Don’t Take a Vacation from Fire Safety

As you know, we were on our mini-vacation at camp all last week. Though FireDad wasn’t with us every single day due to his work shifts, he was with us in how he helped make our cottage fire safe. See?

Fire Safety

Which leads me to ask the question: Are you ready in the event of a fire emergency on your vacation?

It’s not something people often consider. You pack the sunscreen, extra bug spray and sand toys. You make a menu to save money and a plan for rainy days (aquarium here we come!). You plan your budget carefully, leaving some extra wiggle room for cheesy shirts and squeaking sharks. You are careful to change the oil in your car, put air in the tires or, if you’re flying, check and re-check your flight reservation. Once you arrive at your rental home, condo or hotel room, you quickly toss the suitcases and make your way to the lake, the beach or the pool.

But that’s not what you should do first!

If you’re staying in a hotel:

  • First look for the evacuation route, usually posted on the back of your door. Walk the route together, making notes regarding landmarks (two doors past the elevator) as smoke will make it hard to see.
  • Make a meeting plan for outside the building so you can all find each other if you are separated upon evacuation.
  • Remind your children (and yourself) to feel the door before opening it in the event you hear the fire alarm. If it is hot, do not open your door. If it is hot, fill the tub and soak towels and sheets. Then place them at the base of the door(s) to create a seal so that smoke does not enter. Call 911 to let them know you are trapped in your room.
  • If the first happens to start in your room, exit immediately. Don’t forget to close the door behind you so as to keep the fire contained. Pull the fire alarm on your way out of the building and call 911 ASAP.

If you are staying in a rental home or a cabin/cottage:

  • Upon arrival, check to see if smoke alarms are installed on every level of the home. If not, call to ask if one can be delivered.
  • Discuss an escape route and evacuation plan if one is not posted in the home. Multi-level beach homes often have outdoor decks with staircases to use in case of an inner fire.
  • Locate fire extinguishers. In fact, it is in your best interest to have one in your vehicle at all times anyway. If a fire extinguisher is not present in your rental home, take it out of your vehicle and put it in the kitchen in an easy to reach location. (Remember to put it back in your vehicle when traveling and/or before you leave unless you want to gift the home with your extinguisher!)

If you’re camping oudoors:

  • Don’t think that you’re immune from fire safety issues, even if you aren’t specifically having a pit fire. Others around you may have fires.
  • Teach children fire safety around fire pits. Draw a line around the pit which is their “Stop” line.
  • Teach children how to stop, drop and roll. (Not blog.)
  • Keep an extinguisher in your vehicle or, if your vehicle is no where near your campsite, in your tent or gear.

The truth is that hotels, vacation homes and campsites are not immune to the tragedy of fire. Always make sure to blow out candles, properly extinguish campfires and cook carefully. Thinking of these things before you rush down to show your children the waves can help save your lives. Common sense goes a long way but preparation in this way can help prevent a fire emergency or save your life in the event one occurs.

Be safe during the rest of your summer. We’ll be leaving for the beach in mid-August. We’ll be sure to look for smoke detectors on all three levels of our swanky rental house, find the smoke detector and talk about fire before we rush down to show TheBrothers the beach. Then, of course, as check-in as at three o’clock in the afternoon, we’ll have to head back to the house to make supper. Do you know what happens when you take a child to the beach for all of ten minutes? This:

Go Back! WATER!

But that loud, screaming child is a good thing. It means that the biggest tragedy we’re dealing with is a tantrum. And not a fire.


Firefighter Apparel by Black Helmet Apparel

Camp Wrap-Up + 50 Years + BlogHer

While everyone else is writing their BlogHer wrap-up posts today, I’m going to write my camp wrap-up for 2009. I could have attended BlogHer this year… except that the reason we left camp early this year was to attend my husband’s grandparents’ 50th anniversary party. Look for a note about that at the bottom.

Obviously, we’re home. I think we’re still kind of exhausted as it is 8:16am and LittleBrother is still snoozing soundly in his bed. We’re trying to make up for lost sleep. I am, however, in a great mood despite the fact that it is Monday morning. I feel like I can conquer the world. Or, at the very least, my (very long) to-do list for the day. I feel refreshed, revived and ready to face what awaits me.

