GAFB FD hosts Fire Prevention Week 2023

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Jocelyn A. Ford
  • 17th Training Wing Public Affairs

Col. Angelina Maguinness, 17th Training Wing commander, signed this year’s proclamation declaring the start of Fire Prevention Week Oct. 6.

National Fire Prevention Week is observed each year during the week that surrounds October 9th to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire in 1871. The fire killed more than 250 people, left 100 thousand homeless, and burned more than 2,000 acres of land. 

The National Fire Prevention Association has sponsored Fire Prevention Week as a public observance since 1922. In 1925, President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed it a national observance, making it the longest-running public health observance in the United States.

The Goodfellow Fire Department packs the week full of activities to educate children and adults on fire safety. 

The Rescue Truck and crew paid a visit to the Child Development Center, allowing toddlers and youth up to age five to take pictures with Sparky the Fire Dog, ask questions, and look at all the different equipment used during rescue operations. 

Additionally, a fire engine and the Prevention Trailer parked outside the school-age facility one evening after school.

“That big red engine always catches the kids’ attention,” said Brad Keibler, Goodfellow Fire Department fire inspector. “We let them sit in it, look at all the tools and explore.”

While in the prevention trailer, youth learn what to do in case of a fire. First is to call 911.

“Make sure they got help on the way in case they get trapped,” said Keibler. “Then we cover the different aspects of using a fire extinguisher and the acronym PASS.”

The acronym PASS refers to the actions used in operating a fire extinguisher. 1) Pull the pin. 2) Aim at the base of the fire. 3) Squeeze the handle. 4) Sweep from side to side. 

The youth get to take turns practicing with a special extinguisher putting out a fire on a screen. Then, they are reminded what to do when smoke fills the room.

“There’s a smoke machine in there, and I’ll smoke it up,” said Keibler. “We tell them to get low and crawl into the next room.”

The second room in the trailer simulates a bedroom. There they go over what to do if they hear a fire alarm go off or smell smoke. They are instructed to feel the door with the back of their hand, use their blanket to block smoke from coming in from under the door and go to the window to allow help to see they are trapped.

Regular visits to the schools allow children face-time with fire professionals. 

“We want to make sure the kids know, if they are trapped and hear us coming, that we are there to help,” said Keibler.

In addition to the youth activities, the department set up an informational booth at the Base Exchange, handing out fliers and answering questions to those who stopped by.  

Finally, Goodfellow’s annual Fire Muster culminated the week’s events. This timed challenge offered base personnel the chance to complete a series of activities, experiencing a taste of what is expected of firefighters across the nation. 

This year the Dukes of Nukes, a team of scientific applications specialists attending special instruments training, showed up in force winning the challenge, beating the next fastest team by approximately a minute and a half.