Sunday, February 05, 2012

     I attended a recent fire and safety seminar at a rally down in California. Mac McCoy "The Fire Guy" is a retired fireman and paramedic. Everything I thought I knew about putting out a fire and escaping a burning building went up in smoke - literally during Mac's demonstration.

     Outside Mac doused a large board with gasoline and lit it on fire. He attempted to put the fire out with the standard fire extinguishers found in hardware stores. They are filled with a powder he reignited. Further the powder is toxic and spreads everywhere. It was all over the fence, the pavement and you could see it drifting for some distance including onto his clothing. Inside a home it penetrates into places like electrical outlets and damages things like plastic found on kitchen appliances like microwaves. Due to its toxic nature, a hazmat team must be brought in to clean.

     Mac then demonstrated a fire extinguisher containing foam. After extinguishing a fire he relit the foam and it failed to reignite. Nor did the foam spread like the powder. It's so safe that he even sprayed it on himself and ate a small bit.

     He said most fires start in the kitchen and advised against using baking soda. Baking Soda must be poured directly over a flame putting clothing in direct contact with the flames. Instead, grab a large pan lid. Start at the chest and use the lid as a shield pushing it toward the flaming pan. This separates the flame allowing you to safely put the lid on the pan. If you bring the lid from the top of the pan, the flames separate and catch your clothing and nearby woodwork on fire.

     Next Mac recommended storing the extinguisher on top of the counter but away from the stove so it can be reached without the flames catching your clothing on fire. Always leave a pan lid on the counter when you cook. Set your timer for 45 seconds when you turn the stove on to preheat a pan as a reminder that the pad is preheating flammable oil.

     Mac instructed us to sleep with the bedroom door closed. It takes 10 to 15 minutes for fire to burn through a solid bedroom door. Touch the door knob and door to make sure it’s cool before opening it.

     Always crawl on the floor to move around the home. Smoke inhalation, which settles in about waist high, kills more people than the fire itself. Mac emphasized the importance of planning an escape route and where to meet once you are outside the home then practice to make certain your plan works. If you have small children or disabled family members decide who will help whom out of the home and how. Then practice so everyone knows their job.

     Read more articles on Mac's website You can order foam extinguishers from him as well. Call him for guidance on what extinguishers are best for you. You'll need one for each bedroom, the kitchen and I also bought one for my truck. I would have burned to death 10 years ago had my truck caught on fire after I was hit head intentionally. It rides in one of my cup holders where it's easy to reach.

     Don't forget to put a sparkle on your windows with Benya, our February special. Usually $19.95 it's now $14.95.

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