By Sgt. Austan R. Owen, 5th Mobile Public Affairs DetachmentOctober 16, 2012
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- Her husband is coming home after a week in the field and he will be hungry. She has been cooking all day but forgot a few ingredients for that special meal. She rushes off to the store to gather the last minute items not realizing she had failed to turn off the stove. When she gets back home the fire department is putting up the last of its equipment. When she enters the blackened, wet, soot covered kitchen she breaks into tears.
The Fire Prevention Team wrapped up Fire Safety Week on Joint Base Lewis-McChord with a culminating event at the Family Morale Welfare and Recreation tent Oct. 13. The team spent the previous week teaching, passing out information and giving demonstrations on fire safety to educate service members, spouses and children on JBLM.
Throughout the week firemen visited all the schools on JBLM speaking with children to reinforce fire safety in the home.
"It gives the opportunity for the kids to see the fire trucks and meet the firemen," said William Silva, fire inspector, JBLM Fire and Emergency Services. "A chance to see what a fireman looks like in gear and what their trucks look like because it's pretty scary when your house is full of smoke and all you hear are the sirens and see the lights."
Another tool the firemen used to educate the public was a smoke trailer.
The smoke trailer has a room that fills with smoke setting off the smoke alarms allowing for the participant to garner real world experience on what it may be like to be in a structure when it is on fire, Silva said.
"You don't want them to hear the alarms for the first time when there is an emergency," Silva said.
Silva used several sayings to help children remember some basic fire safety tips, "always have two ways out, stop drop and roll if you're on fire, stay low if there is smoke coming into your room."
Free fire extinguishers, carbon monoxide detectors, safety flashlights and first aid kits were given away during Fire Safety Week's culminating event. The team helped attract a crowd with free food and raffled away door prizes all in an effort to raise fire safety awareness.
The Inflatable Fireman, a blow-up mascot, walked around the FMWR tent greeting children and shaking hands helping to make the day a memorable time for the small children who interacted. While the Sparky mobile fire truck was remotely controlled and drove around spraying people with a small fire hose.
Silva emphasized the role of the fire department and what parents should teach their children. If you have an emergency call 911 we are here to help you, get out of your house as fast as possible. Teach your children to have two ways out. Have a plan and practice them with your children. Practice in case of an emergency. Silva explained that it is better to let your possessions burn than it is to lose your life or get injured trying to save them.
Donald Lane, chief fire inspector, JBLM Fire and Emergency Services commented that this year's Fire Safety Fair was a great success. He counted the number of participants by the number of free hotdogs they gave away, over 3,000. Humor aside, he said that this was the lowest fire loss in 10 years even though the population on JBLM has doubled in the last 2 years.