Over the years I have often wrote about having fire extinguishers around the house and practicing good fire prevention. Here is a post that was sent to me that gives some idea of how you can provide yourself fire protection and help your local volunteer fire department. There are some good ideas in it.
We have a fire safety company in our town. They have supplied us with old but still full fire extinguishers that were taken out of service, that would have otherwise been dismantled and thrown out. These units are used in our neighborhood watch program for training. The volunteer fire department brings their burn pan and supervises the training. Since not everyone, shows up regularly, we have the training sessions scattered throughout the year to be sure everyone gets a chance to use an extinguisher and is current on their use.
We found that even some of the ladies who were shy and scared of using an extinguisher at first, overcame their fear after a couple of practice sessions. Everyone that has used an extinguisher a couple of times now takes them right up and applies them in a no-nonsense manner. Perhaps familiarity does breed contempt, and in this case, that is a good thing.
The extinguishers supplied by the company are all 10 pound units, so the people are now used to the weight of a heavier unit. Having experienced a brush fire up close and personal, I was personally converted from the usual homeowner situation of a “small extinguisher under the sink” to having several larger ones at each building exit. At the time of the fire I was wishing for the largest one made by man.
On another note, we have assembled a “poor man’s” Type 6 wildland firefighting skid which slides into our farm truck’s 7 by 12 foot flatbed. It is similar to the Wranglerstar video except that our truck has a useful bed size. We use two 250 gallon IBC’s plumbed together and a gas powered water pump with a hundred feet of inch and a half hose. Our shop has two 300 gallon IBC’s with another gas powered pump and 200 feet of inch and a half hose for building protection. We get the IBC’s at a local cleaning company for $50 each, and they always have a good supply on hand. Ebay has been a good source of inexpensive but perfectly serviceable turnout gear so that if we have a fire we won’t be facing it in shorts and flip-flops. We also have two plastic backpack sprayers for mop up. They are not the good metal Indian ones you mentioned in an article a while ago; this was our cost compromise for a less-critical piece of equipment.
The next project is installing two 300 gallon IBC’s on a tower near the watering trough for the cows, where they can be filled by the solar well pump. The VFD will have easy access to this as a refill station as there are no hydrants nearby.
I was talking with the guys at a forestry fire watch tower, where they have several wildland fire engines. They have one of those off-road golf cart type 4 wheelers with a 30 gallon tank, small gas pump and hose. This was a great idea, as they can get in and put out hotspots while they are surveying or monitoring an existing fire. Many of the people around here have ATV’s, so it would be handy to have some small trailers with a tank and pump for them. It may be these efforts that take a bad situation “well we can always rebuild” and turn it into “that could have been really nasty but we handled it”. I would rather spend some time, effort, and money on protective equipment and training for my community than having to bulldoze charred timbers and warped roofing tin into a pile.