Fire! Fire! Fire! What Would You Do?

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Ray D

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Fire! Fire! Fire! What Would You Do?

There is another thread going, ?WalMart Crime,? and this memory has been nagging me, as that thread continued. In common, it?s a night time emergency, and a mistake can cost dearly. I didn?t add it to that thread, out of concern that it might kill that thread, off topic. This is a personal security issue, so I am back here, without messing up the WalMart crime thread.

We?ve had a pretty free wheeling discussion in that thread, about bad guys, and the challenges they might present. We explored that a lot, and fairly deeply. Hopefully, we have learned something. Did we all become Boy Scouts - ?Be Prepared?? Let?s test it.

Have you ever thought about fire? What would you do? Do you have a ?Fire? plan? Bad Guys can come in the middle of he night - and RVs can catch fire just like stick houses. I will relate a real event, from 1991, and stop midway through for advice. (A luxury I didn?t have, that night!) I know how it turned out, of course. But, I made some mistakes. Use what we have learned. Help me out.



I was awakened at about 3:00 AM, that morning, to someone banging, very loudly, on the door, shouting ?Your house is on fire! Get out! Get out! Fire! Fire! Fire! - - - -.?  He continued without let up. There are no smoke alarms going off, no odor of burning. Maybe, I have some time!

It took seconds to wake up. My house was on fire! My terminally ill wife, is bedridden in the room next to me! She is hooked up to two IV systems on a metal ?tree.?. I need time! I could just cut the lines and get her out of there, through the window. The house is a tri-level, about a ten foot drop. She will have minor to serious injuries from the drop. There are medical issues with ?cutting the lines.?

I would need to have her in a hospital pretty quickly, after that. Or, if I had time - I could do a ?Hep Lock.? take the needles out of the ports, cap them, and she?d be good for a couple of hours. I figure I could do that in two or three minutes, in a fire. (Five to ten minutes, otherwise.) How much time do I have? Fire can move very rapidly!

If I have time, and can remove the lines carefully, I can help her onto her scooter and she can drive out. The ramp is by the garage! If the fire is in the garage, I am in a hurry! Our scooter exit may be cut off, pretty quickly! Hurry!

I look out the bedroom window, on the west side. No fire evident, there. I could see one person dressed similar to the problematic druggies, across the street. He?s yelling ?Fire!? Hey, he?s human, at least he?s trying to help! I don?t, actually, recognize him.

Most likely, he saw the fire from the street, on the south side. Most likely, it?s in the garage - maybe the lawnmower, or the 5 gallon gas can sitting next to it. Maybe it?s the acetone, or the paint thinner, up on the shelf! If it?s there, I won?t be able to see it from inside the house.

I run to my wife?s room to look out the east and north windows. No fire east or north! Probably the garage, on the south. I hear her say ?Yes ma?am! Our house is on fire. We live at - - - -.?  She?s talking to 911. - - - - Good! I make my run to see what I can see, on the south side. I have to go out the front, west side door, to look at the south side, the garage.

I hear sirens! Several of them, actually. They are distant. Three or four minutes, at least. I may not have three or four minutes left.

As I run down the hall, a hint - just a smidgeon of - well - suspicion - paranoia - - - just a little. Enough that as I pass the hall closet, I pause, reach in and pull a .357 Magnum from the holster. Pausing only a second and feeling a bit guilty at that, I continue my dash toward the front door, big gun in hand! Believe it! I felt guilty hauling out into the yard - to look for fire - with a gun in my hand! Did I waste a second on Paranoia, in a fire? !!!

I?ll stop, here - - -. Help me out! I?ve been awake less than a minute. I have a million things to do, and no time to get them done! I may have made a mistake! Have I missed an important detail? (I?ll answer questions, if there are any.)

I may be doing something wrong. How fast does a fire spread? Do I need to change anything I?m doing? What should I be doing?

WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
 

JerArdra

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RayD,

Interesting FIRE scenario you present.  Because your wife was already talking to the 911 operator I would quickly tell her my plan and then do the following.

Recheck for fire from within the house and basement (turn off electrical power).

Enter garage from the house with a gun but open the door and throw a pillow into the garage to draw gun fire if there is any.  Then look for fire.

If no fire the only other place might be the attic.  If that cannot be checked "easily" from within only then go outside again with your gun and throw pillow first.  Because you saw a person out front I'll go out the back and lock the door to further protect my wife.

