By Steve Parker
Yokosuka Navy Base, Japan – The Fire Department on board Commander Fleet Activities (FLEACT), Yokosuka hosted students from all grade levels at the Sullivans School during Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 5 through 9. The students were treated to a dizzying schedule of activities specifically designed to be age appropriate and interactive.
The activities were aimed at raising awareness of fire prevention techniques and tools. According to Keiko Sato, Yokosuka Fire Inspector, “Our job is not only to put our fires but to prevent fires. The Fire Department has been committed to eliminating fire deaths and injuries through effective public education programs and information.”
In 1920, President Woodrow Wilson issued the first National Fire Prevention Day proclamation, and since 1922, Fire Prevention Week has been observed on the Sunday through Saturday period in which Oct. 9 falls. According to the National Archives and Records Administration’s Library Information Center, Fire Prevention Week is the longest running public health and safety observance on record. This year’s theme was, “Hear the beep where you sleep.” The message was selected to reinforce the message that every bedroom needs a working smoke alarm.
During the week, Kindergarten and first graders practiced stop, drop and roll movements and took pictures with Sparky, the Fire Department Mascot. Second and third grade students shot water hoses at cones, and entered the smoke house, where they received training in how to escape a fire. Fourth and Fifth grades were introduced to the Hazard House, a dollhouse-sized interactive house designed to help students detect and neutralize fire hazards in their own homes. Most classes received the briefing from Naoya Goto, Yokosuka Lead Fire Inspector.
The first organized schools for the children of U.S. military personnel serving in the Pacific were established in 1946 during post-World War II reconstruction. Throughout the decades, Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) schools evolved to become a comprehensive and high-performing K-12 school system solely dedicated to educating the children of America’s heroes. Today, DoDEA Pacific’s 48