Keep us out of a job!

Jeffrey W. Konersman, Chief of Fire Emergency Services, sits at his desk at the March Air Reserve Base Fire Department Sept. 27, 2010.

Jeffrey W. Konersman, Chief of Fire Emergency Services, sits at his desk at the March Air Reserve Base Fire Department Sept. 27, 2010.

Senior Airman Pablo Castillo, 452nd Security Forces Squadron, and Sparky (played by Staff Sgt. Jarod Bernard, March Fire Department) observe morning colors at the main gate Oct. 7 with a salute. Sparky and fire department staff were at the gate to hand out flyers to drivers during the morning rush. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Linda Welz)

Senior Airman Pablo Castillo, 452nd Security Forces Squadron, and Sparky (played by Staff Sgt. Jarod Bernard, March Fire Department) observe morning colors at the main gate Oct. 7 with a salute. Sparky and fire department staff were at the gate to hand out flyers to drivers during the morning rush. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Linda Welz)

MARCH AIR RESERVE BASE, Calif. -- Fire Prevention Week is a long and well-established annual tradition of all fire departments across the nation. In memory of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, we continue to expand our training, encouraging members of the public to practice fire safety in their homes in hopes of keeping them away from a similar horrible fate.

We train very, very hard, all the time, for all kinds of incidents we hope never happen. To put it another way, our job is to be proficient in many emergency response situations, but in the end, we don't want to have to perform our job! If we are working, it means something else has gone wrong and we never like to see that.

However, our career field is one of a long and arduous tradition that will unfortunately always be required because fires do, and will, continue to happen. Almost all fires are preventable, but when you have human beings involved, there are going to be accidents. That is when we must respond and perform the work we are trained and paid to do.

Although we're going to do everything we can to help you if a fire happens, always remember that you are your own first line of defense. Check your smoke detectors twice each year (to help you remember, do this every time you change your clocks). If you live in an area that requires you to keep a stand-off distance because of wild fires, keep it as clean as you can and don't put off the work. The life you save may just be your own or a member of your family.

Please feel welcome to come down to the March station and visit with us and ask questions. You can also approach our firefighters when you see them out and about around the base. We are always available to assist you with fire safety, whether it is a question about your home or work environment.

If you have specific questions, please call our fire inspection staff at 951-655-2075 and ask for one of the fire inspectors. You will be transferred to a courteous and knowledgeable fire safety professional who will gladly assist you.

Keep up with what's going on at March through the base website, Facebook and Twitter.