By NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev., 57th Wing Public Affairs
/ Published October 05, 2021
Airman 1st Class Edward Bodewig and Airman 1st Class Caden Heath, 99th Civil Engineer Squadron firefighters, spray a simulated car fire during the Fire Protection Open House at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, Oct. 2, 2021. The simulated car fire was a demonstration to inform the public on how firefighters react to emergencies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Josey Blades)
A child tries on a firefighter’s helmet at the Fire Protection Open House at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, Oct. 2, 2021. The firefighters let children try on helmets and other pieces of their gear in hopes that the children will be less afraid of the firefighter, especially in an emergency. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Josey Blades)
A firefighter assigned to the 99th Civil Engineer Squadron looks to see where a child points through the windshield of a fire truck at the Fire Protection Open House at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, Oct. 2, 2021. The open house kicked off Fire Prevention Week, the longest running public health and safety observance on record. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Josey Blades)
Sparky interacts with a child during the Fire Protection Open House at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, Oct. 2, 2021. The Fire Open House included many activities to promote fire safety and knowledge including a fire safety trailer, an extraction demonstration on a vehicle and a simulated car fire. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Josey Blades)
Nellis Fire Department is taking preventive measures to help mitigate death and injury due to fire incidents by holding Fire Prevention Week.
“It mainly is for informing the public during this one week throughout the year,” said Tony Rabonza, Nellis Air Force Base fire chief. “We’re highlighting the fire prevention practices that we want them to look at, and it stems from the National Fire Protection Association.”
The participants of the parade made their way from Fire Station One, through base housing, to Fire Station Four where the open house had been set up. The parade included fire trucks and ambulances from various departments in the surrounding area, as well as other vehicles. The open house included bounce houses, a fire safety trailer, an extraction demonstration on a vehicle and a simulated car fire.
The fire department held the open house to promote proper fire prevention practices and to teach children of the role as a firefighter.
“We want to make them so that they’re not afraid of a firefighter when they come in. They’re not a monster; some little kids think that, if they don’t get that extra education,” said Rabonza. We want to make sure that they’re safe and they’re okay with seeing a firefighter in their uniform or in their turnouts.”
Both the parade and the open house are part of Fire Prevention Week, but these are not the only aspects of it. Fire Prevention Week is the longest running public health and safety observance on record and takes the fire department all across base, teaching good safety habits to Airmen and families.
“We set up at the BX and we hand out literature,” said Aaron Grindland, the assistant chief of fire prevention. “That’s where we spend really a week of educating the base populace.”
Beyond Fire Prevention Week, the fire department offers ways to mitigate the risk of fires all year long. There are tip sheets on how to prevent common mistakes on their website and the Fire Prevention Office is always a valuable resource to the public.
“We’re all about customer service and making sure that everybody’s safe,” said Rabonza. “If somebody needs some assistance, help, information, they just get ahold of fire prevention at the Fire Prevention Office and we will bend over backwards to make sure that they get what they need.”
Grinland mentioned that a good thing to do as a family is to have a plan, and if there is a fire in your house, have a plan and know where to meet.”
The fire prevention office also encourages residents to change their smoke detectors routinely and be aware of the common mistakes that occur. They also encourage base residents to call 702-652-0953 in order to be put through to the base dispatcher at Nellis to save time in an emergency.
“If you dial 911 from your cell phone, it’s going to the county,” said Grindland. “Then the county will transfer you here, but that takes time and in an emergency, every second is precious.”
Because of the information that Nellis Fire Department is spreading through Fire Prevention Week, Airmen and families are made more aware of how to protect themselves.