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Fort Rucker hosts Fire Prevention Week events

Zoey Miller takes command of a fire truck during Fire Prevention Week on Fort Rucker as her mom, Shawna, stands ready to assist. (Photo by Jay Mann)

Zoey Miller takes command of a fire truck during Fire Prevention Week on Fort Rucker as her mom, Shawna, stands ready to assist. (Photo by Jay Mann)

Published: October 10, 2014

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (October 10, 2014) -- Fort Rucker emergency responders and safety officials hosted a week of events Oct. 6-10 to remind people that “Smoke Alarms Save Lives: Test Yours Every Month.”

“Changing the batteries in your smoke detectors every six months is the most important thing,” Sgt. 1st Class Tommy Norris, assistant chief of fire prevention, said. “When you change your clocks for daylight savings time, change your batteries in your smoke detectors. Most of the smoke detectors in housing are hard wired, but the battery is a backup in case the power goes out.”

But the week was about more than smoke detectors. Fort Rucker first responders were at the post exchange checking car seats for proper installation, educating community members about fire prevention and safety, and giving children an up-close look at fire engines.

“It is important for your child’s safety to install car seats safely in your vehicle,” said Private 1st Class Alyssa Forsythe, military firefighter. “A lot of the problems we see are people not following manufacturer’s instructions when installing it.”

“Some people will use both the seatbelt and the latch system to install the car seat,” said Norris. “Unless the manufacturer agrees with that, you could be doing more harm than good. Two is not always better than one.

“Education is the key,” said Norris. “Even if you have older kids, car seat technology changes over the years, and you need to reread and refresh your knowledge before helping a friend install a car seat for their children.”

There were many firefighters on hand to talk about safety with the community at the many fire prevention events throughout the week.

“Properly working smoke detectors are an important preventative measure you can take against fires in your home,” said Joshua Miller, Fort Rucker firefighter. “A carbon monoxide detector is just as important to have in the house. You need both of them.”

And preparation is key. “Families need an evacuation plan to safely exit the house in case of a fire,” said Keith Sharp, Fort Rucker firefighter. “The plan should have a meeting place a safe distance away so family members can take accountability if they don’t exit together. Make sure to practice evacuating the house about as often as you change the batteries in your smoke detectors – about every six months.”

“Check your extension cords and small appliance cords regularly,” added James Vaughan, fire department lieutenant, “Also, check that you are properly storing chemicals and fuels around your home over the winter.”

Fire drills and fire prevention classes were held at Fort Rucker Schools and the post held a fire safety story hour for children. Three fire prevention nights were held at neighborhood community centers featuring fire engines, fire prevention experts, Sparky the Fire Dog, car seat inspections and the little people fire safety trailer.

“It is absolutely outstanding being a military firefighter,” said Spc. Brandan Shepherd, military firefighter. “It is a great pleasure helping the community every single day.”

This article was originally published at

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