Health & Safety

April 5, 2012

Fire prevention office provided fire extinguisher-use training

By Joan Vasey
Scout Editor
Photos by Staff Sgt.  Kristine Smedley
Dale Lindner, bus driver, Fort Huachuca Transportation Motor Pool, extinguishes a fire during fire extinguisher training in the VT motor pool on Friday while Benjamin Lomas, fire inspector, Fort Huachuca Fire Department, ensures Perez meets the standards. The training, which involves no chemicals, is environmentally friendly and cost effective.

Members of a contract organization here were shown how to extinguish fires using a special training device Thursday and Friday during training here which not only provided the necessary skills, but did so with no environmental impact.

Seventy-four employees received fire extinguisher use training during one of two class sessions held by the Fort Huachuca Fire Department, Fire Prevention Office at the transportation motor pool and warehouse on post.

Although the fire department has had the new propane-based training unit for over a year, this is the first time it has been used to train a large group.

“Besides reduced costs, the benefit of the new training system is that it uses water and propane, not chemicals that can impact the environment,” said Benjamin Lomas, the fire prevention inspector who conducted the classes. “The system requires little setup and break-down or chemical clean up,” he added.

Previous training was conducted by an off-post contractor and used chemicals and diesel fuels. To prevent environmental impacts, there was need for on-site cleanup once training was conducted.

Now, fire department personnel can teach people to use fire extinguishers safely using the new training unit, which not only does not require the use of potentially harmful chemicals, but also does not require the cost of hiring a contractor to teach the class, Lomas explained.

Fort Huachuca Fire Prevention personnel will teach the class to any group of workers at the request of their agency. The only requirement is the requesting agency furnishes the propane needed to run the unit.

The Fort Huachuca Fire Department introduced the new system to the general public during last year’s 2011 Month of the Military Child celebration at the Thunder Mountain Activity Centre.

“There was good response from the general populace,” Lomas stated, explaining that the training was offered to Fort Huachuca military and contract organizations.

“VT Group was the first organization to take us up on the offer. It is an annual requirement as part of their safety training,” he said.

According to Lomas, the training offers individualized basic education on fire extinguisher use through putting out a simulated fire with water using the training device.

“It takes away fire anxiety. My favorite aspects are the safety and peace of mind it gives people who might be apprehensive about using a fire extinguisher in the event of a real fire.

“This system is easy to use, and there are little to no environmental concerns,” Lomas added. “The system is easy to set up and break down.”

Lomas said the class could take as little as an hour, depending on the size of the group. It can be anything from a basic-use class or could provide in-depth training, depending on what individual needs are.

Those who would like to arrange a fire-extinguisher training session for their personnel should call Lomas, 533.5054 at the Fort Huachuca Fire Prevention Office.

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