Fire Prevention Week: “Have Two Ways Out”
OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Sparky the Fire Dog and members of the 51st Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Emergency Services Flight have geared up during Fire Prevention Week Oct. 7-13 to educate the base populace about what they know best.
Osan's firefighters held tours of the fire station and spent a lot of time at the base schools, youth center and child development center to help the younger population understand that firefighters are not as scary as they look.
"We're trying to make them not scared of a firefighter in the event of an emergency," said Tech. Sgt. Jason Layfield, 51st Civil Engineer Squadron firefighter. "It's so common if something is going wrong that they get scared, they hide, and they crawl under beds. Then when we go in to rescue them, they don't call out to us. They hear us moving around and it makes them hide even more."
Every October fire departments throughout the country host the granddaddy of fire education and awareness known as Fire Prevention Week, which was established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 that killed more than 250 people and left 100,000 homeless, according to the National Fire Protection Association website.
This year's slogan is, "Have Two Ways Out." The purpose of the slogan is to encourage families to reevaluate their fire emergency exit strategies to incorporate a second exit.
"Fire prevention week as a whole is designed to spread the fire prevention message to all the populace, whether it's military or civilian," Layfield said. "Many times throughout the year we visit the youth programs on base so that the kids know that 911, stop drop and roll, and firefighters are there to help."
The firefighters help alleviate any fears by allowing them to get up close and personal so they know what to expect in case of an emergency.
"We do this little skit to try to make them unafraid of a firefighter wearing all of his gear in a scary environment," said Layfield. "The firefighters will sound like Darth Vader which can scare them, and we really try to let them know that we're there to help."
Although the week is designated for visits, this is not the only time the fire department will go out and educate the local populace, explained Tech. Sgt. Matthew Lutz, 51st CES fire inspector.
"We will do educational visits upon request," he said. "We also do annual inspections of all facilities to make sure everyone on base is safe."