www.whyville.net Apr 15, 2007 Weekly Issue

Guest Writer

Fire Safety

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Hello my fellow whyville citizens. Today I would like to tell/remind you something that is very important. I know you hear the lectures all the time at school saying, "To prevent fires, do this, and that, and blah blah blah!" But do you realize how serious fires are? Well some of you have never experienced your home being caught on fire, and let me tell you, it's devastating.

I've experienced a fire before. A few years ago, my garage had caught on fire. We were very lucky for three reasons: 1) The garage caught on fire, and it wasn't connected to the house. So our home was safe! 2) We lived down the street from the fire station, so they saw the smoke. (t was a holiday so we weren't home when the fire happened.) 3) The grill and propane tank was really really close to the fire. If the fire was going for a few more minutes... who knows what would've happened!

Another small story. Just about four days ago, someone's house caught on fire right across the street from me. It was a very bad fire too. As we all know, chimney fires are terrible. Well the whole wall to one side of the house is completely gone, along with half the roof. The roads were blocked off. Disaster control was even there!

What kind of fires are there? Just flames and heat? No. Types of fires actually come in classes. Which consist of the following:

Class A


Class B

Flammable liquids

Class C

Electrical/ energized electrical equipment

Class D

Combustible metals

Another type of fire, is arson. It isn't really a classed fire though. Arson is the burning of another's house or property, or a burning of your own house or property to collect insurance. But before you get any ideas, don't do/cause arson, please!

Now that we know the types and classes of fires, let' learn about fire extinguishers, and how to put a fire out. There are four common types of fire extinguishers as well. They also come in classes.

Class A

This extinguisher has a label that should look like a triangle with the letter "A" in it. The Class A fire extinguisher puts out ordinary combustibles such as wood and paper.

Class B

Class B fire extinguishers have a label that looks like a square with the letter "B" in it. This extinguisher puts out fires from oils, grease, gas, and other flammable liquids, etc.

Class C

Class C fire extinguisher's label looks like a "C" in a circle. The purpose for this extinguisher is to put out electrical fires.

Class D

This extinguisher has a label that looks like a "D" in a star. It is mean to put out metal fires (Yes, I said METAL fires! Some metals are flammable!).

There are some fire extinguishers that are a combination of classes. That way you don't have to buy four different extinguishers. Do you have a fire extinguisher? If so, where at? Here are good places to have fire extinguishers: kitchen, vehicle, RV or trailer, boat, garage, laundry room, and perhaps an extra one in a cleaning closet. If you don't have a fire extinguisher, say something to your mom or dad! "Hey Dad, while you're out, pick up that fire extinguisher we've been meaning to get! I'm a teenager...I'm cooking now! Don't you want to keep your kitchen?" Ha.

Putting out a fire is very important. For small fires, you can use an extinguisher. Do you know how to use one? If not, I'll tell you! There's a method word to help you remember how to use an extinguisher. It's the P.A.S.S method. P = Pull the Pin. This lets you squeeze the handle for the discharge to come out of the extinguisher. A = Aim at the base of the fire. It does absolutely no good to aim at the middle of the fire, it won't go out that way. S = Squeeze the handle. This releases the pressurized extinguishing agent (the white stuff) from the extinguisher. S = Sweep (from side to side). Make sure you cover the whole entire area that is on fire. Then keep an eye on the fire in case it lights up again.

Remember, while using an extinguisher, it's best to have your back to a door or exit of a room. So if the fire gets out of control, you won't be trapped. Also if the fire gets too big, don't start thinking you can put it out all by yourself. The extinguisher doesn't last forever! Get some help, call 911!

When putting out an electrical fire, and you don't have an extinguisher, do not, I repeat, do not pour water on it!

Now that we know some types of fires, and about extinguishers, let's learn how to prevent them!

The Do's

Close doors at night.
Turn off cooking devices and heating devices at night.
Put out cigarettes properly (well, just don't smoke and you have one less thing to worry about!).
Turn off as many electrical devices as possible when they are not in use.
Make sure smoke detectors are in every room, and change the batteries every 60 days or so.
Girls, turn off the curling irons and hair straighteners when you're done!

The Don'ts Don't play with matches. Keep them stored in a cupboard up high where children can't reach them.
Tell an adult if you find matches lying around.
Don't leave dry clothes on an electrical fire.
Don't leave radios, TVs, computers, etc on standby at night. Just turn them off (saves the electric bill too!).
Don't leave the room when cooking a meal.
Don't leave electrical cords hanging over sinks and what not.
Don't play with candles or lighters.

Just another quick reminder before I completely bore you: if you're on fire, please don't run around like crazy. Just stop, drop, and roll. :)

Yeah, I know you already know fire safety. But sometimes you need a good reminder. Don't ever think a fire will never happen to you/your home. We're all human after all!

If you'd like to print this article out to hang on your refrigerator or show someone, please do so. You could be saving a life.


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