Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Unbelievable.

I have checked my calendar three times to make sure that it is not the first day of April, but the date resolutely remains March 26th, therefore I am going to grudgingly accept this as a fact.

(I say "grudgingly", because you would be drummed out of the International Debater's Guild for coming up with an analogy so ham-fistedly silly.)

Apparently some experts in the Place Where Great Britain Used To Be have determined that publicly accessible fire extinguishers are a Bad Thing because, and I quote, "[t]he life-saving devices encourage untrained people to fight a fire rather than leave the building". I swear to you on my still-living mother's grave that I did not make that up as a joke. The comic possibilities beggar the imagination:

"You should give the fire what it wants to avoid getting hurt."

"We're the only ones qualified to use fire extinguishers safely."

"Just get to a safe place and call 911 and let the experts come take care of it."

"Try and reason with the fire."

"The fire will just take the extinguisher away from you and use it against you."

Oh, my god, the jokes are endless. For a fan of snark like me, I couldn't be happier if Santa left me a real live pony. I'll be chuckling to myself all day.


(Big Thanks to Eccentric Bounce.)

29 comments:

Jim Sullivan said...

What happened to them? Seriously. What happened to their national spine? I used to watch Alec Guiness in 'The Bridge on the River Kwai' all the time and say, "Now those people are f*****' tough as nails." I could weep.

B&N said...

Tam, I have to generally disagree with you about this one.

Sorry, it's something I see sometimes in my line of work.

A five or ten pounder ABC isn't going to do much on a fire that has consumed more than a wastebasket full of paper, so that is why I always recommend that unless you are trying to fight your way out of the building, don't bother, and let the FD come with the heavy artillery.

Tam said...

So what to use to put out the wastebasket?

Matt G said...

"Fighting never solves anything. Even 'firefighting.'"

B&N-- I have personally seen a small electrical fire in a car parked in an open garage turn a lovely 2500 square foot home into nothing but a pile of ashes and a cracked slab foundation. A fire extinguisher on scene might well have saved the day, or at least have held things off until the fire department came to save that family their home and their memories. They lost EVERYthing. When the other officer arrived first (I stayed on the street to guide in the FD from the next intersection), he forgot that he had a fire extinguisher, and helplessly watched a small campfire-sized fire turn into a raging inferno.

I've seen small kitchen fires consume buildings.

It's up to the individual to get out when it's not working. But denying him the tools to stop a small irritation from becoming a major catastrophe is insanity.

Jim Sullivan said...

b&n,

" so that is why I always recommend that unless you are trying to fight your way out of the building, don't bother, and let the FD come with the heavy artillery."

By that token, they still need them should they need to fight their way out.

What good purpose is served by denying people the means to possibly help themselves? No good purpose: Authoritarianism is the goal.

Rob K said...

I started carrying a fire extinguisher in the car after seeing a woman standing beside her car on the roadside, talking on her cell phone, watching her engine begin to burn. It was still small enough that I could have put it out if I'd had a fire extinguisher with me. I keep one by my bed too.

b&n, at a previous job we had a lot of safety training (some of it downright silly for what we did). One session was on the use of a fire extinguisher, given by our building manager who was also a volunteer fireman. It was mostly a reading of the instructions written on the extinguisher -- point and spray and if that doesn't do it get out and call 911.

Bryan said...

They can have my extinguishers when they pry them from my charred dead hands. ;)

I'm a bit of a nut when it comes to them. I keep several stashed around the house, including a couple of hard-to-get Halon extinguishers near the PC and such.

I've received a few odd looks at housewarmings. My standard gift at such things is a brace of fire extinguishers. I've never been caught giving the same thing as anyone else and I've never had anyone not appreciate getting them.

Mark said...

Heinlein's Ghost! That's up there with the Catholic church stating that condoms spread AIDS.

Mr. Fixit said...

You know the sad truth is that a fire extinguisher in the home is 99% more likely to be used on a fire involving your own possessions, than on a strangers fire.

I wouldn't advise anyone who knows nothing about fire extinguishers using one on a fire, but with a little knowledge they can do amazing things. Just like another object I can think of.

Both guns and fire extinguisher should be taught in school to everyone, every year.

B&N said...

Tam, Matt, et al,

I'm NOT saying that fighting the fire is a lost cause and I'm certainly not suggesting that the tools to fight fires be denied the typical occupants of any building, be it residential or commercial.

Many fires can be extinguished by the means that are typically at hand in most places, but the fire must be caught in time, before it conflagrates and does the crazy stuff that fires do, like climbing walls and running through ducts and chases.

People tend to panic (the BOTH of you should understand that the sheeple who occupy this world are prone to going apoplectic over stuff like, say GUNS, so why should they act rationally around something like fire?) and when a fire gets out of hand, and they can, in a hurry, folks are more likely to stand around, glassy-eyed like a deer in headlights, getting choked on the hot gases, pass out and die.

Sorry, again, my experience suggests to me that most folks haven't enough sense to do much that I'd consider productive about these sorts of things, even with the right equipment on hand.

B&N said...

mr. fixit,

Hear, hear, sir!!!

B&N said...

How many fire extinguishers do YOU have in your house?

I have 6 at my last count.

Ask me again if I think it's useless in fighting the damned things.

It's about catching the beast before it gets out of hand, and running to another part of the house to retreive one is giving a fire EVERY chance it needs to get rolling by delaying action. You simply must be there when it starts and you must have an FE at hand.

No waiting around.

In a commercial building, seriously, get the hell out, use the FE if needed, and don't try to be a hero.

