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Photo Information

An electrical worker demonstrates the damage an active power line can cause during a demonstration drill at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., June 4, 2015. September is National Preparedness Month, a time where emergency safety is highlighted across the air station. The Cherry Point Fire and Emergency Services and the Public Works Departments are among the many that go out to local communities to educate them on safety procedures and protocols that can prevent and potentially aid them during emergency situations. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by N.W. Huertas/Released)

Photo by Cpl. Neysa Huertas

Learn how National Preparedness Month can help keep your family out of harm’s way

24 Sep 2015 | Cpl. N. W. Huertas 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing

Whether it be the sight of smoke and flames escaping from a home, or a total blackout during stormy weather, safety procedures and education can help families remain safe through unexpected emergencies.

In support of National Preparedness Month, the Public Works Department and Cherry Point Fire and Emergency Services have dedicated time to educate air station personnel and the local community on precautionary measures they can take to keep their families safe.

“We go out into the community and to local elementary schools where we teach the students about fire safety procedures and what to do in case of a fire,” said Brandee Ridgway, a fire inspector with the fire department here. “They learn crucial procedures that can help them escape from a fire, contact emergency services and keep themselves safe until the fire is subdued.”

According to Ridgway, they teach individuals to maintain and check their emergency safety equipment, know their address and know their emergency contact information. They are also taught protocol for exiting a burning building and receive warnings about the dangers of reentering hazardous areas.

“Our focus this year is the importance of having working smoke detectors in all rooms, to include Marines’ barracks rooms and duty huts,” explained Ridgway. “Smoke detectors are the first line of defense during a fire. Maintaining working smoke detectors can alert homeowners to fires long before they become out of control.”

Fire department personnel encourage people to conduct practice drills in their homes to test the equipment and develop an emergency exit plan. Official fire inspections can be conducted by department personnel upon request to the air station’s fire department.

Personnel with the Public Works Department also play a key role in safety awareness during National Preparedness Month. They educate families on the effects of cold weather and the dangers associated with fallen power lines and power outage issues.

“We support events like the Hurricane Preparedness Fair and various destructive weather drills by providing pamphlets which are sent out from Cherry Point’s Mission Assurance team,” said Michael McGee, the facilities manager at the Public Works Department. “Many of our personnel involved are volunteers from the community and they pass their knowledge and expertise on to others to continue promoting safety.”

According to McGee, families are encouraged to report power outages to Public Works, as soon as possible.  Reports can be called into public works at (252)466-4363.

“With a more educated community, the mission of the Marines will not be affected by mishaps,” explained McGee. “With the information provided the Marines and their families help Public Works identify downed lines and make repairs in a timely fashion, all while still keeping everyone away from potential hazards.”


Fire safety tips:

-Replace batteries on smoke detectors in accordance to their battery life.

-Run tests on smoke detectors by pressing and holding the test button.

-Have a home evacuation plan in case of a home fire.

-Ensure all members of household know emergency safety procedures.

-Install a smoke detector in every bedroom.

Downed power line safety tips:

-Report power outages to Public Works as soon as possible.


-Never assume that a downed power line is not energized.


-Never try to remove debris near downed power lines.


-Report any suspicious power problems as they may lead to power outages.


-Never hook a portable generator to a house electrical system.

2nd Marine Aircraft Wing