Oakwood teams up with Trenton firefighters to promote fire safety

Marjorie Kuhn approached the fire, extinguisher in hand. The administrative assistant at the surgery center at the Oakwood Southshore Medical Center had never used one before, but thanks to members of the Trenton Fire Department, she knew exactly what to do.

Point, Aim, Squeeze and Sweep.

Moments later, waving away the white cloud that burst from the extinguisher, she had put on the small blaze and said she felt better prepared for an actual emergency. Kuhn was one of several nurses, administrators and other surgery center staff members to take part in Fire Safety Day, which teamed the staff up with members of the Trenton Fire Department to in order to learn how to properly handle a fire extinguisher.

“It was a worthwhile experience,” said Kuhn. “I know what to do now.”

That was the idea behind the event, said Mary Compeau, director of the center.

“A fire in a hospital can be a terrifying thing,” she said. “I wanted everyone to get some hands-on experience in using an extinguisher.”

Staff members were taught the basics of fire extinguisher safety: to point the nozzle at the base of the fire, approach it slowly and back away from the area after the fire is put out—not to turn their backs. The extinguishers used emitted a chemical substance that snuffed out all kinds of fires from as far away as 12 feet. They were donated to the department for training purposes.

Firefighter Randy Washburn said the PASS acronym was important to remember. He also said extinguishers should be used only once and then recharged and that the fire department should be called, even if the fire is put out. He also urged the staff not to hesitate to use the extinguisher, if a fire indeed broke out.

“Obviously, the faster it is put out, the better it is for everyone,” he said. “It causes less damage and requires less effort.”

The firefighters put on the safety demonstration at the hospital last year, too.

“It’s always good to get out in the community and do things like this,” he said

CUTLINES: Above, firefighter Rick Washburn explains how to use a fire extinguisher to staff members at Oakwood Southshore Medical Center.
Below: Mary Compeau, director of the surgery center, snuffs a fire in the OSMC parking lot.