CAFB Fire Department reminds Team BLAZE to ‘Look. Listen. Learn.’
By Airman 1st Class Keith Holcomb, 14th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs
/ Published October 19, 2018
COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. -- 2018’s Fire Prevention Week theme was "Look. Listen. Learn. Be Aware. Fire can happen anywhere," and members of the 14th Civil Engineer Squadron did their best during Oct. 6-13 to involve the base and the local community in educating people about the importance of fire prevention.
Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi’s Fire Prevention Week kicked off with a parade through base housing followed by an open house at the fire station on base. Throughout the week they hosted engaging and hands-on events to teach children and remind individuals how to better prevent house and work fires.
“This fire station loves connecting with our community,” said Shawn Ricchuito, 14th CES Fire Chief. “Fire Prevention Week is a good chance for us to showcase to everyone that fire prevention is important. We want everyone to ‘Look. Listen. Learn.’'”
The firefighters had help from other local fire stations, showing the first responder units have a close and important relationship.
“We live in the local community, we shop in the community, we work in the local community,” Ricchuito said. “We really enjoy going out there and meeting with our partners and make sure we are all improving each other.”
Staff Sgt. Ryan Offerman, 14th CES fire inspector, had a major part in planning most of Fire Prevention Week.
“Once we confirmed the larger events we wanted to accomplish I reached out to the organizations to confirm times, invite other agencies, and coordinate the smaller details of the bigger events,” Offerman said. “The challenge really paid off, this was the most participation I’ve seen from the parade and through each event this past week.”
Among the many hardships of creating a successful Fire Prevention Week, Offerman said it was most difficult to simply contact and confirm dates and times of participation from other organizations and agencies because everyone is busy, but he was grateful when leaders made time for the fire station.
“Chief put me up to the challenge of helping plan this week,” Offerman said. “It was very challenging and I’m glad it’s over so we can look at the impact to improve for next year.”
At the end of the week the fire station took time to reflect on the week. Ricchuito and Offerman both noted they are always looking for ways to educate and protect their community and meet with local schools and communities to continue that side of their mission.
“The whole station is always excited to showcase what we do,” Offerman said. “We love our job, we even had a lot of off-duty guys volunteering to participate in Fire Prevention Week. Overall the station just enjoys being able to teach everyone, especially the kids, how to be as safe as possible. ”
As Team BLAZE wrapped up Fire Prevention Week, the firefighters urge everyone to continue to be mindful of their actions to keep their house, workplace and community safer each day.
“I would like to thank all the commanders and chiefs, all the volunteers, our community partners, and sergeant Offerman, and the whole fire emergency services team,” Ricchuito. “It takes a lot of energy to plan all of this but we fully intend to thank everyone who helped. It’s a team effort, it takes a team to plan and execute, but it also takes a community to participate in the week and we had it all this year.”