Two U.S. Navy fire departments in Europe were recently named recipients of the 2003 Life Safety Achievement Award by the Residential Fire Safety Institute.

The fire departments at Naval Support Activity Naples, Italy, and Naval Air Station Keflavik, Iceland, were among more than 980 U.S. civilian and military recipients and were the only overseas recipients.

It is Keflavik’s ninth consecutive Life Safety Achievement Award.

The awards program, in its 11th year, is designed to recognize local fire-prevention activities that contribute to reducing loss of life to residential fires.

Naples Fire Chief John Morris and Keflavik Fire Chief Sigurdur Arason said that their strong fire prevention programs have led to fewer fires on base, especially in housing areas.

According to the safety institute, residential fires account for about 20 percent of all fires, but result in about 80 percent of fire deaths.

Arason said that Keflavik’s fire department targets its program in two main areas: base schools and annual in-home fire inspections for all of the base’s 548 units.

“We go in the schools and talk to the children,” he said. “We also go in every family home once a year. When we visit families we replace the batteries in the smoke detectors and talk to them (about fire prevention).”

Naples Fire Chief John Morris said that the base has a “robust fire prevention program,” he said. “We’re always trying to get the message out.”

Morris said the department starts its fire prevention training with all new personnel in base indoctrination.

“We hit them in indoc, and in … fire prevention week,” he said. “We touch a large percentage of our population through that.”

Naples also has a fire escape training trailer in which children practice escaping from smoke-filled rooms.

In addition to both bases having large housing areas, each shares runways with civilian international airports. The Keflavik base, Arason said, provides all firefighting services for Keflavik’s airport, which is the country’s main international airport.

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