Jim Sullivan said...

b&n,

I'm confused. I thought you said you disagreed with Tam's post initially but then you said:

"I'm certainly not suggesting that the tools to fight fires be denied the typical occupants of any building, be it residential or commercial."

I can understand why you think that most people would panic too much (because most would)to actually use the extinguishers correctly (even if given the HR 30 second run-through) but I'm still confused. I assumed Tam was snarking the fact that they wanted them denied to people and you disagreed...

Mark said...

I'm waiting to see what the penalty for having an unlicensed extinguisher in Civillian hands is going to be. Perhaps there'll be a limit on what capacity extinguisher one can buy? Or maybe a limit on the number of extinguishers one can own?

Something Must Be Done! Think Of The Children!

Tam said...

Having worked in a place of business that was full of avgas and oily rags, I have actually been certified in fire extinguisher operations.

Of course, that was nearly a decade ago, and I'm a little rusty, but I did have a chance or three to use my mad 1337 skillz on burning gunpowder and paper flecks since then...

B&N said...

"I assumed Tam was snarking the fact that they wanted them denied to people and you disagreed..."

Yes, independent of the snark (which was excellent, as always), and the asshole who thinks FE's should be kept out of the hands of the unwashed, or whatever, I still don't think most folks know what they are doing when attempting to fight a fire.

Ask yourself this question; how many people do you know who have never fired a gun? How many people say, "Ick!" when you bring up the subject of same?

Now, apply that SAME logic to using an FE. Do you get my point now?

How can anyone know how to use it if they've, ya know, never practiced with it.

staghounds said...

You have six fire extinguishers? Who really needs six fire extinguishers?

Shouldn't people have to pass a test before they get one of these? And we should have a registry, because writing down the names of who owns them makes a difference.

Seriously, when I get that "Why a gun?" question, I point to the flashlight, jumper cables, rope, and fire extinguisher and say, "Same reason".

Alright, maybe not the rope, now.

jimbob86 said...

b&n- I gotta tell ya, You sound like one of the sheep's minders, with the "don't try, beccause you'll probably not be successful" crap. Lives and property have been saved because people have tried, and valour should be encouraged at every opportunity, not discouraged at any opportunity.

I have been through a couple of fires where quick application of a fire extinquishing agent prevented catastrophe. One was a diesel fueled stove/tent fire, and could have been tragic..... a ten pound "purple K" saved the day...

B&N said...

jimbob,

Yeah, I guess that is what you'd think.

Most of you are missing the point, and doing it wantonly.

Tam said...

I got what you were saying.

I think most of the responses have been an unfortunate case of talking past one another.

Jim Sullivan said...

b&n,

"Yes, independent of the snark (which was excellent, as always), and the asshole who thinks FE's should be kept out of the hands of the unwashed, or whatever, I still don't think most folks know what they are doing when attempting to fight a fire."

I'm not wantonly missing your point. I get it. People should be trained or else they can get themselves killed, be it by gun or fire.


I'm sorry if I don't understand the original point you were trying to make. You said you disagreed.
I don't remember anyone saying people knew what to do to fight a fire. I was trying to figure out what, exactly, you disagreed with.

Are you in favor of fire extinguishers in private and commercial buildings(regardless of training in how to use them)?

Would you rather side with the Brits that want them removed?

I was confused is all.

I've got too much time on my hands today (f***** weather)if I can sit here and argue about Fire Extinguishers...

Mark said...

See, as long as it's raining hard enough, people won't need fire extinguishers.

*koff*

Silliness aside, it's a sad, sad indictment of the "It's Not My Problem! Someone Save Meeee!" 'tude here in the Uck. Ever so ironic after that smashing song you posted.

the pawnbroker said...

i heard the uk lobby group "arsonistsRpeople2" filed a formal complaint that their members' minority rights were being violated when their carefully planned and set fires were snuffed without proper fame and glory to the artists...

alex. said...

It's really sad. Circa 1908 Britannia ruled the waves; a century later it's unfortunate subjects cannot be trusted to extinguish a minor blaze. Churchill weeps and Orwell says, "I warned you". RIP Great Britain.

staghounds said...

They really do write themselves.

And if you really DO want a pony...

deadcenter said...

Why is this surprising? This is a country that is padding lamp posts so that text messagers don't hurt themselves when they walk into them. Just one more example of the encroachment of the nannystate.

http://www.metro.co.uk/news/article.html?in_article_id=110104&in_page_id=34

dc

Matt G said...

Mr Fixit said:
"You know the sad truth is that a fire extinguisher in the home is 99% more likely to be used on a fire involving your own possessions, than on a strangers fire."

So awesome. :)

* * *

*I* submit that our genetics would be improved if we had less mandatory fire extinguisher certifications, more fire extinguishers hanging on walls, and more sudden fires.

Or maybe not. We probably should preserve gallantry.

* * *

B&N:
I get you, but you are unintentionally conveying to some a certain elitism that connotes the "we're the only ones trained enough" position. Should everyone spend the 10 minutes it takes to understand fire extinguishers and how to use them? Sure. Absolutely. But we basically have spent more time disussing this issue than it would have taken to train every reader how to be a frickin' expert at FE use.

M said...

I'm waiting to see what the penalty for having an unlicensed extinguisher in Civillian hands is going to be. Perhaps there'll be a limit on what capacity extinguisher one can buy? Or maybe a limit on the number of extinguishers one can own?

Obviously it's imperative that we get a 5-day waiting period on fire extinguisher purchases, to prevent fires from being put out in the heat of the moment. And really, why would you ever need to buy more than one extinguisher per month?

Joseph said...

In related news, British doctors have called for controls on kitchen knives.