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Look, Listen and Learn. Be aware. Fire can happen anywhere.

Senior Airman Micah Adams, 47th Civil Engineer Squadron fire department firefighter and Airman 1st Class Ian Miners, 47th CES firefighter, sprays off and scrubs a fire truck wheel in the fire department at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, Jan. 18, 2018. According to Adams, keeping the firehouse clean is important, and—after studying and training—remaining ever-prepared is a continual priority. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Anne McCready)

Members of 47th Civil Engineer Fire Department gather next to a T-1 Jayhawk to discuss an exercise at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, Dec. 14, 2017. The exercise simulated a fire in the aircraft to which they responded with fire containment and cleanup. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Airman 1st Class Anne McCready)

LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --

The 47th Civil Engineers Squadron’s fire emergency services flight strives to provide the most comprehensive fire emergency services support possible to the 47th Flying Training Wing. The fire prevention office is part of that comprehensive service. Our mission is to keep people and facilities safe from fire through public education programs and fire prevention visits.

As part of our public education program we participate in the National Fire Protection Association’s annual fire safety campaign. Fire Prevention Week is the week of October 7, 2018, and it commemorates the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. This year’s theme is, “LOOK, LISTEN and LEARN. Be aware. Fire can happen anywhere.” The National Fire Protection Association says:

“LOOK” for places a fire could start. Take a good look around your home. Identify potential fire hazards and take care of them.

 “LISTEN” for the sound of the smoke alarm. There may be only minutes to escape safely once the smoke alarm sounds. Go to your outside meeting place. This place is a safe distance from the home where everyone should meet.

“LEARN” two ways out of every room, and make sure all doors and windows leading outside open easily and are free of clutter.

The fire prevention office recommends looking for fire hazards at work and home. Look for things such as improper use of power strips, extension cords or poor electrical wiring. Power strips with items that draw a lot of power, or amperage, can cause overheating and start fires. Items such as refrigerators, microwave ovens, or any heat-producing appliances should never be plugged into power strips. Electrical issues are common findings during fire inspections and fire investigations.

One example was a fire in New York last April, when a high rise building caught fire leaving one person dead and six firefighters injured. The origin of the fire turned out to be a power strip.

Regardless of where you live, on base or off base, testing smoke detectors every month is a good practice. It only takes a few seconds to complete and it is statistically proven more people survive fire when working smoke detectors are present in the home. It is also recommend to reach out to others, especially if there are elderly family members or neighbors who might need assistance. Check the operation of their smoke detectors and the manufacturer’s date. A simple battery change can fix most detectors, but if a detector doesn’t work or is 10 years old or older, it should be replaced right away.

It is important for everyone to have an evacuation plan. If you are at work or at home, know how to react when a smoke detector or fire alarm goes off. Learn two ways out of every room. At home, this might mean using windows. Plan ahead; escaping the second story can be scary…practice and ensure everyone is comfortable with opening windows, using ladders and following the plan. Always identify a safe location away from the house to meet.

Looking, listening and learning are always vital to staying safe. Have awareness of possible exits in case of a fire and assure the fire alarms work by checking them monthly. Doing these things will help keep everyone safe if a fire were to occur.