By Maj Keith J. Eble
First published in
SFOR Informer#103, December 20,
Banja Luka - For many servicemen on operations in the
Balkans, temporary accommodations, often a container, is a fact of life.
Recent events in MND-SW have highlighted that without the correct safety
procedures in place this accommodation could so easily be a cause of
their untimely death.
"Since I arrived in July, I considered highlighting the danger
by organizing a fire demonstration for the multi-national force based
in Banja Luka Metal Factory," said John Simons, Fire Services Assistant
Divisional Officer in Banja Luka. "There had been a number of fires
in England involving polyurethane foam panels of which containers are
constructed and containers here in the Balkans had never been fire tested."
Three recent fire incidents at the Metal Factory convinced Col. Simon
Hall, Deputy Commander British Forces, that this demonstration was essential.
He gave the project his full support.
the time of ignition the mocked up container took only six minutes before
it was a cauldron of heat and poisonous smoke. The demonstration itself
highlighted the need for urgent action when a fire is discovered.
Simons had the following message: "We tried to convey today the
dangers that exist if a container catches fire, particularly from the
thick toxic smoke which, if inhaled, will kill you. A smoke detector
will go into alarm approximately 30 seconds after the fire has started.
If you respond quickly enough you will survive. Get out and get the
fire brigade out. Make sure everybody in close proximity to the fire
has been warned. You can do this by shouting fire and raising the building
Simins offered these simple Fire Safety Tips that could save your life
and those of your comrades:
1. Ensure that you have a smoke detector fitted within your room.
2. Check that it works once a week
3. Replace the battery every six months.
4. Do not smoke in containers.
5. Do not have open flames within containers, e.g. candles.
6. Unplug all electrical equipment that is not in use.
7. Do not use any radiated fires.
8. Do not dry clothes on heaters.
9. If you discover a fire raise the alarm.
10. Only if it is safe to do so should you try to put out a fire yourself.
Nations of SFOR: UK