JBB Fire Department gives fire prevention tips

Story by U.S. Army Spc. Michael V. Camacho
139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment.

JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq — Electrical fires are the most common type of fire reported at Joint Base Balad, Iraq, but can easily be mitigated, JBB Fire Department officials said.

Proper use of electrical cords and adapters would reduce the number of electrical fires on JBB, said Air Force Master Sgt. Randall Swisher, assistant fire-prevention chief at the JBB Fire Department.

“Misuse of cords and adapters, such as negligent placement or daisy chaining, are common causes of electrical fires in the (containerized housing units) and the workplace,” said Swisher.

Also, wiring and power strips can short out and cause fires, said Sgt. Joshua McGinnis, with the 23rd Ordnance Company. It is important to use the approved power strips and electrical adapters, he said.

Only National Electric Code or Under Writers Laboratory-approved electrical cords and adapters may be used inside containerized housing units, according to the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) fire prevention guide.

Ninety-nine percent of fires on JBB are put out by fire extinguishers, making them the primary form of defense against fires, said Swisher.

“It’s very important that fire extinguishers are checked monthly,” he said.

Regular checks ensure functionality of extinguishers in the event of a fire emergency.

“A lot of it is common sense,” said McGinnis. “As long as you have power strips and plugs with (NEC) ratings, that’s a major thing right there.”

The JBB Fire Department offers fire-safety classes to facilitate fire safety and prevention. This information is invaluable, said Swisher.