Ray, this entire scenario unfolded in my mind WHILE reading your fire scenario.  It was not planned out after reading your scenario so it's an instant thing.

JerryF
 

Ray D

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Jerry:

Thanks for saving my bacon! It was almost fried, with my "What Would You Do" post, and I was feeling kinda lonesome.

It was a ruse, and I stepped right into it. (No inside garage door, by the way) I barely got outside, when he rushed me. I was only barely aware of that possibility, and didn't have enough safety margin. We, both, went inside. I was unable to keep him out. I was, as rkwfxd mentioned, surprised at the difficulty of using a firearm in close quarters - physical contact - in this case. I did overpower him, largely because he was high on meth and alcohol, and clumsy in the extreme. He was moderately injured in the melee. Cops came and tied up the loose ends.

The world isn't fair. It ought to be against the law, to yell "Fire," to lure someone into trouble, when they ordinarily would not respond in that manner!

The thug, in this case, later murdered several people before being caught in SLC, Utah. He, himself, was murdered, in prison.

Ray D
 

Ray D

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Sometimes, something that seems obvious, when I write it, is not so obvious when I read what I wrote.

The point of the above scenario, relates to the Walmart Crime thread, where several of us stated that we would not have opened the door, even if the person claimed to be Walmart Security. So, what if he yelled "Fire!" ? Would I open the door, then? Think about it.

A rock and a hard place come to mind?

Ray D.
 

Karl

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Ray D.

I'm not sure what the point was of presenting your original scenario, and am even more perplexed with your most recent question. What has either one have to do with the rv lifestyle? If you're doing research of human response for a novel, that's one thing. But to present a detailed hypothetical situation merely to get responses, seems counterproductive. To merely ask a question without providing one (or any number of) solutions, doesn't benefit anyone. How about a "This is what I would do" in a particular situation? With your law enforcement background, you could be a valuable source of knowledge :)
 

woodartist

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Wow...................I for one enjoyed the scenario, Ray. Others may have missed the point, although I think it is valid and does pertain to Rving. Beware of the minions ;D
 

Ray D

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Sorry, Karl. That was the best I could do.

And, you're right, again. Has nothing to do with the R.V lifestyle. However, neither does the Walmart Crime event, in that sense. The R.V. in that incident was coincidence, and nothing more. Security in an R.V. is not really different from security in any other lifestyle. That really is the point.

Provide solutions? In this case, I don't have any. I did it wrong, that night, and got lucky. I don't know what I would do different, today, under the same circumstances, and that is a shame. Not only that, but that is not the only mistake I have made in my life, and not the only personal security mistake. I have made a couple of blunders in my volunteer work, putting myself in danger unnesesarily, and needing rescue. Very embarrassing! I don't have all the answers.? It is a case by case sort of thing, and each has to live with his or her decision, in the end.

You also have more than a little bit of experience and expertise in this area. I have thought you might be Law Enforcement, yourself. The question is "What will get you out of your secure area?"? R.V. or other, would someone yelling "Fire" do it?? Did it for me!

Ray D
 

Ray D

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Woodartist:

Wish I knew of a better way to do this, but I don't. I appreciate your support, and I mean that very sincerely. I don't really feel that I am in trouble, here, at least not yet.

I also appreciate your frequent contributions on many threads, and many subjects. I hope you stick around. You are a good guy.

Obviously, you are offended by something, official. I see your new picture under your name and I see the "no freedom of speech, here" comment. You are right, in that, but I hope that picture and comment, changes. We are on private property, here, not a public Constitutional forum. The First Ammendment does not apply on private property. So while I don't know what the beef is, I hope it subsides.

My only disagreement with Karl has been a technical issue, where we agreed to disagree. I may have been a bit more abrupt in the disagreement than I should have been. But, I thought of it as a difference of opinions between people qualified to have opinions, and differences. His crituque of my scenario was a bit bitter to swallow, but I will be just fine. Gosh, I hope that is the last time anyone gives me a harsh critique!  ;D  Probably won't be the last time.  :(

Worse, yet, I have rethought the birdshot issue, and have come to agree, more closely, with him. I suppose I will, at some point, have to eat a little crow. Life is like that.

Woodartist, have a good stiff drink and get some sleep. That's what I'm going to do. Hope to see you here, for a long time to come.

