Friday, January 15, 2010

Things we would like you to remember, when you are engulfed in flames

I've shamelessly borrowed this title from a great book by David Sedaris, but it summarises perfectly the current situation in our office re fire extinguishers and fire safety materials.

Owing to a rather enlightening lecture I once attended on fire safety procedures, I am now the happy proprietor of a not-so-small quantity of fire safety materials, including some 6 fire blankets and 2 premium quality fire extinguishers, selected for their lasting quality and multi-faceted usefulness.

It was quite a surprise to me, and to all attendees of that lecture, to be informed that not all fire extinguishers can be sprayed on the skin. Or at least, skin that is not wishing to become corroded by the fire-extinguishing material. It is generally undesirable for the owner of the skin to find that, having extinguished the flames, the fire extinguishing material should linger and proceed to dissolve the clothes and skin.

Or maybe that was just the selling line of the lecturer. The non-skin dissolving fire extinguishers were much, much more expensive than the corroders.

So anyway, our office now has a total of 4 fire extinguishers, 3 of which are allegedly corrosive (I've not actually fact-checked this) and the 4th, which sits in my office, not so corrosive although it would probably function as an efficient makeup remover. Staff have been informed that should there be a fire and should their clothes and skin be enflamed, they would do well to attend at my office for extinguishing assistance rather than to avail themselves of the 3 other extinguishers.

Of course this message to the staff would not be complete without one of the lawyers joking that, should anyone anticipate that they will be engulfed in flames, they should take the liberty of hosing themselves down with my fire extinguisher in advance. Which is exactly what the fire safety lecturer had said. Apply liberally on the skin before going out into the flames.

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