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20th CES educates community during Fire Prevention Week

The 20th Civil Engineer Squadron fire department visited schools in the local area to help spread awareness of fire prevention and safety skills

A High Hills Elementary School student covers his face as he crawls up the stairs of the Fire Safety House during Fire Prevention Week at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Oct. 12, 2017. The 20th Civil Engineer Squadron fire department provided the “house,” which simulated fire hazards, during their visit to local schools. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Destinee Sweeney)

The 20th Civil Engineer Squadron fire department visited schools in the local area to help spread awareness of fire prevention and safety skills

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Richard Palmer, 20th Civil Engineer Squadron (CES) firefighter, counts children in line for a Fire Safety House during Fire Prevention Week at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Oct.12, 2017. During the week, 20th CES firefighters educated the local community about fire prevention and safety. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Destinee Sweeney)

The 20th Civil Engineer Squadron fire department visited schools in the local area to help spread awareness of fire prevention and safety skills

A High Hills Elementary School student exits a fire truck after receiving a tour of the vehicle during Fire Prevention Week at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Oct. 12, 2017. The 20th Civil Engineer Squadron fire department visited schools in the local area to help spread awareness of fire prevention and safety skills. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Destinee Sweeney)

This year’s Fire Prevention Week theme was “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!” stressing the importance of time and escape routes during an emergency.

Cornelius Berry, 20th Civil Engineer Squadron fire inspector, places a plastic fireman’s hat on a Team Shaw child during Fire Prevention Week at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Oct. 10, 2017. This year’s Fire Prevention Week theme was “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!” stressing the importance of time and escape routes during an emergency. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Destinee Sweeney)

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- The 20th Civil Engineer Squadron fire department visited schools and ran an informational booth during the 2017 Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 8-14.

This year’s theme, “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!” stressed the importance of time and emergency planning in relation to fire safety.

“‘Every second counts’ means that if you recognize there’s an emergency in your house — and it doesn’t have to be a fire, we respond to medical emergencies and gas leaks, we go to everything — don’t wait, call 911 immediately and get someone en route,” said Staff Sgt. Camrin Northrop, 20th CES firefighter. “‘Plan two ways out’ means for every room in your house, you need to have two ways out. So if you’re in your bedroom, you have a window and a door. If you’re in the kitchen, what are two ways out of the kitchen?”

Firefighters ran an informational booth in front of the Shaw Base Exchange as well as a Fire Safety House, an interactive display that features many fire hazard simulations such as smoke and doors warm to the touch.

“With today’s construction of homes,” said Cornelius Berry, 20th CES fire inspector and event coordinator, “most fires will start and be fully involved within three minutes, so you don’t really have a lot of time to get out. We want to make sure everyone gets out quick and knows an alternate way out.”

The firefighters, along with Sparky the Fire Dog, also visited local elementary schools, giving children a fire truck tour and guiding them through the Fire Safety House while teaching them fire safety skills.

Northrop said it is absolutely important for children to be involved in planning and to know how to get themselves out of the house.

“Everyone in the household from the youngest kid to grandma and grandpa, everybody needs to be involved when making that (emergency) plan and participating in drills,” said Northrop.

Berry also said it is important to teach children emergency skills starting when they are young.

“The more exposure you get to the fire safety message, the more it’s going to stick in your memory and become a part of your everyday life,” said Berry.

For more information about Fire Prevention Week, visit: www.firepreventionweek.org.