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    MCIPAC F&ES | 2023 DoD Fire Prevention Program of the Year

    MCIPAC F&ES awarded DoD fire prevention program of year, strives for excellence in fire prevention

    Photo By Sgt. Alex Fairchild | Fire inspectors with the fire prevention branch, Marine Corps Installations Pacific...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Alex Fairchild 

    Marine Corps Installations Pacific

    CAMP FOSTER, OKINAWA, Japan – Marine Corps Installations Pacific Fire and Emergency Services serves as the primary firefighting and fire prevention destination for Marine Corps Base Camp Butler. With such a large footprint across Okinawa, their fire prevention branch works around-the-clock, base-to-base, to ensure that persons within their area of operations stay educated and informed on fire safety and prevention.

    Through their innovation and excellence in fire prevention inspections, community outreach, public education programs and more, MCIPAC F&ES was nominated and selected as the 2023 Department of Defense Fire Prevention Program of the Year.

    “In addition to our observing, reporting, and code compliance duties, our fire prevention program is all about education,” said Leon Hughes, an assistant fire chief with MCIPAC F&ES. “We start with our presence at newcomer’s orientation, so arriving service members and employees to Okinawa hear about fire safety as soon as they step on Okinawa.”

    MCIPAC F&ES’s fire prevention outreach spans much deeper than newcomer orientation. The fire prevention branch formally inspects and ensures fire safety compliance for all occupied and unoccupied buildings on MCBB. In 2023 alone, the branch orchestrated over 1,200 fire inspections on over 1,300 camp facilities, encompassing nearly 19.5 million square footage inspected.

    Hughes explained that MCIPAC F&ES’s fire prevention department is composed of 10 master labor contractors who serve as fire inspectors, and one fire chief to oversee the department. He said that the goal of the program is to motivate, teach and educate customers to stay away from the hazards so they can prevent fires proactively instead of reactively.

    One of the keys to MCIPAC F&ES’s success in fire prevention is its ongoing fire warden program. Hosted regularly by MCIPAC F&ES, the fire warden program is designed to provide commands with in-house representatives capable of identifying safety deficiencies on a daily basis.

    “Fire warden training is important because it gives us not only a liaison but eyes on the street,” said Hughes. “We give this training to individuals Okinawa-wide, camp-to-camp, so that every workspace can have designated, trained, and knowledgeable individuals to keep their workspaces safe.”

    Hughes emphasized that the fire prevention branch would not function without the hard work of its inspectors: the individuals tasked with providing fire prevention training, inspecting facilities, fire evacuation drills, and much more.

    “The best part of this job is the interaction with the customers,” said Meriyan Nakajima, a fire inspector with the fire prevention branch, MCIPAC F&ES. “Some of my favorite responsibilities are teaching them how to use fire extinguishers, training them to become fire wardens, and leading fire evacuation drills.”

    Nakajima explained that the most effective method as a fire inspector is to help the customers have fun when they are learning about fire prevention. She said that the electronic fire extinguisher, which simulates a real fire in which students must use the extinguisher to put out, is a favorite among participants.

    In 2023, MCIPAC F&ES also completed 560 fire evacuation drills with over 36,000 participants, 155 public education events and workshops that reached 9,100 individuals, and the design and dissemination of 14,000 informational magnets that contain emergency services contacts.

    “We’re just trying to get more outreach; receiving this award is just the beginning,” said Hughes. “We want to stay connected to all personnel within our jurisdiction and teach them these life-savings skills so we can expand our footprint.”


    Date Taken: 05.09.2024
    Date Posted: 05.24.2024 03:18
    Story ID: 471927

    Web Views: 137
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