VOICE:  573-563-4145
FAX:  573-563-4012
BY:  Derek Gean, Community editor


FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. – Fort Leonard Wood fire fighters are already at work preparing to educate community members about fire safety during Fire Prevention Week, scheduled Oct. 8 through 14 nationwide.

Col. Tracy Lanier, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Leonard Wood commander, signed this  year’s Fire Prevention Week proclamation, at a ceremony held Sept. 7 at Fire Station  No. 1.

“The idea is to get people talking and motivated to go into Fire Prevention Week,” said Robert Sperberg, assistant fire chief. “The best way to reach parents/Families is by getting the kids talking about it when they bring the information home from school.”

The fire department is planning on providing Fire Prevention Week information to four elementary schools, encompassing about 1,500 students from grades kindergarten through 5th.

Col. Tracy Lanier, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Leonard Wood commander, signs Fire Prevention Week proclamations Sept. 7 at Fire Station No.1 as Fort Leonard Wood fire fighters, Sparky the Fire Dog and Command Sgt. Maj. Larry Orvis, USAG command sergeant major, look on.

Sparky the Fire Dog is scheduled to visit all students in grades kindergarten through second and fire fighters are expected to provide students with a puppet show. Other students will have the opportunity to visit the Fort Leonard Wood Fire Department’s fire safety trailer, view fire department gear and see the organization’s safety equipment. Students will receive lectures on escaping from a house fire and learn more about cooking safety.

“The message (we hope to get out) is very adult and it’s very important for a Family,” Sperberg said. “It is geared toward children to get that information in the homes (to the parents) with the cooperation of the schools.”

The theme for this year’s observance is “Every Second Counts, Plan Two Ways Out,” said Olaf Jensen, fire inspector.

He said the past few years, fire prevention themes have focused  on the importance of smoke detectors in the home.

“Most fire fatalities occur in the home. Statistically, people die in house fires because that is where they are sleeping. That is where they relax. Usually, by the time a fire wakes you up there has already been enough toxic gas to be fatal,” Sperberg added.

Fire Prevention Week is scheduled to culminate with Fire Fest scheduled from noon to 4 p.m. Oct. 14 at the Exchange parking lot. Community members will have the opportunity to meet local fire fighters, tour the fire safety trailer, meet Sparky the Fire Dog and see fire-fighting equipment. There will be a live band and refreshments provided by the USO.

Fire prevention week is held annually in concurrence with the anniversary of the “Great Chicago Fire” of 1871, which took place on Oct. 7. The observance is planned  and sponsored by the National Fire Protection Association.

For more information on Fire Prevention Week events, contact the Fort Leonard Wood Fire Department at 573.596.0886.