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[The following post was sponsored by Kidde, and all travel expenses were paid by Kidde.]
Me, fighting a big fire very unsuccessfully – make sure you watch the video at the bottom of this post!
I’m very happy to announce that I’ll be working with Kidde for the next year as a brand ambassador. I’ve worked with Kidde on a couple of twitter parties in the past, and have been buying their safety products for more than a decade, so I’m really excited to work even closer with such a great company.
Kidde makes a wide range of safety products. In fact, they’re the world’s biggest manufacturer of safety products. My favorites are the new Worry-Free line of detectors. They have ten-year lithium batteries sealed inside, so that they never give a low battery chirp; after ten years, they sound an “end of life” warning beep. This is the kind of innovation that I’m positive will help save lives, because often when people die in a fire, it’s found that the home did not have working smoke alarms.
Getting ready to fight fires!
I’ve always had a healthy fear of fire. I never played with matches as a kid, and always got really nervous when my sisters lit candles in their bedroom. But this fear grew by a magnitude seven years ago when I moved into a narrow, four-story house filled with stairs and lacking good escape routes. All I could picture was my family getting trapped on one of the upper floors with nowhere to go. So early on, I made sure that I was prepared with escape ladders and fire extinguishers.
The expensive escape ladders didn’t fit our windowsills.
The fire extinguishers got pushed deeper and deeper into closets as the years went by.
Ever since I started working with Kidde, though, I’ve been paying more attention. We already had five hard-wired Kidde smoke/CO alarms and a plug-in CO alarm, and after the last twitter party I bought four more (the existing ones were all in hallways; the new Worry-Free ones went inside the bedrooms). I’ve spoken to a carpenter about attaching the escape ladders to the floors with a hook. And I’ve dug the fire extinguishers out and checked to make sure they’re still charged.
Not my house!
But after visiting Kidde’s headquarters in North Carolina a couple weeks ago, I know I have a lot more to do.
A big part of our visit to Kidde was learning how to use fire extinguishers. I have them, and I thought that was enough. But now that I’ve actually tried to put fires out, I know that most people wouldn’t know what to do. Granted, we were fighting fires that were probably much bigger than something I would tackle on my own – if faced with a fire bigger than, say, a toaster, I would probably just high-tail it out of my house, calling 911 on the way.
How to use a fire extinguisher
But being close to fire in a way I’d never been before gave me a new respect for fire itself – how unpredictable it is, how very hot it is even at a distance, and how easy it would be to panic when faced with flames.
I never did manage to put out any of the big fires I faced. It’s a lot harder than it looks.
But I did put out the simulated kitchen grease fire, which is probably the fire I would be most likely to encounter in real life. And I put it out pretty easily. That made me feel a little bit better.
In fact, one change I made when I got home was I took my kitchen fire extinguisher out from underneath the sink and put it right on the counter, where I would actually have a chance to grab it in an emergency. Sure, it doesn’t look great, but neither would a fire. Maybe I can get someone on Etsy to make me some kind of decorative extinguisher cozy.