Sunday, March 9, 2008

On Fire Extinguishers

I have a fire extinguisher in the kitchen. I have another in the basement, about halfway between the washer/dryer and the furnace. A third in the garage. And I keep meaning to get around to bolting a fair size one into the trunk, along with re-building my preferred roadside "oh crap" kit (flares, basic repair tools, some spare clothes, 1st aid kit, a few other items).


It's not that I expect to spontaneously self-immolate at any given moment. It's not that I had a bad experience with heat sources as a child. It's not even that I have some weird hero/rescuer fantasy. It's not even freudian (sorry, all!).

It's simply doing what I can to reasonably hedge my bet against some of life's more common hazards in the places that they occur most often (near heat sources, in kitchens, and in/around cars) and then getting on with life having made what preparation I reasonably can against the possibility misfortune should strike.

If a fire breaks out in my kitchen, I don't expect I have time to pop over to Home Depot to pick up a good ABC fire extinguisher, and throwing water on it has a fair chance of just making it worse. A car fire seldom waits for one to go shopping, either.

Oddly enough, self-defense firearms (aka "serious social tools") strike me as tools of pretty much the same nature. If on some particularly unfortunate day some anti-social critter kicks in my door, it's unlikely that he or she will indulge my sudden acquisitive needs - and it seems similarly unlikely that the mugger or gay-basher one may encounter on the streets will go along when one cries out "pardon me, give me just a moment whilst I rush off and acquire a reasonable means of self-defense!".

In all of these cases, when the badness comes down, it's pretty much "ya got what ya brung to the party", whether it's a fire incident or a seriously bad social encounter.

In the same spirit I keep fire extinguishers strewn about, as did my father, and I carry a handgun (by preference, in a caliber beginning with .4 if discretion allows) for pretty much the same reason I keep those fire extinguishers about - I devoutly hope never to need either a handgun or a fire extinguisher at a critical level, but I recognize that if I do happen to need one at a critical level, there will absolutely not be time to be shopping around, going through a waiting period, unhooking a gun lock, or cranking open a gun safe.

I don't think folks should be criminally charged for failure to take such elementary precautions, but I would hold that they should pay higher insurance rates for their negligence rather than driving up mine.

1 comment:

Diamond Mair said...

I literally NEVER kept a fire extinguisher around {my biggest concern was/were always 'grease fires', and I know enough to use lids and/or baking soda} - but my spousal unit cured me of THAT - we now have a minimum of 2 in the house at any time ......................... ;-)