Two minutes into recent fire extinguisher safety training at Madigan Child Development Center, Ed Chavez interrupted the presenter to emphasize a point to a group of Joint Base Lewis-McChord Child, Youth and School Services employees.
From the time the briefing began until now, its been two minutes, the JBLM fire inspector said. Thats how long you have to get the kids out.
JBLM fire inspectors provided the hands-on simulated training last week to all JBLM CYSS employees, including those at installation youth centers, schools, child development centers and sports facilities. The training is an annual requirement, Chavez said.
Fire inspectors rotated groups of CYSS employees through the training every 15 minutes, giving each employee the opportunity to use a full-sized fire extinguisher to douse a small simulated fire.
Even though the training is brief, fire extinguisher safety in the workplace is an enduring lesson and should be remembered by everyone, Chavez said. Fire extinguishers are designed to fight small or contained fires, such as trash can fires. Once a fire alarm sounds, people should leave the building as quickly as possible and stay outside. Any individual who chooses to stay and fight a fire with a fire extinguisher should make sure theres a clear path of escape in case the fire cant be put out. JBLM fire inspectors encourage calls to 911; theyd rather have multiple calls from one location than have individuals assume the fire department has already been notified.
CYSS employees also have one of the most important additional duties, Chavez said.
The priority lies in getting the kids out, he said.
CYSS employees were also taught how to properly handle a fire extinguisher, using the acronym P.A.S.S., which was adopted by the National Fire Protection Association. To operate a fire extinguisher, pull the pin to unlock the lever, aim the nozzle low toward the base of the fire, squeeze the lever to discharge the fire extinguishing material and sweep the nozzle from side to side moving carefully toward the flames.
CYSS employee Ludee Erungel was grateful for the training since it was the first time she had ever used a fire extinguisher.
Its really helpful to us, she said. I want to keep the kids safe.
To make a request for workplace fire extinguisher safety training, contact Chief Fire Inspector Don Lane at 253-966-7156.