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Ellsworth celebrates National Fire Prevention Week

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. – The 28th Civil Engineer Squadron celebrated National Fire Prevention Week with several events at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Oct. 9, in an effort to spread fire safety awareness to local families.

This year’s theme emphasized the importance of proper smoke detector maintenance, and keeping them up to date.

“The year’s theme, ‘Don’t Wait – Check the Date’ means check the date on your smoke alarms and replace them every ten years,” said Staff Sgt. Levi Hickey, a fire inspector assigned to the 28th CES. "You should also test your smoke alarms every six months to ensure the battery is still good in them.”

The 28th CES conducted a firefighter challenge, base parade and open house with activities and demonstrations where children learned about fire safety and prevention.

“After the challenge we then have an open house here at the fire station. There were bouncy houses and fun games for the kids, as well as a parade the following morning,” said Bill Beck, a fire inspector assigned to the 28th CES. The main goal is to create awareness on base of the mission of the fire department, in particular fire prevention – get people thinking about the mission of what we do, preventing fires.”

In addition, Airmen assigned to the 28th CES visited local schools to teach children about smoke alarms, fire hazards and fire safety.

Beck explained that every year the 28th CES fire department partners with area firefighters to spread the message of fire prevention through school visits, open houses and demonstrations.

“This year we talked about how kids can be detectives in their own homes when it comes to fire prevention,” Hickey said. “We placed several pictures of different story book detectives, like Cam Jansen, near common household fire hazards and the children had to find the clue and determine what the fire hazard was and how to fix it. One teacher this morning said this was the best presentation they've ever had for fire prevention week.”

Beck stated though firefighters are always ready to stop fires, it’s easiest to stop fires that never start. He also stressed the importance of home owner awareness of areas where fires can be prevented.

“I would have to say that every year is a success,” Hickey said. “Even if we [reach] three kids out of around the thousands of them that we speak to, one adult that comes to an open house or a teacher in one of our briefs that realizes a potential fire hazard and fixes it – that is a huge success. Life safety is our number one priority.”