Women’s Safety Initiative: General fire safety

Updated: May. 21, 2021 at 5:49 PM CDT
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - The Wiregrass Public Safety Center is hosting a Women’s Safety Initiative, this consists of four public safety courses held quarterly.

This week was the second course where the group of women learned about general fire safety in the home. The Dothan Fire Department instructed the course and allowed the group to gain hands on experience by putting out real life fires. Now this is the first time where civilians had the opportunity to do this other than the firefighter training sessions the public safety center holds.

“If by preventing fire, we stop risking ourselves fighting a fire, we stop the risk of losing people to a fire, so it’s all about prevention,” Sean Gibson, Chief of Training/EMS/Safety, said.

The course began in the classroom learning step by step of how to properly use a fire extinguisher, stove top fire stop and even a fire hose. Then moved outside to apply what was taught.

“They got to not only experience what it felt like to pull, aim, squeeze and sweep, (P.A.S.S), they got to build confidence in seeing that system actually works,” Chief Gibson said.

Participants geared up in firefighter gear and put out real fires, something several have never done before, but Kaylee Felch has.

“In that moment I was scared,” Felch said.

One day at work Felch had to act quickly, using a fire extinguisher to put out an outside fire. Luckily, she had success.

“It was my first time using one so definitely after this class I’m a lot more prepared and I feel a lot better about the situation,” Felch said.

Chief Gibson said fire can double it’s size in just 30 seconds, so time is crucial and you have to act fast.

“The importance of time, us getting to a scene quickly means the difference of someone losing maybe one room of their home or just a set of cabinets in their home, to their entire home if not their life,” Chief Gibson said.

This course gave this group the knowledge of how to put out different types of fires and allowed them to become comfortable with using the tools to do so.

“I recommend this experience to anybody that can get here,” Felch said. “Being able to learn firsthand what the firefighters are doing and actually do it yourself it puts you in a position to where you feel empowered to be able to do it yourself.”

This course gave a small look at what these first responders do each day.

“I also hope that they have a different view and respect of the fire service and the dangers of what these firefighters go out and do everyday,” Chief Gibson said

Chief Gibson said he hopes everyone sees the importance of the purchase of a fire extinguisher in their home.

The next Women’s Safety Initiative will be held in August, where the Dothan Police Department will cover firearm safety.

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