Fort Drum’s Fire Prevention Program has earned an Installation Management Command Atlantic Region award for the staff’s outstanding achievements. The team is now preparing to compete at the IMCOM / Department of the Army level. The award is part of DOD’s Fire and Emergency Services Awards Program.
Col. Gary A. Rosenberg, Fort Drum garrison commander, nominated the team for the award and explained that it was a “testament to the outstanding dedication and commitment” the firefighters provide to the community.
The Fire Prevention Program was graded in three major areas – fire prevention inspections, engineering, code compliance and enforcement; community and public education programs; and innovation. Under these categories, Fort Drum’s team listed more than 50 achievements that not only met the essential mission of a DOD fire prevention program, but helped extend their reach around the community, according to Assistant Chief Robert Denney, Fire Prevention and Training Branches, Fort Drum Fire and Emergency Services Division.
“The annual organizational award recognizes DOD’s best fire prevention program based on its depth and breadth, effectiveness, educational value and thoroughness in direct support of the organization’s mission,” he said.
The team is dedicated to performing their everyday tasks – inspections and educating Soldiers, Civilians and Family Members, Denney said. However, fire prevention programs also are judged on how they go above and beyond to reach their community members.
“Some of the things that stand out to me are some of the innovative programs that we’ve instituted here at Fort Drum,” Denney said.
For example, the organization created the Fire Marshal Program for military and civilian units.
“It’s part of the Fort Drum Fire Prevention regulation that assigns each area a responsible person who is in charge of fire safety in (their organization),” Denney explained. “We’ve really done a lot in the last year to strengthen that – educating the population about that program – and we’ve been using technology to help get the word out.”
The team is using Facebook and allowing fire marshals to register on the Mountain portal.
Denney said another positive bullet point explained how fire prevention investigators helped ensure the U.S. government didn’t incur repair costs after a fire caused $1.4 million in damages on the installation.
“Something that’s fairly new to DOD fire services is accreditation through a national organization – the Center for Public Safety Excellence. They provide a third-party validation of your organization’s processes and missions.”
About 10 years ago, DOD made the announcement that fire departments would become accredited, and Fort Drum started the process, Denney said.
“We were accredited as an organization five years ago, and we’re going through the accreditation process again now,” he noted.
“Another thing that this organization does – this wasn’t made a requirement by the Army – but it accredits individuals,” Denney said.
“We have three personnel in our organization who are accredited fire officers through the Center for Public Safety Excellence,” he add-ed. “Our fire chief (Donald Strie-jewske) is a certified chief fire of- ficer (and) is a designated fire marshal by that organization. He is one of 69 fire marshals in the entire world with the certification.”
Although team members know they’re up against tough competition, Denney is proud of the Fort Drum Fire Prevention Program’s accomplishments. The organization earned regional recognition in 2005 and 2009 – when Fort Drum was part of what was then known as IMCOM’s Northeast Region.
“This is a big honor for us,” Denney said. “You do your work throughout the year and you try to keep things going in the right direction.”
Denney is also proud of Fort Drum’s low fire rate, noting there has only been one major fire on post in the last five years.
“We’re pretty proud of our program,” he said. “The biggest thing for us was we did a lot of these great things with a lot of uncertainty.
“We did all this in the face of sequestration and furlough,” Denney continued. “There were a lot of different things that occurred – not only fiscally, but personally. All Civilian Employees went through it. That’s a big thing for me – we did what we did in the face of all of that.”