Andersen ups the ante with Fire Prevention Week Published Oct. 4, 2011 By Airman 1st Class Whitney Tucker 36th Wing Public Affairs ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- According to the National Fire Prevention Association, Fire Prevention Week was established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire, the tragic 1871 conflagration that killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than 2,000 acres. Each year, fire officials across the country strive to raise awareness concerning fire safety. This year is no exception as the Andersen Fire and Emergency Services Flight has planned several events to further educate the base populace and promote this year's theme, Protect Your Family from Fire, Oct. 9-15 and offer fire safety facts to base personnel. "Uncontrolled fire can destroy homes, possessions and lives," said Ernest Rios, 36th Wing Fire Prevention Chief. "Fire Prevention Week is a time to check evacuation plans at home and in the workplace to ensure the safety of loved ones and coworkers. It is also a time to check for and eliminate hidden hazards and prepare families and coworkers for any emergency situation." "Finally, it is a great time to make sure all sleeping areas are equipped with smoke detectors, checking them at least monthly to ensure you will be properly notified if a fire should occur," he continued. Parents and caregivers should also take the time to discuss and practice emergency plans with children in the event of a fire. Additionally, around the home, it is important to ensure electronic appliances, machines, and heating units are plugged in and operated properly. "Many people don't realize that they are at greater danger from fire at home than anywhere else," Chief Rios said. "Fortunately, there are many things every individual can do to turn that around and make their homes a safer place. Fire Prevention Week is the time when we reach out to the community one-on-one, teaching people of every age how to prevent fires." Fire Prevention Week events include: Oct. 8 - Base parade with Sparky and fire trucks through base housing beginning at 4 p.m. Oct. 11, 12, 13 -Demonstration/presentations for students at Andersen Elementary School Oct. 15, 16 - Fire muster competition near Chamorro Village parking lot from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Home Escape Planning · According to a National Fire Prevention Association survey, only one in four Americans have actually developed and practiced a home fire escape plan to ensure they could escape quickly and safely. · While 66 percent of Americans have an escape plan in case of a fire, only 35 percent of those have practiced it. · One-third of American households who made an estimate thought they would have at least six minutes before a fire in their home would become life-threatening. The time available is often less. And only eight percent said their first thought on hearing a smoke alarm would be to get out. · Eighteen to 24-year-olds are the least likely to have even developed an escape plan. For more information on fire prevention contact the Andersen Fire Department at 366-5264.