For Day 4 of the 5 Pictures 5 Stories challenge I figured I would combine with a story about fire safety. Kidde, the fire extinguisher company (and smoke alarms, and other safety products), sent me their new listening device called the RemoteLync Monitor that alerts you when your existing smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms sound via a free app, text, email or call. In addition, you can set up a network of contacts to be notified, and there is an option to call 911 directly. If you want to learn more go to remotelync.kidde.com.
They asked me to write a story about fire safety.
I figured this would be a good time to talk about the time when one of Kidde’s little fire extinguishers saved my neighbors house.
We had a party at my house, and as we were cleaning up I started smelling something burning. It smelled like burning plastic. It was faint and I didn’t think much about it at first, but as I took the next bag of trash out, the smell got stronger. I sniffed around all my trash bins, as we did have some hot food, and the grill was still warm. But no luck.
My neighbors were getting their house stucco-ed. Getting stucco on their house involves putting tar paper over the whole house, then an inch layer of Styrofoam, and then chicken wire on top of that before adding the stucco. I snuck in the backyard to see if they were cooking something. Nothing there. I went to their front door, and as I did the smell got stronger the closer I got. As I crossed under their eaves, I saw smoke. I pounded on their door and started to look for a hose.
Then, like a lightning strike, I remembered that I had a two pack of Kidde fire extinguishers in my garage. I turned, ran to my garage, and used my remote keypad to open the door (something else I highly recommend). Once the door was opened about a foot, I did an army roll under the door, ran to the front of the garage to get my extinguishers.
Story deviation: I come from a long line of pyromaniacs, and I married a pyromaniac too. Now, when I say pyromaniac, they don’t go out and set fires for fun. However, they do have fun when they get to light a fire. Being raised around fire, I have always had a healthy respect for fire, and always made sure that I had a fire extinguisher in my house. But I have never had to use one. I remember my various first aid training, and discussions about fire safety in various jobs I have had.
So, as I am running back out of the garage, I ripped open one of the boxes, and grabbed an extinguisher out. I dropped the other box, yanked the safety pin out, and headed towards the fire. At this point, the smoke and turned into flames. I ducked through the flames and the melting Styrofoam, pounded on the door again, and pointed the fire extinguisher at the fire. I pulled the trigger (there isn’t a trigger, I pushed down on the lever) and sprayed and prayed.
About a half second after the extinguisher went off, my neighbor opened his door to a flames and smoke and whatever the steam was created by the fire extinguishing chemicals. But once that cleared, the fire was out. The Styrofoam was melted, but there was no wood damage. The fire department was called and came to check out the house. They used some fancy equipment and determined that there was no residual heat in the attic.
Turns out that what happened was that when the contractors were putting on the tar paper, they put a staple through a wire that wasn’t secured properly. That wire was under another piece of tar paper. When my neighbor turned on his outdoor lights, there was a short, which caused heat, that ignited the tar paper, and then the Styrofoam. My neighbors were in bed when I pounded on the door. Who knows what would have happened if I hadn’t been taking out the garbage at that time.
So, thank you Kidde. My neighbors appreciate the fact that I had your fire extinguishers.
In closing, make sure you have a fire extinguisher, especially in areas that are prone to fire (kitchen, garage, by the fire place, and laundry room). Also, check the regularly to make sure they are still charged. I recommend getting an ABC extinguisher, which can deal with normal fires, electrical fires (like my fire experience), and liquid fires (grease, oil, etc.).