Recently, we had a friend whose house caught on fire in the wee hours of the morning. Fortunately, she, her family and pets all got out of the house. As most folks can only imagine, it was a very traumatic experience for them.
For those who have gone through such an experience, they know the feelings of helplessness and sadness of losing their belongings, sometimes even loved ones.
It surprises me the way folks react sometimes. On some of our local internet news sites, at least one person questioned the number of resources/units that arrived to fight the fire.
Really, they did.
This particular person thought the number of units that showed up was “excessive” and wanted to bring the neighborhood into the situation.
They were complaining that “if they had a fire,” they knew that all of those units wouldn’t come to put the fire out at their house. Perhaps, the complaining person was having a bad day, because I know most folks would not find fault in the number of firefighters who come to help when they are needed. Especially when the number is more than what some people would expect.
I just don’t see complaining about a “fictitious fire” or a fire that you haven’t had and don’t want to have.
Our friend noted that their fire/smoke alarms saved their lives – she was very serious. She also begged everyone to check their alarm systems, batteries, etc. to make sure they were in working order.
When a friend’s house one street over from you burns and she asks you to check your smoke alarms – you do it. You should do it on a regular basis anyway, but like many folks, I sometimes forget.
Hearing about our friends’ fire made me think about it for a number of days, I was even dreaming about it. I was hearing the smoke alarms, I was checking them multiple times and I was paying particular attention to the things I was watching on television and reading. There seemed to be a lot of fire related stories.
It’s not Fire Prevention Month – that’s October. However, I did see a Dalmatian on a television show the other morning that did all of these tricks – some having to do with carrying a smoke alarm and testing a smoke alarm.
So, I was thinking about fires and smoke alarms and nine volt batteries to go in my smoke alarms.
Having friends and family, who are firefighters, I see and hear about fires, but rarely know of a close friend who has experienced one. It does make you think about it.
You smell smoke, you smell gas in the kitchen and you worry about the grill being too close to the house.
This went on for a few days…
I was in my college classroom teaching my students about measurement conversions. We were converting from hectometers to decimeters and millimeters to decameters – moving the decimal from left to right and right to left.
“King Henry Died Monday Drinking Chocolate Milk” was written on the board. The mnemonic gives the students a funny and memorable way to keep the prefixes straight.
As we were jumping the decimals around and converting within the metric system, I turned around and noticed that a student had a peculiar cloud of smoke coming from her head.
I thought to myself, “That girl is on fire.”
It shook me up…
Had all of the thoughts of fire gone to my head? By the expression on my face, I was asking, “What in the world is going on?”
I stammered and mumbled and started thinking about that Alicia Keys song. You know the one – “This girl is on fire, This girl is on fire, etc.”
I had to leave the classroom after realizing this particular student had the gall to be using one of those electronic smoking things right in the middle of class. Honestly, it looked like one of long stemmed cigarette holders that Cruella de Vil used in the movie, “The Hundred and One Dalmatians.”
I guess this could be considered a “fictitious fire.”
Over these last few days, I had been worrying about smoke and fire and being thankful my friends were ok. Now, I had this student in my classroom on fire – or at least smoke coming out of her head.
I’m pretty sure between my expression and my stammering and my walking out of the classroom to compose myself – this student understood that it wasn’t a good idea to be doing that in the classroom.
We live in a time when nothing is supposed to shock us anymore. Folks want to redefine “normal” and what is acceptable.
After checking the policies to see if this was against the rules, I found that there was nothing specifically against it. There was also nothing specifically against bringing your pet alligator or boa constrictor into the classroom.
I worry sometimes about the direction we are heading.
99.99 percent of my students are wonderful and courteous and respectful. Every once in a while, one gets mixed up on what is acceptable.
I’m thankful my friends are ok and for the large number of firefighters who showed up to help them.
I’m still puzzled by fictitious fires and scared of real ones.
Read more stories at www.CranksMyTractor.com.