An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

2009 Fire Prevention Week

  • Published
  • By Rhonda Griffin
  • 43rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs Office
Though we don't always see them, they are always there - prepared to give it their all in any situation that can occur. 

The Pope Fire Department is manned 24-hours a day, with trained and certified firefighters who are ready to drop everything at the sound of a tone to help others. But their jobs entail more than just fighting fires. 

"We mitigate all emergencies," said Joe Bruno, a civilian firefighter who has been named the AMC Civilian Firefighter of the Year. "Medical emergencies, hazmat (hazardous materials) calls and anything else out of the norm. It's many things besides fire." 

Though the station is located on base, it has the same functions as any city fire department, and the members are required to attend the same training and hold the same certifications. The department also works closely with Fort Bragg, Spring Lake and other local fire departments, assisting with calls when needed. 

The staff of about 80 percent military and 20 percent civilian firefighters rotate shifts of 24-hours on/24-hours off to put in a 72-hour work week. The members get a three-day break every two weeks, and then it's right back to working another 24 hours. Because they spend so much of their time together at the station - often as much as they do their own homes - the members feel more like family than co-workers. 

"Many of the things we do around here are based on tradition," said Deputy Fire Chief Master Sgt. Andre Sanders, 43rd Civil Engineering Squadron. "Sometimes we cook big meals and sit down together to eat."
Despite the tremendous amount of time the firefighters devote to the department and the Pope community, many use their time off work volunteering with neighboring departments and going out into the Fayetteville and Spring Lake communities to teach others about fire safety and prevention. 

"Fire prevention is our most important function," Sergeant Sanders said.
"In fact, the best way to combat a fire is to prevent it from happening," said Tech. Sgt. Gilberto Medina, 43rd Civil Engineering Squadron and assistant chief of prevention.
Fire prevention is the key year-round, the members agreed, but they all team up during Fire Prevention Week each year to reach out to the community. Fire Prevention Week dates back to the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, when a dry summer and a fire near the O'Leary barn led to the deaths of 250 residents, more than 17,000 buildings destroyed and more than 100,000 people homeless. 

The staff is geared up for this year's Fire Prevention Week, which begins Sunday. During that time, the department members will host several events within the community to raise awareness, educate others on prevention and provide various tips on keeping our homes and property safe from the leading causes of fires. Many activities are planned for children, providing them a fun way to learn about fire safety. 

The opening ceremony for Fire Prevention Week will kick off at the station at 10:30 a.m. Oct. 5, along with a cake cutting and an awards presentation to the winning designer of the 2009 Fire Prevention poster. 

Sparky the Fire Dog and a Pope fire truck will be out in the community Oct. 6, with a fire drill at the Child Development Center at 9 a.m., story time at the library at 10:30 a.m., and another fire drill at the School Age Program facility at 3:30 p.m. 

The children of the Pope Elementary School will receive a visit from Sparky and the fire truck, along with the smokehouse, Oct. 7 at 9 a.m. The military family housing parade will begin at 5 p.m.
Fall Safety Day will be held at Cross Creek Mall Oct. 10, with members of all emergency services branches on hand to provide information and answer questions about safety and other issues. 

During the week of Oct. 5-9, the base fire department will be open each day from 9 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 3 p.m., for visitors to stop by. 

Safety tips from the Pope Fire Department: 
Teach children that hot things hurt.
Be careful when using things that get hot, such as curling irons, ovens, irons, lamps and heaters.
Treat a burn right away. Put it in cool water for three to five minutes. Cover with a clean, dry cloth.
If the burn is bigger than your fist or if you have any questions, get medical help right away.
Remove all clothing, diapers, jewelry and metal from the burned areas.
The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking.
Keep children and pets at least 3 feet away from the stove.
Test smoke alarms at least once a month using the test button.
Make sure everyone can hear the sound of the smoke alarms.
Have a home fire escape plan. Know at least two ways out of each room, if possible, and a meeting place outside. Practice your escape plan twice a year.
When the smoke alarm sounds, get out and stay away.

The following events are occurring for this year's Fire Prevention Week: 
Oct. 5 
10:30 a.m.: Opening ceremony at Fire Station
Cake Cutting
Unveiling of the Pope Elementary winning fire prevention poster
Presentation of gifts to poster winner 
Oct. 6 
9 a.m.: Fire drill and a visit from Sparky the Fire Dog at Child Development Center
10:30 a.m.: Story time and a visit from Sparky the Fire Dog at the Library
3:30 p.m.: Fire drill and a visit from Sparky the Fire Dog at Youth Center/School Age Program 
Oct. 7 
9 a.m.: Pope Elementary School visit from Sparky the Fire Dog
5 p.m.: Military Family Housing Parade
Oct 10
10 a.m.: Fall Safety Day at Cross Creek Mall 

The Fire Station Open House is every day during Fire Prevention Week. The hours of operations are from 9 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 3 p.m. Large groups can schedule a visit by calling 394-2467/2464.  Fire safety inspections of Military Family Housing units are available by appointment Monday Oct. 10. Call the Fire Prevention Section at 394-1435/4778 to make an appointment.