There were also concerns with dryer vents not being clean, causing a potential fire hazard.
"We also evaluated the residents' evacuation plans to ensure that they had a meeting place and gave them advice on how to improve," said Weaver. "The department was also meeting the U.S. Army Installation Management Command Execution Order 09-018 to educate the residents on fire safety since during the first six months of fiscal year 2009, the Army experienced 130 fire related incidents."
The Fire Department personnel went out two nights a week and couple Saturdays over an eight-week period in 2009 covering all the villages. This campaign provided fire safety literature that insured that every unit had working smoke alarms and provided the residents with an opportunity to speak with someone about their fire safety concerns.
Since the inception of the Door-to-Door campaign in 2006, the Fort Belvoir FES fire safety message has reached out to 8,815 residents. The residents' reaction to the public education has been extremely positive.
The Door-to-Door campaign also increased the level of safety for post residents.
Fire personnel were able to identify and record the location of residents having special needs. With this information, which FES has entered into a computer-aided dispatch program, responders will be aware of special situations before they arrive at the home.
"This campaign has helped reinforce that fire prevention and safety are not something that residents should only think about every October during Nation Fire Prevention Week," said Weaver. "It is a year-around effort."