Ray D
 

woodartist

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Thanks Ray. Thought of you this morning ( early) when an episode of "cops" was one. I don't watch a lot of TV and keep it on for background noise. Anyway, A poilice man beat on a woman's door yelling "your house is on fire!!" Kept yelling and after a bit got her out of the house. It was not her house that was on fire, but the one next door:) Soooo, what if a cop pounded on the door yelling fire...do you come out ;D

Oh, I'll PM you about the other stuff.
 

Ray D

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I saw that episode, but not last night. I felt so sorry for the cop. He busted out her window, too! He really tried to do the right thing and it all turned to doo-doo!

That happens. Cops make mistakes, just like real people! The world is not perfect. As I mentioned, I've done a few blunders in the last 9 years, while in uniform. Super embarrassing. Not so bad, in plain clothes. I look like an old man who just didn't get it right. Nobody knows I am supposed to know what I'm doing. By the way, I am not an officer. I am a volunteer who has a really good time, most of the time. Love my work. Getting paid would detract from the pleasure, and I don't need the money.

Ray D
 

Tom

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Ray,

I broke this out from the Personal security in your RV discussion into its own topic. I don't normally participate in the "guns against bad guys" discussions as I have little or nothing to contribute. OTOH a ruse like you described in our stick home would certainly be a scary scenario.

Unlike an RV, it would be tough to get a situation assessment of all rooms in the house and the garage in a short time, especially knowing that this might be using up the small amount of time available to get out to "safety". I can't begin to imagine the added complexity of having an incapacitated spouse in bed.

One thing that came to mind re-reading your scenario was the fact that, unlike our previous house, this one doesn't have automatic fire sprinklers. The building code in the other town was such that a fire breaking out in the garage would likely get heavily dowsed with water before it could spread to the rest of the house.

Fire is something that I'm paranoid about and especially so in a stick house. If/when my wife lights any candles in the house, I go around behind her putting them out. So I can easily imagine leaving the house in a hurry at the cry of "fire!".

We had one scary moment when a gas BBQ errupted in flames on our then-wooden deck because of a leak on the high pressure side of the regulator. My first thought was for two of us to pick up the whole thing and toss it clear of the deck, but then I remembered that the tank wasn't secured and would likely roll around the deck. In the space of a second or two I imagined a scenario where our deck caught on fire, spreading to the house and to our neighbor's houses. I recall being very afraid of the outcome and panic setting in very quickly. Fortunately, I quickly realized that I just needed to put out the fuel at its source. My arm was blistered for several months afterwards, but a potential disaster was averted and calm restored.
 

John From Detroit

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The issue of a fire in an RV was one of the seminars I attended at the G.L.A.S.S. rally,  and I will tell you the news is not encouraging.

1st: If, and I stress IF you catch it very quickly, and you have the right tools there is a chance of saving your bacon (I'm refering to not only your personal bacon but the bacon you planned on having for breakfast) however RV's tend to be made from products that 1: Burn quickly and 2: Burn deadly (That is you don't want to be breathing the smoke at all, it is TOXIC, much worse that, say, wood smoke, even worse than Tobacco (See www.thetruth.com ads)

I use have the standard toy powder extinguisher most RV manafacturers put in the rig (make sure to shake it up from time to time) I have a much larger powder one in the towed (Currently) which may well move to the rig once I create mounting for it, I have a pair of Foam extinguishers from http://www.allfiretraining.com/extinguishers.htm in the rig and a 3rd in the towed.  These I've seen demonstrated, very impressive bottles  (I have seen foam at work b efore)

If the fire is a pan on the stove,,, And you are trained or expierenced,  Likely no damge

Electrical under the dash and you hit it with foam before it gets out of hand... Likewise

Once the carpeting, curtains, walls, dash or seats start burning CLOSE ANY CONNECTING DOORS to help keep the fumes down and get out, use the emergency exit, put the bedspread over the window and lower the spouse out, then get out, don't waste time turning around, DIVE DIVE DIVE if you have to, you have less than a minute to get out of there before you are poisoned by the smoke

Per the presenter at the rally
 

Ray D

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Tom, you said, ?I don't normally participate in the "guns against bad guys" discussions as I have little or nothing to contribute.?

You look to be almost as old as me, so even with little firearms knowledge, you seem to have done just fine, anyway. Too often, some folks think the firearm is the only answer, and the answer to all problems. It isn?t.

Note that in the event, above, I picked up a firearm and it actually got in the way. That was a mistake, a bad one. I either should have gone without it, the ?fire? being the immediate threat, or, I should have kept it firmly in my mind, taking on two emergency jobs, both potentially lethal. I did neither. Everyone who knows me, knows about this event. I have gotten a lot of criticism but no one has ever had a solution, I like, so far.

