Story and photo by Joe Schmitt, CFAY Public Affairs
Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka (CFAY) held an opening ceremony for Fire Prevention month Oct. 3 on the red brick area outside the commissary. The Sullivans School staff, students and families were also at the event to give awards and participate in fire safety education.
“It’s fire prevention week in the [U.S.] but for here in Yokosuka, it’s fire prevention month for October. Today we had the opening ceremonies and the theme for this year is ‘Protect your family from fires’,” said George Salcedo Fire Prevention Chief at Commander Naval Region Japan Fire Department. “That’s the biggest thing is that we need to keep the parents and families alert on how to prevent fires.”
During the weeks prior to the ceremony students from the Sullivan’s Elementary School had been working on drawings that illustrated ideas the students had on how to prevent fires or increase fire safety. The three categories; kindergarten to first grade, second to third grade, and forth to fifth-grade students each had a first and second place awards. The first place winners got a $100 savings bond and the second place winners got a $50 savings bond, both got a gift certificates for a fast food restaurant.
Shelby DeVore, a forth-grade student, took second place in her group and explained her drawing of “Sparky the Fire Dog”, “In my drawing I put Sparky holding a [fire] hose with a fire truck because I thought it was a neat idea and it would make people remember to be careful.”
Shelby’s had a plan on what do with the savings bond, “My mom said I have to save it for college.”
After all the awardees took their photo with school administrators, fire, CFAY Commanding Officer Capt. David Owen and Sparky the Fire Dog. Then it was time for some hands on training as the students participated in several events set up by the Fire Department. The students took a ride in the “quake cottage,” a small room that shakes back and forth, that can simulate an earthquake up to 8.0 in magnitude. They could also see and interact with a real fire truck and there was one other display that was popular with the students.
“Today we were going to do the fire prevention, and there was a real fire we got to put out,”said Amana Leonard, a second grader. The fire was a propane fueled display controlled by Fire Department personnel. The students shot a fire extinguisher at the flames that were doused if the students aimed well enough. “It was like fwoosh and my friend was like “I can’t believe we get to do this,” said Leonard. “I’ve never put out a real fire before and like if you know you’re safe and you can do that, then that is really cool.”
Salcedo added that though the students were learning about fire prevention that day and during the month, fire prevention is everyone’s responsibility all year long.