Educational trailblazers for Qatar children: Fire Prevention Week extended to local schools Published Oct. 11, 2015 By Staff Sgt. Alexandre Montes 379th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs AL UDEID AIR BASE, QATAR -- The Great Chicago Fire left more than 100 thousand people homeless and claimed more than 200 lives in 1871, which sparked an initiative of fire safety that would later be dubbed “Fire Prevention Week” in 1920. Who knew that several decades later American Airmen would have the chance to teach children fire prevention and safety in Qatar? No one knows when or where a fire will start. Going out into the local community to educate local students on fire prevention and safety procedures is something that the Airmen from the 379th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Department wanted to share. During Fire Prevention Week, which spanned October 4th through 11th here, 379th ECES firefighters and Sparky, the National Fire Protection Mascot, visited several Qatari international schools to provide educational seminars. “When we visit these schools, we teach the kids the importance of fire safety, installing smoke detectors, and practicing fire drills,” said Master Sgt. Christopher Lance, 379th ECES Assistant Chief of Prevention. “Oftentimes, the kids will drive the importance of these measures to their parents.” During their visit children were able to apply the skills taught and ask questions to further their learning. One of the instructional stations involved children learning the ‘Stop, Drop and roll’ procedures with Sparky. Another station showed what a firefighter would look like during a rescue. Children were in for a surprise when the saw the long, dark mask and oversized suit being donned. Then firefighters explained that they are there to help, giving children re-assurance to not be frightened if they see a firefighter in an actual situation. “This is the first time the military came out, and I think this is really well-organized and pictured at the right level for children. They are also getting a lot out of it,” said Ann Djedid, Head of Campus, Al Rayyan Compass International School Doha. “We hope to develop more partnerships locally and have more opportunities to have people over again. Obviously, fire prevention is really important to the health and safety of children.” Lance said that they will have taught nearly two thousand students before the week is over. Additionally, the fire department hosted an open house for military members and their families on the installation. They will close out the week with a fire muster competition that has several obstacles for participants to experience intense fire fighter training. This is the first time that the Al Udeid Air Base Fire Department has visited schools in the city of Doha. With the help of members of the Airman and Family Readiness Center along with the turnout and excitement surrounding the event, it seems quite possible for future returns to strengthen both civic outreach and bonds forged this week. For more information about fire prevention and safety check out www.usfa.fema.gov/prevention .