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Selfridge firefighters focus on the community

  • Published
  • By Bruce J. Huffman
  • 127th Wing

During Fire Prevention Month in October, members of the Selfridge Air National Guard Base Fire Department set up fire prevention displays in front of the base commissary to pass along fire safety and prevention tips that protect property and homes and help keep Team Selfridge members and their families safe.

Every year, fire departments in the United States and Canada observe FPM, which commemorates the Great Chicago Fire which occurred in Oct. 1871, killing hundreds. The goal is to raise public awareness about fire safety and prevention so nothing like that ever happens again.

At Selfridge, firefighters demonstrated proper techniques for extinguishing kitchen fires, and emphasized the importance of having working smoke alarms and establishing escape routes for the family ahead of time.

The National Fire Protection Association’s 2022 campaign slogan is "Fire Won't Wait, Plan Your Escape." According to national statistics:

• Three of every five home fire deaths resulted from fires with no
working smoke alarms
• Less than 50 percent of homeowners have an escape plan
• Carbon monoxide (CO) is the #1 cause of accidental poisoning in
the US
• Only 47 percent of people report having CO alarms in their home
• Unattended cooking is the #1 cause of home fires, followed closely
by careless smoking in bed

“We encourage everyone to take fire safety and prevention seriously, so your family is prepared,” said Selfridge Assistant Fire Chief Robert Howard. “Having functioning smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors installed throughout your home is the first line of defense for fire and CO poisoning prevention.”

Smoke and CO detection alarms should be placed on all levels of the home, including the basement, and especially inside and outside each bedroom. Fire extinguishers should also be placed on every level of the home, particularly in the garage and kitchen areas.

Interaction with the public is year-round for Selfridge firefighters, who regularly respond to emergencies both in and outside the base.

“We’ve developed close relationships with the other fire departments near Selfridge,” said Deputy Fire Chief Kevin C. A. Brown. “After all, these are the communities where so many of our Airmen and their families reside.”

So far this year, the Selfridge Fire Dept. has responded to more than 55 emergency calls outside the base, ranging from fires, to medical emergencies, motor vehicle accidents, rescue calls, and incidents involving hazardous materials.

According to Brown, a few notable community events they’ve participated in this year include the Selfridge Open House and Air Show, the Chesterfield Twp. Big Rig event, and the Lenox Twp. Ton’s O’ Trucks event where Selfridge fire trucks, including an enormous ‘crash truck’ used for fighting aircraft fires was on display.

“Our firefighters enjoy participating in community-focused events, especially when children are involved,” said Brown. For years, the SANGB Fire Dept. has helped numerous children who were undergoing chemotherapy get wigs by raising money for the “Wigs for Kids” program.

In September the Selfridge Fire Dept. joined a group of Macomb County first responders to provide a special parade for three-year-old Elowyn Pollard. who has been diagnosed with a rare type of brain cancer.

Elowyn watched from a red wagon near the street with her family as a parade of first responders passed by her home with lights and sirens blazing. Not quite sure what to make of the spectacle, Elowyn held her five-year-old sister Rowan’s hand as she cautiously watched the vehicles roll by. Suddenly an all-too-familiar face appeared by the roadside; it was Princess Elsa bearing gifts for Elowyn. Who knew princesses rode around in fire trucks?

To everyone’s surprise, the child leapt from the wagon and ran toward the princess waiving her hands in the air! A feeling of joy swept through the crowd as they watched Elowyn laugh and dance in the street with Princess Elsa. “It’s been quite a while since we’ve seen her this happy,” said Justin Pollard, Elowyn’s Father.

Elowyn and her sister climbed in and out of the emergency vehicles, flashing the lights and sounding the sirens for the crowd. She wasn’t scared any more. At some point she realized that this was all for her, and at that moment in time, everything was alright.

“Our community has supported Selfridge for so many years, the least we can do is support them in return,” said Brown.