Fire Prevention Week kicks off with open house
By Airman 1st Class Chase Hedrick, 14th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs
/ Published October 07, 2010
COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --
The members of the 14th Civil Engineering Squadron Fire Protection Flight kicked off Fire Prevention Week with a parade and open house Oct. 2.
The National Fire Prevention Agency's theme for 2010s' Fire Prevention Week is "A noise you can live with," focused on educating both the young and old about the importance and maintenance of smoke detectors.
Smoke detectors weren't the only thing happening at the open house. Matt Rosenbaum, fire prevention coordinator, estimated that over 500 people came and enjoyed the music, food and fun found at the event.
"We strive to make the event bigger each time," he said.
Hands on opportunities were available for attendees to familiarize themselves firsthand with some of the equipment used by Columbus Air Force Base emergency personnel. Several fire trucks and other emergency vehicles were put on display for the crowd, and full suits of fire protection gear were made available for guests to try on.
"One of the things we really want to do is to get children familiar with what a firefighter looks like in their equipment because we can look kind of scary when we're all dressed up," Mr. Rosenbaum said. "Letting them try it on themselves can help them identify with a firefighter in a real emergency."
Several games at the event also used firefighting equipment. A fire hose bowling setup had children unrolling a coiled fire hose at a set of bowling pins to try and knock them over. A fire extinguisher training simulator was also available to let attendees try and put out a virtual fire.
A fire safety smoke trailer gave an opportunity to see what it would be like to escape a burning building while utilizing the "get low and go" crawling technique.
Other stations were available to give away brochures and fire safety information to those who visited them. A special giveaway the stations had were collectible cards similar to baseball cards that Mr. Rosenbaum said are designed to keep children reminded of fire safety year round.
The open house also had three special demonstrations during the event. The first was a car extraction demonstration in which firefighters used hydraulic rescue tools and other equipment to tear apart a car and secure a safe and easy exit for the pretend victim. A rappelling demonstration also showed the crowd how emergency personnel can react to situations that require them to be high up on a building's exterior.
The live aircraft fire demonstration gave visitors a close view of how firefighters respond to a burning aircraft. Fires were lit on the mock aircraft but were then extinguished by mounted hoses on fire trucks as the vehicles moved into position. Firefighters were then dispatched to deal with sections of the aircraft that reignited while the area was searched for dummy survivors.
Fire Prevention Week didn't stop there, as Mr. Rosenbaum said that the fire station will be giving tours to over 3,000 children from several counties throughout the week.