CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — The Marine Corps Base Fire Department Japan stopped all nonemergency activity Wednesday and Thursday to focus on safety — its own.
The department joined fire stations throughout the United States and Canada for the 2006 International Firefighter Safety Stand Down, Fire Chief Brian P. Johnson said.
In 2005 in the United States, more firefighters were lost on the way to or from an emergency than at the emergency, said Johnson. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, of the 106 firefighters who died on duty in 2005, 56 died due to stress or overexertion and 26 due to vehicle collisions.
During the stand down, firefighters focused on safety classes and detailed equipment inspections. Topics of classes, which were provided by the International Firefighters Training Association, ranged from blood-borne pathogens (disease-causing micro-organisms) to emergency-vehicle driving, said John Arakaki, the training chief.
“If we are careful, we can do our jobs safely, and the way we are careful is through training,” Arakaki said.