That feeling comes from eight days of technology-less-less, much reading, a lot of nature, time with God and the true joy of being with my family. Sure, we grate each others’ nerves at times but, really, it’s a joy to get to spend that much time with family. In the midst of it all, we learned that my mother received a glowing review after her four week checkup post surgery: her surgeon doesn’t even want to see her for a year. Relief washed over us all.

That’s not to say that it was all easy. There was the ER trip. It was also cold and rainy for a majority of the time, forcing us to stay inside more than either I or the boys would have preferred. Due to that, I didn’t get to spend as much time as I had hoped with my camp friends. I’m sure the ones with children understand but I can only hope and pray that those without kids yet will someday have a similar camp experience and say, “Oh! I get it now.” And then there was the six o’clock hour. I don’t know why but at six o’clock, every single day, BigBrother melted. He just melted. His normal happy personality became mean and nasty and it was a fight, every single day, to figure out how best to distract him while we were bathing, getting ready for evening service and trying to remind him that the walls were paper thin. No avail. Six o’clock was an hour we dreaded.

But those negative things aside, this may very well have been my favorite campmeeting ever. It would have been just a bit better if FireDad could have stayed with us for a longer period of time but that will be remedied next year when he accrues more vacation time on his five year anniversary date with the fire department. When I really stop to think, the good moments far outweighed the bad moments. And if I could erase all memories of the six o’clock hour, it would seem darn near perfect.

As evidenced by this collage:



I was sad when we had to leave, tearing up as usual. BigBrother put it best at one point late in the week when I talked about going home. He said, and I quote, “I want to stay here forever and ever.” He was pretty upset when we left, playing twenty (million) questions about when we were going back. When I explained that we wouldn’t be going back until he was four, he said, “So, in No-member?” (He has a November birthday.) It’s hard to explain a year to a three and a half year old.

All the same, we got home, got changed and beat feat to FireDad’s grandparents’ 50th Anniversary party. It was a lovely affair for many reasons. First off, the wait staff recognized that we had two little boys and got them food even before the lovely couple arrived. Secondly, the aforementioned lovely couple seemed genuinely happy with the party. Third, it’s just nice to see two people in love, even if they’re gruff about it (ahem, Gramps), after 50 years. I’d show you how he wiped icing on her nose but I’d like to live to celebrate my 50th anniversary someday. As such, some of the cake.


And so, while you all had great experiences at BlogHer, I’m not really jealous this year (as I have been in years past). I will always strive to put my family first, even when swag sits on the other side of the fence. We had some great memories. Perhaps there will be a lack of 50th anniversary celebrations next year and I might get to attend. Maybe, by then, I will have convinced all of my local friends (instead of just the one) to become bloggers and we’ll take a fabulous weekend away. But, until then, I’ll cherish the week I just had with various members of my family.

We are so blessed.

Fire Searches That Bring People to The Blog

I’ve done a series in the past entitled, “Sorry You Found This Place,” featuring random searches brought people to this blog. I decided to pull up some of the fire related searches and terms that bring people to Stop, Drop & Blog. There are some serious ones, some good ones and a few that bring out my sarcastic side. Let’s get going.

1. How to stop kids lighting off fireworks – Well, if they’re your children, simply walk up to them, remove the fireworks from their hands, remove the fire enabler from their hands and tell them to stop it. Now. Let them know the fireworks laws of your state, impart some fireworks safety and either call the whole thing off or supervise it by being involved so that everyone retains their fingers. If they’re not your kids and, instead, belong to your annoying neighbor, I would suggest watering down your own roof with a hose, going inside and putting on some noise cancelling headphones. You really can’t control other kids. If you have a normal neighbor, unlike we do, perhaps a discussion with the parent involved could be of benefit but, remember, just as you don’t enjoy being told what to do when it comes to parenting, neither do other parents. That said, if they are shooting fireworks off that are landing on your own roof, drought or not, feel free to call the local Police. Safety should be your concern, not the noise.

