In June of 2020, The Boys and Girls Club of Martinez, California approached us about putting together a Fire Safety presentation for the B & G staff members. The Club wanted a 10-15 minute presentation that they could video and use for training of their staff.

On June 22, CERT staged a presentation and live demo for the Club staff. The presentation was a combination of Discussion, utilizing the white board, demonstrations and practice. We have found the best way to learn is to do, so we like to have hands on participation with all of our presentations.

We began with an introduction to Fire Safety, the chemical composition of fire, and the different classes of fire. With the aid of a white board, we discussed egress strategies for leaving a residence, where to locate smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors, and meeting areas for family members once they left the home.

For the first hands on demonstration, we brought out a gas meter, and had the staff learn how to safely turn off the gas. They were given information about utilizing a non-sparking wrench to turn off the gas, and to never turn it back on by themselves. They should only have the gas turned back on by the local gas company.

Our second hands on demonstration utilized the Bullex Fire pan, which is a machine fueled with propane to produce a live fire operated with a hand held controller that we can use for training. This machine enables CERT to instruct members in how to size up a fire, how to approach a fire and how to utilize the fire extinguisher in an effective manner to extinguish the flames. Staff members worked in teams of two. Each member of the 2-person team had a fire extinguisher, and were shown how to approach a fire (keeping a min. 8’ distance from the flames), how to use the fire extinguisher with the P.A.S.S. method (Pull, Aim, Squeeze and Sweep), and to aim at the base of the fire. If the fire was larger than a trashcan, it was no longer a fire that CERT could safely handle. Staff members were shown the proper way to back away from the fire, with one member leading the other, so that one of the two team members always had their eye on the source.

Hands on practice is a very effective way to learn the proper procedures, and the attendees enjoy being a part of the solution. The 10-15 minute presentation turned into a one-hour presentation, with both CERT members and staff enjoying the day, while still keeping in mind the seriousness of the presentation.

teaching the group about using fire extinguishers