The TallyCast

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Saving a Life

The recent tragedy and heroic rescue on Miccosukee Road (WCTV coverage of the story) reminded me how unprepared most of us are to help in an accident. Back when I was a firefighter, I always had a full set of gear in my car, including a fire extinguisher.  Car fires are very common and the combination of gasoline, rubber tires and flammable plastics mean that a car fire can move from a small flame under the hood to a fully involved fire in a matter of seconds.

A proper fire extinguisher can stop a fire quickly and potentially save a life. Knowing my background as a former volunteer firefighter, several friends have asked about what type of extinguisher should be carried in your car.  While I’m not making any recommendations about how people should behave when presented with an life threatening accident, having a fire extinguisher in your car can save a life

Dry Chemical Fire Extinguisher – These devices are scientific magic and can stop a small fire from turning into something big.  Look for the words “ABC” on the extinguisher.  This indicates the types of materials that the extinguisher will quench.  They come in sizes ranging from tiny to huge.  I’d recommend a 2 1/2 or 5 pound to keep in your car.  A 2 1/2# ABC extinguisher can be purchased for less than $30 if you shop around.

Common Sense – This may be the most important item in your tool kit.  One of the first things that firefighters and EMT’s are taught is to not make things worse by becoming victims themselves.  If you have the slightest doubt about your safety, wait for the professionals to arrive.

Don’t put yourself in danger while trying to help victims of accident.  Always err on the side of your personal safety.  Remember, the professionals are always going to be better equipped and better trained.  If you are among the first at the scene of an accident, have someone call 911 to activate the emergency response system.

You can find ABC fire extinguishers at local hardware stores or on-line.  The photo above links to the product page at Amazon for a good general purpose fire extinguisher.

Having a fire extinguisher is just the first step.  You also need to know how to use one.  This video from FEMA outlining the PASS system is a good start.

This information is presented for information only and should not be construed as advice.  The authors and publisher of this site take no responsibility for any actions of our readers.

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