News: Yongsan Fire Department demonstrates the Jaws of Life
Story by Pfc. Samuel Han
YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic of Korea – The U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan Fire Department demonstrated a vehicle extrication at the Walker Center parking lot Oct. 11, as part of Fire Prevention Week taking place on the garrison and all over the U.S.
Fire Prevention Week, which is the longest public safety observance in the U.S., began as a result of the Great Chicago Fire, which took place on Oct. 10, 1871, killing and leaving many homeless after a destructive blaze ripped through Chicago. In response to this disaster, President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation for the observance of Fire Prevention Week in 1920. Since then, Fire Prevention Week has been observed every year on the week that starts with Oct. 10.
Deputy Fire Chief Brad Bowling explained that during Fire Prevention Week, the Fire Department interacts with the community and provides educational material informing the community about fire safety. One big event that the Fire Department does most every year is the vehicle extrication demonstration.
For the demonstration, a device called the Jaws of Life was used to free a victim by cutting the vehicle apart to make enough room to safely free the trapped victim.
Although the scenario was simulated, the Fire Department acted out the demonstration as if it were real and followed all necessary procedures in a professional manner.
The vehicle was a donated car that was no longer usable, and acting as the victim was a member of the Fire Department. Also on scene were two Military Police who acted out the simulation and called for assistance from the Fire Department upon discovering the victim and the smoking vehicle.
Bowling pointed out that although the demonstration was open to the entire community, typically, children are the main audience.
“It's open for everybody, but I think we'll be mainly seeing children from the school today. What's important though is that Fire Prevention Week is not just for children and families, but also for the soldiers and everybody,” Bowling said.
This is because fire safety needs to be everybody's top priority.
In addition to the vehicle extrication demonstration, the Fire Department will also host a community barbecue, tours of the Fire Department, an open house and smoke detector checks from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15.
Information about Fire Prevention Week can be easily found on the National Fire Protection Association website at www.nfpa.org. Additionally, Bowling encouraged anyone who might have questions about fire safety, smoke detectors, car seat inspections, or anything else related to fire safety to contact the fire department at any time all year long.
“Fire Prevention Week is the one week in the year that the Fire Department gets to send out a message about fire safety, which is important and needs to be followed not just for one week, but all year round,” stated Bowling.