Do not pass go, do not collect $200

Saturday, December 23, 2006

As in, do not use the elevator, do not change your shoes.

The coolest pyrotechnics are the ones in your own back yard!

About two weeks ago, the students at Tosayamada gathered in the gym for a typical meeting. They have a tendency of doing these more often then I would expect...but whatever. They were going to "practice fire safety" but because it was raining, they all sat in the gym watching a movie about it. Poor kids. That gym floor is hard and cold. But I thought nothing about it. Phsss, I'm not goin in there! I already know how to use a fire extinguisher!

At least, I know how to watch someone else use a fire extinguisher...

This past Wednesday, I was lucky enough to witness fire safety at Odochi high school.

But first, let's go over a normal fire drill and fire safety at just about every school I've been to, including UCF.

Every month, without warning, they will set off the fire alarm causing your ears to bleed. You run out of the building for the sake of saving what's left of your hearing and not so much for the sake of getting away from the fire because even though the alarm was randomly set off, you still know it's only a drill because fires don't happen in real life.

After about 10 minutes of teachers checking the rooms for whatever, they call everyone back in and the drill is done.

About once a year or so they give everyone a talk about how to use a fire extinguisher. This is the pin (point), this is the hose (point) and this is the gauge to tell you if it has enough pressure or not (point)

And that's about it.

At Odochi....things went much differently:

First, the drill only happens once a year. It is planned months in advance and all the students know it's coming. They sit waiting "patiently" at their desks after 4th period and twiddle their thumbs until 2:30 exactly.

The alarm goes off and the teachers go flying from the room except for one who stays behind waiting exactly 46 seconds (I'm so not joking) before she picks up the microphone and tells all the students what to do. They must leave the building immediately. Do not change shoes on the way out, do not use the west stairwell either as it is engulfed in flames. She then turns off the mic, and flys out the room herself with stop watch in hand to time the students.

When we got into the hallway, we saw all the teachers at specific posts along the way ushering students in the right direction to the exit. Mind you, there are only 58 students in the entire school!

Once we get outside, we waited for the students to line up according to year and gender. There were 6 rows in all and the teacher timed every single group. 2nd year boys were the worst. One of them probably went to the bathroom because he was ridiculously late!

Anyway, after that, the students listed to a speech by a local fireman. He then had all the students take water based, old time-y, fire extinguishers and try to knock down a marker about 7 feet away.

After the students pussy footed around with that, he then put them back in their lines and then showed then a typical gas tank. This tank in particular had a hose attached to it. He turned the valve on, and set the end of the hose on fire.


He sat there holding the end of the hose as flames are flying into the air and calmly shows everyone how to put it out by bending the hose so that the gas is cut off from the flames.

Alright, let's pause for a minute. This is like REAL FIRE! As in, real life, right before my eyes! For me, I started freaking out. Silently of course. I put myself on edge just waiting for something dangerous to happen. The students on the other hand, simply stopped talking while the fireman...fighter, was talking which for them is a big improvement but they seemed completely nonplussed. As in...they didn't care....

The next thing the firefighter did was take the hose off the tank, turn the valve on again, and then set it on fire. Fire was now jetting out of the tank at what I thought was an alarming rate. He then showed them how to put it out using a regular water under pressure fire extinguisher. (get behind the tank, spray the water down on the valve opening till the fire goes out. Close the valve)

He then set it on fire two more times and had a student put it out each time. The students just sat around looking bored. He would pick one and they would just look up, what me? All the while that these students are trying to avoid putting the fire out, the thing is still flaming like crazy!! (mind you, it was under control but it's still on fire!!!) If it had been me, and I was picked, I would have grabbed the fire extinguisher and put it out as fast as I could! Even if that meant doing it the wrong way because common, if I were a high schooler, I probably wouldn't have been listening either. Spray the flames sideways, try to turn off the valve while it's still flaming, throw the fire extinguisher at it, whatever. But I would have picked up the pace at least! I mean...I was freakin out!

For his final trick, the firefighter took out a big metal 3'x3' pan that he poured some gasoline in. He then set it on fire. He told the students to try and put it out as best they could. Maybe the students already knew that it wouldn't work but they just nonchalantly walked up to it with their water fire extinguishers and kinda sorta tried to put it out. It did nothing but flame up. The firefighter then handed a real fire extinguisher to a student who with the same enthusiasm finally put it out.

I was in awe.

The student...didn't care so much.

When all was said and done, the students went inside to clean the school while most of the teachers stuck around to play with fire and try to put out the flames themselves. It was was really neat actually. I'd never used a fire extinguisher before! Not even the crappy water ones!!

And that, my friends, is a fire drill.

1 shared their love:

Dan said...

Fire is always fun ^__^'

Merry Christmas Nina

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