Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Fire Is Fire Is Fire. At The End Of The Day, Ask Yourself This One Question.

One of my worst fears is fire. It always has been. That fear escalated when I lived out of state over 10 years ago. Ohio. I'm not sure if the laws have changed, but back then it was illegal to have "backyard fireworks." They didn't even sell sparklers in the store. The only legal stuff to purchase to celebrate Fourth of July festivities were colored smoke thingies. You light them. They let off colored smoke. That was it.

That particular July, my ex and I had purchased a few of the colored smoke thingies as we had done every year. It had been an extremely dry summer. Wells were running low. Water pressure was touch and go. By the Fourth of July, a lot of the grass had turned that light shade of brown.

Our home was located on a rather peculiar piece of property. Yard. Lots of hills. Lots of dead trees. The grass on the hills was long. Pretty much all dead.

One afternoon my ex, despite my disapproval, decided to light one of the colored smoke thingies. It was the size of a small bath bomb.

It was a dud. 

Upon lighting, it exploded a bit. My ex's first reaction was to get it out of her hand. About 3 feet from where she was standing. In the tall, dead grass.

The area where the colored smoke thingy landed started crackling. My ex bolted to the garden hose. The hose stopped about 5 feet from the crackling. Normally, that wouldn't have been an issue, but when she activated the garden hose, we had no water pressure.

She looked like a 5 year old taking a pee on the lawn. 

I rushed into our house and started filling anything and everything with water for her to pour on the grass.

But, it was too late.

Half of the hill was already on fire.

I called the fire department despite my ex's demands not to.

I wasn't messing around.

Fire is fire is fire. 

The situation wasn't going to get any better. It was only going to get worse. And, it was already out of our control.

The time between calling the fire department and when they arrived, most of the trees had gone up in flames too. The shorter dead grass in our yard was smoldering.

The flames were less than 5 feet from the house and spreading fast.

The fire department got there just in time.

I will never forget that day.

We almost lost the house.

Since then, my fear of fire has blown through the roof. But more so, it has made me a lot wiser and certainly more cautious.

That's not necessarily a bad thing. I'm sure I have driven a lot of people batshit crazy because this is one thing I do not mess around with.

This is one of the reasons why we no longer have a "real" Christmas tree.

This is one of the reason why I unplug everything except for the oven and refrigerator when we have a power outage.

This is one of the reasons why we don't light a fire in the backyard if it's breezy or we haven't had rain in a while.

And also one of the reasons why it takes us at least 10 minutes to put the backyard fire out.

This is one of the reasons why we no longer burn candles.

This is one of the reasons why we don't start the dryer before bed or when we leave our home.

This is one of the reasons why we replace our fire alarm batteries once a year and make sure they're all in working order.

This is one of the reasons why we have a fire extinguisher in our kitchen.

This is one of the reasons why we shut off the air conditioners and unplug certain things when we have a severe thunderstorm during the warm weather months.

This is one of the reasons why we don't have Fourth of July festivities in our backyard.

This is one of the reasons why we don't leave the house when our crockpot is on.

This is one of the reasons why we don't use our grill on the front porch. We use it in the yard. Away from the house. Within the reach of the garden hose.

The list goes on...

Over the past few years, at least a half dozen people we know have had house fires. They lost everything.

Thankfully, the humans and most their furry kids escaped.

Some did not.

Last year, I had fallen asleep on the sofa while working on blog columns. I was wakened in the wee hours of the morning. One of our neighbors had a dryer fire in their basement.

You know what woke me up? The sound of their fire alarms and the flashing lights from the firetrucks and emergency response vehicles.

Yes, I'll be the first to admit I'm militant about fire safety. I'll even go so far as to admit I can be the biggest of bitches when others slack in that area.


I'm not going to apologize.

I know that a fire can happen because of something faulty...like the colored smoke bomb thingy that was a dud.


I also know that when you take precautions and put in the time and effort to maintain fire safety, the risk of a fire starting or spreading can be lowered. Or, maybe even prevented.

That extends to making sure if there is a fire, you know how to use a fire extinguisher and/or you have a plan to escape.

Lisa and I have multiple leashes hanging in the kitchen on our DIY Dog Leash holders. There is one for each of our kids.

We keep all of our important essentials in a single spot to grab and go.

I'm not going to be overconfident and say that we could escape with the essentials within a minute. We have prepped ourselves to do just that, but freaky shit happens that is beyond our control.

With that being said...

This weekend, we turn our clocks ahead. It's the perfect time to check your smoke alarms. Make sure they're working.

Think about having a plan.

Then, make a plan.

Buy a couple of fire extinguishers for your home.

Make sure your human kids know how to use them.

If you rent...

Make sure the landlord is up to par with fire safety. It's THE LAW!

Thankfully, we have a landlord, who lives upstairs in this gorgeous 2 family home, that is stringent with fire safety and precautions. From the high tech fire alarms to the fire extinguishers scattered amid the house, she makes sure we'd be taken care of amid an emergency.

We are truly fortunate and grateful for that...even if I drive her bonkers sometimes.

We're all on the same page.

At the end of the day, ask yourself this one question...

If you only had 1-2 minutes to escape your home with your family, whether it's human kids or furry kids, would you be able to do that? 

If the answer is no...do something about that. 

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