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Fire and Safety

I recently read two posts about fires in one day.

One, 5 people died in an apartment fire, and a friend of mine knew and cared for them. There was one survivor, injured also. The whole story was tragic, and shudder-worthy. This made me cry.

Another had a better ending. A friend who had just moved into her new house heard the commotion and called 911 for a fire at one of her new neighbors' house. She had already headed for bed.

The holidays and New Years are always a little more risky with fire, it seems. People get caught up in the season, and forget the risks.

Christmas trees top the list. Last year, I watched a video of a Christmas tree go up and engulf a living room in under a minute (it was a demo, no people). It still was shocking. Artificial trees may not have that nice pine smell, but they aren't tinder with ignition sources attached to them, either. If you have to have a "real" tree, keep it moist, and throw it out after New Years. Either type should have the lights on a switch and a timer. Don't leave tree lights on while you're out or asleep. Have a combo wood/electrical type fire extinguisher between the tree and the door.

New Years firecrackers are next. Don't play even with the "poppers" inside. Don't use them near people's wooden houses. I love pyrotechnics, don't get me wrong, but not near shake roofs, thank you. If you are set on playing with bang bangs, keep a fire extinguisher handy.

Fireplaces are third. Sure, they have brick casements and chimneys, but unless you keep stuff cleaned out, and the chimney swept, tar can build up and ignite. Plus, if you don't have a screen or grate, a slightly wet log can pop and launch sparks onto your carpet. Don't have a "roaring fire" unattended. A fire extinguisher is a great thing to have between the fireplace and the door.

Kitchens and heaters rate next. Don't use your oven to heat your house while you sleep. Don't use space heaters that can tip and ignite stuff, or go *krizz* and burn up while you're away. If you can see a red heat element or flame, don't leave it on when you're not in the room. Again, fire extinguishers are not just for garages. Smoke detectors can be useful if set properly in your kitchen, so that you know if grease catches fire.

Finally, I have to address smoking. I'm not going to preach at people to quit, either tobacco or 420. Hypocrisy isn't my thing. But try to smoke outside, with proper ashtrays. If you can't do outside, then don't do it in a bedroom or anywhere that you might fall asleep. If you doze off while watching TV, then stand up to smoke. Don't just sit it in an ashtray and let it burn (why waste the money, if nothing else.)

The long and short is, if you have anything flammable around, keep it away from sparks and other ignition sources. If you decide to burn it, do it in a safe place, in a safe manner, and with an awake, aware attendant with a fire extinguisher handy.

I probably should have made this post a month ago, although most all of you know this stuff.

Please, be careful, and be glad for the time you have your friends and family.

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( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
jemyl
Jan. 7th, 2011 08:16 pm (UTC)
Well said! Down here we lost 5 kids in one family in a house fire about a month ago -- so very sad.

One thing you didn't touch on is the ever present outdoor bonfire or garbage fire so popular out in the country or on the beach. Please, everyone who goes to one of these, have a hose and extinguisher ready and, whenever you all leave the fire, separate the logs, douse them, cover them with lots of dirt or sand and then douse them LIBERALLY again. Wind blown embers do occur with this type of fire.

Also, if you smoke outside or in your vehicle, please do not throw your butts on the ground. Put them into an ashtray. We just had a more than five acre brush fire that took many of my friends away from their families on Christmas Eve and Christmas fighting that fire to bring it under control and, I understand, it is still being checked daily for hot spots. In Florida green foliage burns, a strange but true fact. We have had only about one 2 inch rainstorm in over a month. It is Fall-like here, with trees in color and all, and dry as that proverbial bone. Now with wind too, our county is under a burn ban, and still we have brush fires started by humans, usually from their butts, and I don't mean the ones they sit on or think with!

BTW, Ravan and Sarah, I plan to call you this weekend. I've held off so as not to waste your minutes. Peace --- jemyl a.k.a. Mamasan
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