Fire chief part of campaign to improve safety on installations
June 27, 2009
CAMP HUMPHREYS, South Korea — Fire chief Anthony J. Marra has a lot more to do these days than listen to the fire radio and keep tabs on training and firefighting.
Lately, he also has to be a public relations man and a bookkeeper.
He and his fellow chiefs working for the Army’s Installation Management Command worldwide are key players in a campaign to improve fire safety practices among the people who live or work on its installations.
Much of the focus is on the hazards of leaving cooking or candles unattended and improper disposal of cigarettes.
“Candles and unattended cooking are two of the biggest problems in the fire community,” said Marra, chief of fire and emergency services with U.S. Army Garrison-Humphreys in Pyeongtaek, South Korea.
IMCOM launched the drive March 31 after a spike in serious fires at Army installations.
By Oct. 31, garrison fire departments will have given fire safety briefings to everyone working on their installations, Marra said.
For him, that means giving and keeping records on lots of other fire safety education measures at Humphreys and camps Eagle and Long in Wonju.
“During the first six months of fiscal ’09 there were numerous amounts of fire incidents [within IMCOM] which had a multimillion-dollar fire loss and the death of a soldier,” Marra said.
At Humphreys, a Christmas night fire caused $461,000 in damage to the base chapel.
Marra had no details on the soldier who died but said it had not occurred in South Korea.
“That drove ’em to kind of step up a level of higher awareness for the fire departments and for the fire departments to put a higher awareness onto the public — our customers,” Marra said.
The campaign includes fire safety briefings for on-post residents and students at schools and a blizzard of safety brochures, signs and banners with safety tips and messages in electronic media.