2. Do firefighters get divorced more than others? – I’ll be honest, even though I don’t really like to think about it: firefighters have one of the highest divorce rates when compared to other occupations. In fact, some estimate that the divorce rate among firefighters is as high as 75 percent. The easier, less scary way to look at the statistic is to think that just about every Fire House in America is affected by divorce. The job is intense, not just for the one running into the burning house but for the spouse and children left sitting at the table when the pager went off. Communication and realistic expectations as to what marrying a firefighter entails as well as a legitimate commitment can make all the difference. Don’t marry a firefighter just because the uniform is hot (which it is). Marry “for better or worse, for richer for poorer.” There will be lots of the latter of each phrase as well as the good parts. But don’t marry a firefighter believing that it’s all fun and games and fire trucks. Marriage is hard work, no matter the occupations involved. (Some other search strings that are related to this one include: “always alone married to a fireman,” and the more-telling, “don’t marry a firefighter.” I can’t make this stuff up, guys!)

3. Stop red food coloring from turning pink – Perhaps you think this isn’t a fire related search. It is! If you’re making fire truck shaped cookies, you’ve got to have red icing. Let me tell you, adding the normal, liquid red food coloring to a jar of pre-made white icing isn’t going to cut it. Trust me. I almost had to take hot pink fire trucks to BigBrother’s preschool. I have, however, found some tips in the months since our first almost-failed attempt at making red-iced fire truck cookies. This blog tells you a specific brand to use (AmeriColor’s Super Red Gel). And, according to my boss, that’s really the secret: gel, not your normal, everyday, liquid red food coloring. Otherwise, you will be taking hot pink fire trucks to preschool. (Cover with red glitter sprinkles if that’s the case. Takes the obviousness out of it.)

4. Virtual fire truck siren – Just visit YouTube and search for fire trucks, fire truck sirens, fire engines, fire engine sirens, sirens or any variation thereof. As I said before, it’s what we do to pass the time on rainy/stormy summer evenings when we can’t go outside after supper. It’s been a fun lifesaver (and brought about cute videos from my children.)

5. Kids’ fire helmet – Yes, we’ve got some of those. In fact, we’ve gone through a large number of those over the years. I can tell you this: opt for the hard plastic ones as opposed to the flimsy, bendable plastic ones. Why? Your kids are going to be fighting fires and simultaneously wrestling with imaginary hose and/or a parent or sibling. The hat will fall of your child’s head and someone, most likely you, will step on it. It will crack. Tears will fall and a tantrum will follow as you just broke their fire helmet, for Pete’s sake. Stepping on a hard, unbendable plastic one may or may not break your foot, however, so watch for that when fighting imaginary fires in your living room. (Also, if you’re the sorry soul who came across this blog by searching for “homemade fire helmets,” well, I’m sorry. I’m not crafty. At all. Ever.)


This search is worthy of an archived picture. Here’s BigBrother in October 2007.

Oh, Cheeks

And finally, one that made me giggle and will probably inspire a post of its own at some point:

6. What kind of women marry firefighters? – Insane ones? Gluttons for punishment? Those who don’t mind when their husband runs out of the house just as they finish a meal that they’ve been planning for weeks and preparing for hours? Okay, okay, it’s not all gloom and doom (just as it isn’t gloom and doom for the men who marry female firefighters). That said, it does take a special woman to marry a firefighter, just as The Firefighter Wife said after I wrote my post about marrying a firefighter. It’s not easy, just as any marriage has difficulty. But you won’t survive without love and commitment. In the end, it doesn’t matter what kind of woman will marry a firefighter. It matters what kind of woman will stay married to a firefighter when the wind blows the flames back into their own house. That’s what matters.

In the near future, I’ll do another installment of Sorry You Found This Place (1, 2, 3) with all sorts of different search strings that brought people to Stop, Drop & Blog. I do think, however, that I’ll continue to do this series as well as I love seeing what brings in the fire related searches as that remains a huge part of our daily life and our family.

[Note: We are at camp, likely without internet access, through July 25th. I will most likely be unable to reply to any comments or email until that time. Do not take offense. I’m not ignoring you. Just enjoying some (much needed) quiet time with my family.]