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Fire Prevention Week spreads across Andersen

Ernest Rios, 36th Civil Engineer Squadron’s Fire and Emergency Services Flight chief of fire prevention, interacts with Andersen Elementary School students Oct. 6, 2015, at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. The visit to the school, along with several other events held during the week, was held to bring awareness to Fire Prevention Week 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Arielle Vasquez/Released)

Ernest Rios, 36th Civil Engineer Squadron’s Fire and Emergency Services Flight chief of fire prevention, interacts with Andersen Elementary School students Oct. 6, 2015, at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. The visit to the school, along with several other events held during the week, was held to bring awareness to Fire Prevention Week 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Arielle Vasquez/Released)

Sparky the Fire Dog visits Andersen Elementary School students Oct. 6, 2015, at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. The firefighters demonstrated the importance of fire safety to the students in observance of Fire Prevention Week. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Arielle Vasquez/Released)

Sparky the Fire Dog visits Andersen Elementary School students Oct. 6, 2015, at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. The firefighters demonstrated the importance of fire safety to the students in observance of Fire Prevention Week. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Arielle Vasquez/Released)

ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- Hearing the loud noise of a fire alarm piercing through the air at night can be agitating; however, there is a feeling of security knowing the smoke detector is working properly to give warning of invisible danger.

This year, the 36th Civil Engineer Squadron's Fire and Emergency Services Flight called attention to fire protection measures and emergency preparation Oct. 3-10 during Fire Prevention Week. The theme was "Hear the Beep where you Sleep," highlighting the importance of having a working alarm in every bedroom of a house.

"People don't see the fire department until there's an emergency, but we are here to get the message of fire safety out to the community," said Tech. Sgt. Joseph Charleston, 36th CES FES assistant chief of fire prevention. "We get this message out once a year, but fire prevention should not be implemented just one week of the year; this is an everyday message. Safety needs to be taken very seriously."

Fire Prevention Week was established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire in 1871, which killed more than 250 people, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and left 100,000 people homeless. In 1920, former President Woodrow Wilson issued the first National Fire Prevention Day proclamation, and since 1922, Fire Prevention Week aims to increase fire safety awareness among the U.S. population.

Over the years, as more people became aware of the importance of Fire Prevention Week, experts with the 36th CES have been conducting a number of presentations including visits to Andersen Elementary School. During the visits, the firefighters conducted fire safety presentations to educate base children of the importance of fire hazards and what to do if they occur.

"We have a wonderful relationship with our fire department," said Willette Horne-Barnes, Andersen Elementary School principal. "Every year, they come and talk with our young people about hazards in the home as well as families having an evacuation plan in the event a fire occurs in the home. I think it is very interactive for them, and as long as it has some meaning for our young people, they learn from it and apply it."

In addition to the fire safety presentations, the program included a governor's proclamation signing, fire truck displays, a base parade and Guam Fire Service's demonstrations to end the week's events.

"My favorite part is interacting with the public and especially younger kids, because that is where we want our lessons to start," said Ernest Rios, 36th CES FES chief of fire prevention. "The lessons tend to stick better for younger people. Kids are like sponges; if you tell them things in a fun way they tend to absorb it and take it home to their families."

For more information and fire safety tips, visit the National Fire Protection Association at http://www.nfpa.org/safety-information.