Building, practicing fire evacuation plans saves lives

Building, practicing fire evacuation plans saves lives

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah — The Hill Fire Department joined the National Fire Protection Association and safety advocates recently to remind children and adults about fire safety.

Recognized across the country, Fire Prevention Week occurred Oct. 7-13 and this year promoted the theme, “Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware – Fire can happen anywhere” to highlight the importance of being aware of fire safety hazards and responding when a fire occurs.

This year, the Hill Fire Department schedule many activities throughout the base and local community, and promoted building and practicing evacuation and home fire drills as the appropriate response to fire.

The modern office and residence are constructed of lighter building materials. In addition, they are furnished with items made of composites, laminates and plastics, according to fire officials.

While wood and metal furnishings theoretically allow five to eight minutes to respond, these newer materials burn up to three times faster. Thus, evacuation, at work and at home, is the only safe option because fires can spread rapidly in a modern work environment.

Fire isn’t the only hazard when a fire occurs. When newer materials burn, toxic smoke is also a hazard.

At Hill Air Force Base, most facilities are equipped with fire sprinklers and fire alarm notification systems. The effectiveness of sprinklers in controlling a fire is well documented and is the primary reason for recently removing most fire extinguishers from facilities across the base, officials said.

However, sprinklers do not reduce toxic smoke. These systems are designed to control a fire while occupants escape.

At home, fires can spread very rapidly, and in some cases, families may have as little as two minutes to escape to safety once the smoke alarms sound.

The Hill Fire Department encourages residents to keep smoke alarms working and to leave immediately when a smoke alarm sounds and let the fire department put the fire out.

Other activities Hill AFB Fire Prevention Week activities included a small ceremony where the base’s deputy fire chief signed a proclamation. Also, fire prevention and fire extinguisher proficiency training with the Roy City Fire Department was conducted with more than 200 community members.

A Fire Prevention Week poster and essay contest for school-age children garnered 128 entries. Five winners were released from school to participate in a “Firefighter for a Day” base visit where students learned about fire trucks and attended a simulated aircraft crash live burn and structural fire exercise.

The week concluded with a barbecue and fire prevention training at the Liberty Heights Park in Boyer Hill Military Housing. There, base families practiced looking and listening for fires and appropriately responding to simulated emergencies.

Even though the week has come and gone, firefighters encourage base personnel and families to practice fire prevention year-round. The Hill Fire Department has started a training course on appropriate response to fires that is available to all Hill AFB employees and residents.

For more information on fire prevention, call Tyana at 801-775-3229.

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