By Julie M. Lucas
NAS Jacksonville Public Affairs

The theme of this year's Fire Prevention Week, "Don't Wait, Check the Date," promotes knowing the age of your smoke alarm. According to First Coast Navy Fire and Emergency Services Fire Prevention Inspector Robert Adams, smoke alarms have an expiration date and need to be replaced every 10 years.

"You cannot assume because you have a smoke alarm, that you are automatically protected. Just like other things in your home that need to be replaced, these don't last forever," Adams explained.

He also stressed the importance of proper installation, maintenance and testing of alarms. To see if your alarm is outdated, check the manufacture date - not the purchase or installation.

To help educate the NAS Jacksonville community, the fire department set up a number of events to include an open house at the fire station daily throughout the week.

On Tuesday, the firefighters and inspectors could be seen in front of the Navy Exchange with a display and giveaways. Youth were given crayons, fire helmets and other fun items, while water bottles, pens and kitchen reminders were available for adults.

The firefighters, along with Sparky the fire prevention dog made a visit to Naval Hospital Jacksonville Wednesday to the children's ward and pediatrics clinic. That afternoon, the crew traveled to the NAS Jax youth center for a visit, where the youths could check out the trucks and gear.

Finally, a visit was made to the NAS Jax Child Development Center, where the children donned fire helmets and were able to ask questions of the firefighters. 

Additionally, unannounced fire drills were held at numerous buildings aboard the base.

National Fire Prevention week was created in response to the Great Chicago Fire in 1871, which nearly destroyed most of the city.

Originally it was only fire prevention day, but it expanded to a week in 1922 and became a national event by President Calvin Coolidge in 1925.

The fire department will hold Fire Warden training Nov. 2 from 9-11 a.m. in building 1 and is required annually. This training is for all primary and alternate wardens from each command.

For more information about fire prevention or firefighting aboard NAS Jax, call 542-3928.