Fire Prevention Week: Prepare your family for unexpected

  • Published
  • By Maj. Randy Boswell
  • 39th Civil Engineer Squadron commander
October 7-13 is Fire Prevention Week at Incirlik and this gives all of us an opportunity to judge our preparedness and learn from the experts on what we can done to improve the safety of our homes, families and Wingmen. During this week I ask you to focus on two areas; fire prevention basics and escape plans should a fire occur. 

During 2006, fires claimed 3,245 lives. A sound fire prevention mindset and a practiced escape plan will help keep you and the people around you from being the next statistic. 

The theme for this year's Fire Prevention Week is "Practice Your Escape Plan." Having an escape plan and practicing it is key to surviving a home fire. Unfortunately, only one-fifth to one-fourth of households have actually developed and practiced a home fire escape plan. 

This week is a great opportunity to plan and practice. Your plan should include second story egress routes, family meeting locations and emergency phone numbers. Ensure all family members know how to stay low and escape under toxic smoke. Have a backup to your plan and, most importantly, practice your plan. 

We can prevent a fire from ever occurring by separating any one of these elements; ignition source, fuel or oxygen from the combustion mixture. In our homes and workplaces fire prevention begins by properly containing fuel and eliminating potential ignition sources. 

Additionally, ensure that electrical cords, power strips and transformers are properly utilized. Overloading these devices can cause the protective outer layers of the cords to melt, exposing bare wires creating a potential danger. Also, ensure that rags, papers, glue, paint and other combustibles such as fuels are properly stored. 

Having the right mindset can also prevent fires, especially in the kitchen. According to the National Fire Protection Association, cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home fire injuries. 

Furthermore, unattended cooking is the leading cause of home cooking fires. Incirlik Air Base has had four fires in housing this year as the result of unattended cooking.
Fortunately, there were no injuries and damage was minimal, but the fires were started and it was only the quick reaction by the occupants and fire department that kept these incidents from being much, much worse. 

Take advantage of this week, and take a hard look at the question, "Are you ready?" Remember, your family is counting on you, your unit is counting on you and the Air Force is counting on you.