When I was in middle school, my family went to my aunt and uncle’s house for the family’s annual 4th of July bash. They lived about 90 minutes from us, so we were gone all day and into the night. When we got home, our house was filled with white smoke. My parents had started the dishwasher before we left and the heating element never turned off. Everything melted.
The fire department came. The smell of that burnt plastic is engrained in my memory. It was a night I will never forget. We were so fortunate that nothing beyond a melted dishwasher resulted.
As an adult, mother, homeowner and employee of a local hospital, I am passionate about safety. So when Kidde Fire Safety asked me along with four other bloggers to be a part of a year-long ambassador program, I eagerly agreed. It is my prayer that this series encourages you to evaluate your home’s fire and carbon monoxide safety. It is so very important.
Kidde is the world’s largest manufacturer of fire safety products, with more than 95 years experience. They also are an incredibly generous company, each year donating more than 100,000 smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, and fire extinguishers to fire departments and nonprofit organizations nationwide.
Our first experience as ambassadors was to come to Kidde’s headquarters in North Carolina to learn about the products they offer related to fire and carbon monoxide safety.
We then had the opportunity to use a variety of fire extinguishers to put out some fires in their testing area.
One of the recommendations that they made was that people invest in a small fire extinguisher just to try out – without a fire, of course. Just buy one and use it on your driveway. I had never thought of that, but it makes so much sense. Using the fire extinguisher was very unfamiliar feeling to me (though not hard to use) and after having the testing experience I know I would feel a lot more equipped if I had a small fire in my home.
It is important to note that fire extinguishers are designed for insipient fires, which are fires that are in their earlier stages. Once they get huge, you have no business fighting them.
We had the opportunity to put out three fires. The first two I was unsuccessful in extinguishing. Check out this quick, less-than-a-minute video of my first fire. Watching it afterward, it was clear to see what I was doing wrong. Maybe it will teach you something too.
I aimed at the base of the fire and kept the extinguisher moving. Sometimes a fire can actually “leap” out of the pan, so it is important to stay on the fire’s base until it is out.
Kidde makes a special kitchen extinguisher that uses a non-toxic fire suppressing agent specified for kitchen fires. It has a specially designed nozzle that minimizes the chance of oil splashing by gently dispersing the dry chemical agent in an arc instead of in a straight line, like other kitchen fire extinguishers. Furthermore, the Kidde fire extinguisher uses a non-toxic sodium bicarbonate powder that cleans up easily and is electrically nonconductive, which is important for kitchen fires.
We have since ordered extinguishers for the kitchen, the living room (because we have a fireplace) and every bedroom.
Fire safety is incredibly important and should not be pushed off for another time or an ‘it won’t happen to me philosophy.’
Related: Did you read this story in Vogue by Madonna Badger, the mother who tragically lost her children and her parents in a house fire after Christmas 2011? It’s powerful and worth the read.
Have you ever used a fire extinguisher before? Does your home have enough fire extinguishers in it?