Rangers learn fire safety at Torii Station
Several young scouts learned fire safety at Torii Station Oct. 22 as U.S. Army Garrison - Okinawa Firefighters closed out Fire Prevention Week.
The Neighborhood Church Royal Rangers, Outpost 22, were taught the basics of using fire extinguishers and were dubbed U.S. Army Firefighters for a day, allowing them unfettered access to equipment, uniforms and personnel. The pee-wee smoke chasers clamored over the fire engine while donning over-sized helmets and gear.
Torii Station Crew Chief Takumi Abe helped provide instruction on fire fundamentals, which he said could be life-saving – especially for children.
“Kids may be able to protect their lives, minimize damage to property, and not to mention, prevent fire incidents from happening if they are aware of the danger of fire and understand what they need to do in case of real fire emergencies,” said Abe.
Abe and his team laid out the PASS technique for employing a fire extinguisher. The easy-to-remember acronym is helpful in dealing with a small fire as it instructs to: pull the pin; aim low at the base of the fire; squeeze the lever and sweep from side to side.
The Royal Rangers were impressed by the video-game-like simulator and eager to attack the virtual flames. One Ranger asked if the game was available on PlayStation.
For Torii Station Fire Chief Charlie Butler, fighting fires is no game. The steely-eyed and seasoned firefighter believes that by mastering the basics, the kids came away better prepared to face an emergency.
“It's been said, everything you really need to know you learned in Kindergarten,” said Butler. What this really means is that if you teach children the fundamentals of everything, including fire safety while they’re young, it builds a great foundation for them to become contributing citizens in our society.”
The Torii Station Firefighters are committed to engaging the public in matters of fire safety and emergency procedures. Community outreach events and cross-training with local Okinawan fire stations is part of the drill for the tight-knit team.
“Outreach efforts like this are imperative in order to periodically raise awareness of fire dangers and prevent fire incidents from happening,” said Abe. The events like this also help us to strengthen the bond between the fire department and the community through interaction, which I believe, leads to the protection of lives of Soldiers and civilians on and around the base from fire-related injuries and death.”