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EAGLE BASE, Bosnia and Herzegovina — Command Sgt. Maj. Frank Dattoli, Area Support Group Eagle commander, has never lost a soldier for safety reasons in 35 years with the military.

He was not going to allow losing one on his last mission before retirement in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Multinational Division North Command Sgt. Maj. Horace Pysher had the same idea.

But when the two arrived at Bosnia and took a look around the offices and SEA huts, they saw potential danger.

Many troops had daisy chains of extension cords, too many electrical appliances and candles in wooden huts to make things more comfortable. But the TV sets, VCRs, DVD players, coffee machines, toasters and other appliances also made things more dangerous.

All the extension cords without surge protectors didn’t help matters.

With all the electrical devices and European and American voltage differences on many appliances, it was easy to overload the electrical system and start a fire.

To prevent that, Dattoli and Pysher first appointed fire marshals for every unit and authorized them to inspect living quarters. Candles were banned in the SEA huts.

Fire marshals and the Brown & Root fire department finalized evacuation plans and replaced outdated extinguishers. Troops went through fire safety classes.

Army and Air Force Exchange Services refunded all troops the cost of extension cords they had purchased without surge protection.

The unsafe extension cords were taken off the shelves and replaced with more expensive, but safer, cords with surge protection.

And when all that work was finished Pysher and Dattoli handled all the obsolete firefighting equipment.

It is no surprise Brown & Root fire department recognized Pysher and Dattoli for their work on improving fire safety.

The firefighters responded to 137 emergency alarms from April through September 2002 during SFOR 11 rotation on Eagle Base and Camp McGovern. But during SFOR 12 from October 2002 until March 2003 — Dattoli and Pysher’s stint — there were only 88 alarms on the same base camps.

Pysher and Dattoli have passed on their work to the troops coming after them so that peacekeepers on U.S. camps can continue to enjoy better fire safety.

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