In the Marine Corps, every Marine is a rifleman. The Beaufort-Port Royal Fire Department mirrors that tradition by preparing every firefighter to teach fire prevention.
“All of our firefighters are prepared and involved in prevention through education,” Beaufort Fire Chief Sammy Negron said. Firefighters with the City of Beaufort /Town of Port Royal Fire Department, from the bottom to the top, take part in fire prevention and education.
“After months of preparation and reorganization, every firefighter in this department is involved in fire prevention. Our firefighters do this in addition to maintaining the highest firefighting training and suppression standards expected of a Class 2 ISO fire department,” Negron said.
Capt. John Robinson, the Department Training and Education Officer, has worked with each of the three shifts of firefighters to ensure they can all skillfully deliver the prevention and education programs.
A few firefighters have conducted special prevention projects with Robinson, but all will continue to learn and grow as educators, Negron said. Robinson continues to teach, and can now devote more time to the logistical support for the department’s fire prevention efforts.
Pro-active, prevention-based efforts by the Beaufort Fire Department and Beaufort Police Department earned “best practice” kudos from a comprehensive study conducted in 2009-2010 by the International City/County Management Association for Beaufort.
Spreading the education responsibility to the entire department allows Robinson to schedule multiple sessions at the same time.
“We would like every family in the Beaufort and Port Royal to hear a prevention message instead of a siren,” Robinson said.
Last year’s addition of the Fire Department’s two Quick Response Vehicles played a key role in the success of the new model, according to Chief Negron. These vehicles were intended to assume 66 percent of the single station emergency responses, but have achieved just over 70 percent.
The addition of these highly efficient trucks and the reorganization of existing staff made it possible to be more successful not just in fire prevention, but also in code enforcement and training, Negron said.
“This model allows are firefighters to reach many different audiences while continuing to provide the highest level of service to the public,” he said.
For more information about fire prevention at home or business, contact the City of Beaufort/Town of Port Royal Fire Departments at 843-525-7055 or city-fire@cityof beaufort.org.