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Fire detectors can save your life

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. –National Fire Prevention Week is October 10-15 on Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. Staff Sgt. Derrick Grinnell, 21st Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Department fire inspector, and the rest of the fire prevention office has many events planned throughout the week including burning vehicle and airplane demonstrations, and a parade. (U.S. Air Force photo by Dave Smith)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. –National Fire Prevention Week is October 10-15 on Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. Staff Sgt. Derrick Grinnell, 21st Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Department fire inspector, and the rest of the fire prevention office has many events planned throughout the week including burning vehicle and airplane demonstrations, and a parade. (U.S. Air Force photo by Dave Smith)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Staff Sgt. Derrick Grinnell, 21st Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Department fire inspector points out where on the unit the manufacturing date can be found on a smoke detector at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., Sept. 29, 2016. Each detector has a date of manufacture on the base of the unit. (U.S. Air Force photo by Dave Smith)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Staff Sgt. Derrick Grinnell, 21st Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Department fire inspector points out where on the unit the manufacturing date can be found on a smoke detector at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., Sept. 29, 2016. Each detector has a date of manufacture on the base of the unit. (U.S. Air Force photo by Dave Smith)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Many people rely on the annoying beep, a warning that it’s time to change batteries in their smoke detector. However, there is no sharp tone indicating when it’s time to replace the entire device.

Peterson Air Force Base firefighters are joining the National Fire Protection Association for National Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 9-15, 2016. The theme for this year is “Don’t Wait, Check the Date!” and it is aimed at making people aware of replacing outdated smoke detectors in their homes.

“It’s usually about 10 years,” said Staff Sgt. Derrick Grinnell, 21st Space Wing Fire Department fire inspector. “What I recommend is when you change your clocks (in spring and fall), change the batteries in your smoke detector and check the dates on the alarm.”

There is typically a tag on the bottom of each unit displaying a manufacturing date. If the date shows 10 years after the manufacturing date, the homeowner should replace that particular detector.

This is the third year in a row the NFPA is focusing on smoke detectors, but with good reason. The NFPA’s survey data shows many public misconceptions about smoke detectors and alarms, which may put them at increased risk in the event of a fire.

To spark awareness for fire prevention, a number of events are planned for Peterson AFB. Sparky, the fire department’s mascot, will literally welcome Team Pete to Fire Prevention week as they enter the base via the west and north gates on Monday, Oct. 10. Later that day, Sparky and his firefighter friends will pay a visit to McAuliffe Elementary School to talk to students about fire safety.

“A couple of years ago we had a girl who called 911 and saved her mom,” after a fire department visit, said Grinnell. “This kind of thing really pays off.”

A new event for the week is a Kickoff Parade that will make its way through PAFB housing. The fire department will be joined by partners such as the Cimarron Hills Fire Department and the 21st Security Forces Squadron as it winds through the neighborhoods.

“We want to make it big,” Grinnell said. “We want to let everyone know we are here. The more lights and sirens, the better. This is our week and we want everyone to know about it.”

The fire department will also deliver pizzas during the week, even giving some away to lucky customers who will be randomly selected from among all orders placed.

“It’s kind of a unique thing for us,” said Grinnell. “We have the same issues as (civilian) fire departments in that we can’t get into homes to inspect them. So, what we are going to do is give away eight pizzas each night on Oct. 10 and 14, if we can get in to do safety inspections in the home.”

Firefighters will deliver pizza orders made to the Colorado Pizza Co. on those nights, a service the business doesn’t usually offer. For the lucky homes selected for free pies, orders will be delivered via fire truck by Sparky. Representatives of Tierra Vista housing will be present for the inspections and replace smoke alarms or batteries on the spot.

One of the week’s most popular events, the Fire Muster, takes place Thursday, Oct. 13. The muster pits four-person teams against each other in traditional firefighter-style activities. The competition is open to the PAFB populace. The timed events include the truck pull, bucket brigade, rescue dummy drag, hose advancement and a forcible entry simulation called a Keiser sled. The winning team is awarded a trophy along with bragging rights.

The week will be a busy one, Grinnell said. Visits to the Child Development Centers and R.P. Lee Youth Center are planned and, for the first year, on-base home daycare sites will receive visits.

“We want to make sure these kids do not get missed,” Grinnell said. “We can inspect the locations just like the CDCs. We want to introduce them to firefighters in gear so they are not afraid.”

On Tuesday, Oct. 11, there will be a display at the Peterson base exchange featuring a live vehicle fire. The fire department has a mobile car fire trainer that allows them to take it anywhere on base and ignite it for demonstrations or training purposes.

On Wednesday, Oct. 12, members of the base populace are invited to a nighttime fire at the fire department’s training site located on the west side of the base. A simulated aircraft fire will take place at 8 p.m.

“We’ll have all of the big crash trucks out,” Grinnell said. “It should really be something to see.”

Fire Prevention Week winds down Saturday, Oct. 15, with an open house at the fire station. The station will be open for tours with food and refreshments provided. Children’s activities will be available as well.

“This is the big invite,” said Grinnell. “Here’s your chance to look and see how we live day-to-day.”

For more information contact Grinnell at 719-556-7774.

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