It was a milestone, life changing event. I quit being a hunter/sportsman and began tooling up and training up, to modern techniques and ?tools,? for the dark side of life. Had a lot of gratuitous help, and payed attention!

The tactically correct solution, under the circumstances as they were, was to shoot, when he began his rush. I had all but forgotten about the gun, at that point. The shoot - no shoot - rules had been satisfied. I just wasn?t on that frequency. The opportunity went away, quite quickly.

The gun was not used. It was in the way! I got that critique, that night, by the Watch Commander, in charge of the responding police. The 911 call started as a fire, reported over the air. Fire began a response and two police cruisers were dispatched, one code two, one code three.

Then, it suddenly changed to an intruder emergency. (My wife was still talking to dispatch.) At that point, additional units were dispatched, all code three. It was all on the tape. He, years later, became my supervisor, mentor, as a volunteer. (Actually, I was drafted!) Great cop!

So, how good is the correct solution? This case worked out, because I got lucky. I don?t have the correct answer to how it should have been done, absent the firearm. Maybe someone else does. Food for thought, anyway.

In your R.V. DP, are you sure you would be able to determine that there was or was not a fire? Can you see the engine compartment, from inside? How about a leak in the propane lines, in the basement? If my bedroom slide is out, I can?t see that compartment from inside. I can see the gas tank area and the electrical bay, if the living room slide is out. Otherwise, I Can?t. I suppose I could open the windshield curtains, and look in the mirrors, to check the sides.

Ray D
 

woodartist

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Well, I knew a fellow who had his house on fire and it did a lot of damage. He emptied a few fire extinguishers and they couldn't put the fire out. He siad that his new solution was to keep a hundred foot garden hose connected to an outlet in the basement. He swore that if he had that setup, he could have put the fire out. Yes, there are a few draw backs but I think it was an excellent idea.

We put one of those large "peep holes" like you see in motel doors, on our RV door. Gives excellent access to see who is there. Next step is some night vision stuff. Paranoid is the new "normal."  ;)
 

Tom

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Ray D said:
.... so even with little firearms knowledge, you seem to have done just fine, anyway.

Not entirely without firearms knowledge, but not enough to hold an intelligent conversation. We don't carry any type of firearm in the RV, a conscious decision.

In your R.V. DP, are you sure you would be able to determine that there was or was not a fire? Can you see the engine compartment, from inside? How about a leak in the propane lines, in the basement?

Probably not, but my prior comment was meant to refer to the living areas of the RV and comparing it with the multiple rooms in the house, although I included the garage as well. I can quickly look through the coach and see most if not all of the living areas, but not so with the house. Your point about lack of visibility of basement areas is noted.
 

Wendy

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I'm late on this and it's probably the wrong (but honest) answer but if I woke up in the night hearing someone yelling "Fire, fire, fire, your RV's on fire," I think my initial reaction would be to punch Mike, grab the dog and jump out the window. Probably not the right answer but at 2 am, it's probably what I'd do. (No comments from those of you trying to picture me grabbing the 95-pound dog and jumping out a window :)
 

JIGGS

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I will throw my two cents in. I have gone threw a fire in my motor home and my house. The househad the chimney crack and started the attic on fire. My neighbor came running in and said the house is on fire and I said whose house. Even though flames were shooting outside. I had no idea there was a fire no smoke down stairs or up stairs. In the motor home we were driving down the road when there was a very slight smell. I pulled over and just came to a stop when a person behind me said there was flames coming out the roof. The mh was a class c 27' so i could easily see the entire living space. That fire started behind the refrigerator.

I am a trained fireman and officer for a fire department. In both cases I have had fire showing outside before I found out there was a fire. So don't think just because you don't see a problem mean all is fine. In both cases i was able to put out the fire or stall it for the fire dept. Be very careful if you try to pit a fire like these out with a garden hose. These is the way I used in both cases. But your average joe doesn't realize when he or her is getting in trouble. Remember fire doesn't kill smoke does. just to let you know there are 72 hazardous chemicals in your carpet a lone. So please be careful

 

woodartist

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Jogged my memory and we had a chimney fire at one time. Fire coming out the top and called the FD. Oh, woodstove as heat source. The FD told us to get some "sticks" (forget what they were called) to toss in the stove if it occured again. I understand the limitations of a garden hose but with the right application it is a great idea........I think.
 
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