Fire Prevention Week focuses on having ‘two ways out’

Fire Inspector Ken Kunihiro instructs children on how to “stop, drop and roll.”

Story and photo by Brandon Bosworth
Contributing Writer

The Federal Fire Department hosted a variety of fire prevention activities Oct. 5 at the Pearl Harbor Navy Exchange (NEX) to coincide with the start of Fire Prevention Week.

Fire Prevention Week was established by the National Fire Protection Association to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. This year’s theme, “Have Two Ways Out!” focuses on the importance of fire escape planning and practice and having more than one escape route in case the primary one is blocked.

“Our mission is to educate the public about fire prevention,” said Battalion Chief David Jimenez, Federal Fire Department. “We learn how fires start and share that knowledge with the public.”

According to Jimenez, the number one cause of household fires is unattended cooking. “If you step away from the stove, turn it off,” he cautioned.

Good housekeeping is also important in preventing fires. The more combustibles in a home, the more fuel for a fire.

The Federal Fire Department has been hosting fire prevention activities at the Pearl Harbor NEX for 10 years. This year many interactive educational tools were featured.

Fire Inspector Jackie Rapozo built a special tunnel for kids to crawl through to re-create escaping from a fire.

“I like stuff for kids that’s realistic and hands-on,” she said. “I’m not good with just lecturing.”

Another training tool was a special fire extinguisher that allowed users to simulate putting out a fire. The extinguisher was the exact same size and weight as a real extinguisher. It projected a beam that could be pointed at a virtual fire to “extinguish” it.

While similar in function to a video game, the $12,000 high-tech extinguisher is actually a useful way to allow people to feel what it is like to actually use a fire extinguisher.

“It’s a good tool,” said Staff Sgt. Michael Hyde, 647 Civil Engineering Squadron. “For many people, it’s their first time using a fire extinguisher.”

“We can use this extinguisher anywhere,” added Battalion Chief Albert Balderama. “It can be used indoors, and is very green and environmentally friendly.”

Balderama stressed that it isn’t enough to just have fire extinguishers at your home or workplace. “You need to check them once a month to make sure they are still charged,” he said.

For more information about fire prevention and safety, visit www.firepreventionweek.org.

Tips for planning the family’s escape

The Federal Fire Department recommends the fol- lowing tips for planning your family’s escape:

• Make a map of your home. Mark a door and window that could be used to get out of every room.

• Choose a meeting place outside in front of your home. This place is where everyone will meet once they have escaped. Ensure that the location is drawn out on your escape plan.

• Write the emergency telephone number “911” on your escape plan.

• Practice your escape plan with everyone in the household by having someone activate the smoke alarm.

• Keep your escape plan on the refrigerator and remind family members about practicing the plan twice a year or whenever anyone in your home celebrates a birthday.

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Category: News