News | June 25, 2021

DSCR Fire Department maintains safety throughout pandemic, resumes employee fire and safety training

By Lead Fire Inspector Evron Brightly Safety and Fire Prevention Office, DLA Installation Management Richmond

The Defense Logistics Agency Installation Management Richmond, Fire and Emergency Services’ Fire Prevention Office has been working continually maintaining a culture of safety on Defense Supply Center Richmond, Virginia, through the pandemic and is currently conducting safety and fire training to ensure employee safety when employees transition back to working on the installation.

When the majority of DSCR personnel began teleworking in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the installation’s Fire Prevention Office continued to operate as though DSCR was still 100% occupied. The FPO continued monthly comprehensive inspections, evacuation drills for staff members, and kept a constant watchful eye on the multiple fire and life safety systems throughout DSCR.

According to Catrice Bolden, Deputy Director of the Bettye Ackerman Cobb Child Development Center, “During the pandemic the fire department provided relevant feedback on training for our employees and maintained flexibility as we navigated COVID-19 protocols limiting group sizing and virtual options.”

Throughout its shutdown, the CDC facility was kept in a state of operational readiness where staff and children could safely occupy it at any time.  The CDC has an alternate evacuation site that was also maintained in a ready condition. If there were any discrepancies, the FPO actively engaged with installation engineers until the issues were resolved.

This month, the FPO completed its portion of the DLA Child and Youth Programs Comprehensive Emergency Operations Plans and general fire safety curriculum training, which included general fire safety, evacuation procedures, and accountability, and room and facility sweeps.

Throughout the pandemic, the FPO faced many challenges maintaining the DLA Headquarters-mandated fire warden program which includes keeping fire wardens’ training current. Due to changes in employee duty assignments, retirements, as well as installation personnel relocations, the FPO had to continually contact individuals, their supervisors, and even some managers to get the required fire warden coverages around all organizations on DSCR.

Fire wardens are employees throughout the various organizations on DSCR who are appointed to the role as additional duties. They play an integral part of keeping the employees and installation safe.

It was important that the fire wardens not overlook their responsibilities and the roles they play in keeping the installation as fire safe as possible. Fire wardens also needed to keep up with their roles and responsibilities by receiving training in facility evacuations and common discrepancies found on the installation.

The FPO conducted its first Semi Annual Fire Warden Training sessions of 2021 between February and June. The training included information on fire warden roles and responsibilities and fire extinguisher training and going over the FPO’s 2021 Fire Prevention Action Plan and newsletters with valuable information for them to share with their organizations.

“I like the interaction between the fire prevention office and our section,” said Lead Equipment Repairer Richard Huddleston, a fire warden who took the training with DLA Installation Management Richmond. “I also think the information and training they provide the fire wardens is very helpful.”

According to Assistant Chief of Fire Prevention Rick Ferrell, “The fire prevention staff on center works tirelessly to ensure a fire-safe atmosphere for all our organizations and tenants that make up the DSCR.”