Fear of Fire is the Beginning of Reason.

There’s little in the world that I fear more than fire.  An irreplaceable tool when contained, an unbelievably destructive force when allowed to run free.

While many people have Fire Insurance on their homes and an extinguisher somewhere in the house, it is often under the kitchen sink or in the garage, out of sight and neglected until necessity demands it work immediately and perfectly.  When was the last time you looked at yours or the last time you actually inspected the extinguisher?  Do you even remember the last time you had preventative maintenance done?

And beyond checking and maintenance, when was the last time you actually used it for anything but a simple grease fire?  Do you know the proper method of use for the common fire extinguisher?  What about the letter ratings and how they apply to the different types of fire?  While the most common fire extinguisher in a household will be an ABC type, the importance of knowing what extinguisher you have and whether it is appropriate for the fire you could potentially be facing can not be overstated.  Use the wrong type, for instance an A extinguisher on the above grease fire and you may suddenly be facing a catastrophe as the water in the extinguisher sends the burning oil flying in all directions.

Do you know the proper method of employment?  You’ll only have between 8 and 10 seconds of fire fighting power, so you must use that time effectively.  The acronym P.A.S.S.

P – Pull the pin.

A – Aim at the base of the fire.

S – Squeeze the handle slowly.

S – Sweep from side to side.

is an easy way to remember the basics of correct fire extinguisher use.

Last summer, while Ghillieman and I were pulling into the Ghilliehold, we passed a loaded lumber truck parked at his neighbor’s house.  Unknown to the driver and crew, smoke and flame were flickering out from behind one of the tires on the rear of the truck, it was apparent that the brakes had locked on that wheel and the driver hadn’t noticed with the weight of the partial load.  With a snap assessment of the situation, I jumped from the truck and grabbed the extinguisher from the cargo box.

Within seconds I had the fire extinguished with several bursts of yellow powder from the small hand held extinguisher.  It wasn’t until one of the men saw me firing under the edge of the truck that they even noticed something was amiss.  It was then that I realized I hadn’t warned them of the fire, just jumped into the fray totally focused on stopping the fire from kindling the tires and the wood overhead.  In my defense, had I spared a thought to the situation I would have rightly expected Ghillieman to give the warning and in fact he was going to do that very thing.  However the truck crew just hadn’t yet given him any notice.

Most preppers think in the long term, the big S hitting the F, but just as important and much more likely is the small s that happens every day to someone who isn’t ready to deal with the situation.  If you are planning to ride out the apocalypse, but haven’t taken steps to protect your home and loved ones in the mean time, you are essentially tilting at windmills while your horse gallops across a minefield.

Mongo

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2 responses to “Fear of Fire is the Beginning of Reason.

  • Robert Redbeard

    How many people have actually used one and know exactly what to expect? I once had the pleasure of taking an actual class on the use of a fire extinguisher. It is not as easy as most people would think.

    We not only learn the ins and outs of how they worked and what types to use for certain fires. We went out and put out fires. It’s not easy.

    One big thing people don’t know is that initially, the fire will flare up when you hit it with a fire extinguisher. Because of the oxygen that gets pushed in front of the stream you are shooting at the fire. Often it scares the hell out of people.

    Another point. Do not fight a losing battle with the wrong tool. They are often best used to fight your way out of a fire as opposed to actually trying to put the fire out with it. Many people have died because they chose to stand and fight and simply ran out of ammo, so to say.

    My 2 cents.

    Yours Truly,
    Robert Redbeard

  • m0ngo

    A very valid point Robert and one that should always be kept in mind. Practicing with your tools is the only way to become proficient and understand that to expect.

    Also being able to accurately assess a situation and determine if it is within your capabilities should be something we all strive for. Best to err on the side of caution than let yourself be caught in a situation that you simply can not handle.

    You can always replace a lost thing, nothing will replace a lost life.

    Mongo

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