FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- Fort Drum Mountain Community Homes partnered with the Fort Drum Fire Department to give more than 375 Soldiers and Families an opportunity to test their fire safety skills as part of the annual Firefighter for a Day event held Oct. 9 at Fire Station 2.

In conjunction with National Fire Prevention Week held each year during the second week of October, Fort Drum firefighters and the Mountain Community Homes staff created a night filled with fun, food and most importantly, education.

Throughout the evening, both parents and children participated in a wide variety of activities aimed at fire prevention education. Kids had a chance to experience using a real fire hose to aim at a target. There were also fire extinguisher simulations that demonstrated the proper use of multiple types of extinguishers.

Additionally, Families had a chance to walk through the fire prevention trailer, which gave them a real life look at what it is like in a fire situation. Firefighters used the opportunity to teach participants different techniques and strategies to use in a variety of potential fire situations.

In addition to the hands-on demonstrations, Families had a chance to step onto a real working fire truck and take a guided tour through Fire Station 2 for a better idea of the day-to-day life of firefighters here on Fort Drum.

"Having safe communities is important to us," said Charity Tripp, community services manager. "Whenever we get the opportunity to educate and enrich the lives of our Army Families while creating a fun event, we feel like we've done our job."

Established in 1925, National Fire Prevention Week is the longest-running public health and safety observance. Each year, fire departments across the country hold demonstrations and events throughout the week with a nationally recognized theme to teach families about different aspects of fire safety. This year, the theme was "Have Two Ways Out." In an educational and entertaining way, firefighters highlighted the importance of having multiple ways out of a fire.

"The night worked out very well, and if we can make them smile and laugh and educate them as well then we've done our jobs. The firefighters had a lot of fun that night as well," said Capt. Tim Mulvaney, Fort Drum firefighter. "What people need to remember is fire prevention is every week, not just this one week a year, and everyone needs to be aware."

(Cools works for Fort Drum Mountain Community Homes.)