WTB Soldiers learned the capabilities of ladder and rescue trucks. Firefighters also stressed to the Soldiers that the best way to evacuate a building is through the nearest exit.
F-273’s goal is to show the WTB how they can help themselves in the event of a fire and the capabilities of the fire department once it arrives at the scene.
"We want them to know what’s going to happen and what’s going to come here from the Fire Department in the event of a fire," said Ken Longueuil, FB Local F-273 vice president.
The information helps the WTB implement an evacuation procedure so every Soldier knows what to do if a fire breaks out, according to Maj. Michell Pascua-Gordon, WTB, executive officer.
"It’s a must that we have people trained in how to properly evacuate the building," Pascua-Gordon said. "We are a brand new battalion and if we have an established procedure in place when new Soldiers come in, we can teach them the procedure instead of counting on them to find their own way out of the building."
Along with evacuation procedures, Wounded Warriors learned their buildings are designed to compartmentalize fire and the first floor of each building is designed for Soldiers in wheelchairs to easily get out.
"(F-273) made everyone count the number of doors it takes to get out of the building," said Sgt. 1st Class Michael Barrett, A Company, 1st Battalion, platoon sergeant. "So, the next time we rehearse our fire exit, everybody should know how long it takes to get out of the building and how they are going to get out."
Barrett said the information the Soldiers learned will particularly benefit those in wheelchairs or on crutches. Those Soldiers will have more knowledge on how to get out of the building, so they can initiate that process on their own.
"This provides continuous reinforcement that they can initiate some things themselves," said Barrett. "If they are empowered they can, and will, act on their own."
Spc. Heath Cox, WTB, is currently confined to a wheelchair and feels the extra knowledge will benefit others in his position.
"The point of all this information is being quick and getting out quickly," said Cox. "So that will save lives."
Thomas Sell, Fort Belvoir Community Hospital, safety specialist, demonstrated fire extinguisher safety. He said his goal is to dispel myths of the caliber of fire an extinguisher can put out.
"People think the fire extinguisher is the end-all to a fire," said Sell. "It’s only good for 15 to 30 seconds. So, don’t rush in if an entire room is on fire. Use an extinguisher to put out a trash can fire."
Fire department members want to ensure Soldiers know that they are looking out for the safety of everyone on post.
"Whatever we can do to make their stay a lot safer we will by all means," said Jim Fremeau, F-273 President.