Goodfellow declares fire prevention week

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Tyrell Hall
  • 17th Training Wing Public Affairs

Col. James Finlayson, 17th Training Wing vice commander, signed a proclamation declaring the first week of October as Fire Prevention Week, here, Oct. 4.

Members gathered to talk about fire safety and prevention. This year’s theme of Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety refers to smoke alarms and their role in alerting members when hazards are present.

This week marks the 150th anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire, which destroyed over 17,400 buildings, killed 250 people and left 100 thousand homeless. 

Billy Clemons, 17th Civil Engineer Squadron assistant chief of prevention, spoke about his experience and the importance of listening to and maintaining smoke alarms. 

“It’s vital that you pay attention to your smoke and carbon dioxide alarms. If they go off, they’re trying to tell you something,” said Clemons. “The leading cause of fire deaths is the smoke. If you have an early detection system like a smoke detector, it could save your life.”

Clemons also explained the importance of ensuring your smoke detectors are in working order. If smoke alarms are not making sounds when smoke is present, the smoke detector may be faulty or it needs new batteries. He mentioned that it’s important to change smoke detector batteries every six months, and if the detector goes off but no hazards are present, this could also be a sign of a faulty detector.

Before the proclamation signing, Finlayson addressed those in attendance, welcoming them to the event and reading the proclamation aloud.

 “This is an important day to put us in the right frame of mind and a great way to start the week for fire prevention,” said Finlayson. “I call upon the people of Goodfellow Air Force Base to participate in fire prevention activities at home, work, and school, to ensure their safety and the safety of their families in the event of a fire.”

The proclamation stated unattended cooking is the leading cause for home fires and emphasized that fire education starts in the home. It also stated developing a home escape plan and practicing it at least twice a year is critical to escaping a real fire.

Following the proclamation signing, the Norma Brown building conducted a fire drill using smoke machines to check members’ preparedness.

Throughout Fire Prevention Week, the 17th Training Wing will host various events to promote fire safety, education, and readiness. These include an open house event at the Louis F. Garland Department of Defense Fire Academy, and the annual Fire Muster Competition. During this competition, members compete with teams from other agencies in an obstacle course, simulating tasks firefighters perform every day.