Category Archives: fire

Playing with Fire

Yes, I was playing with fire recently. The local children’s museum is a hand on rural plantation house. At one point in its history it was owned by one of the early governors of the state of Maryland – Thomas Johnson.

Antique flax hackles

Antique flax hackles

I love Rose Hill because it is hands on and still has many of the workings of the old plantation. I love the gardens and like to wander thorough them in the fall. And my local fiber guild meets there during the winter. I am some how finding myself being “volunteered” to help out there more and more. Of course knowing people who are on the board may have something to do with it.
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This past weekend was the spring family days festival and that was why I ended up there Sunday morning to spend some time spinning with my friend Leslie. Leslie is the spinning teacher at the museum and was there to demonstrate spinning. So I brought my wheel to spin with her for awhile. And what is funny is that I was the one the kids wanted to watch spinning and wanting to learn from. So I ended up teaching a ten year old boy how to spin. And he was able to spin a nice thin yarn too. His little sister needed a bit more help though.

Waiting for the chimney to get hot

Waiting for the chimney to get hot

But more interesting to me was that there was a gentleman there who preps flax for spinning. He was also planting over half an acre of flax on the far field of the plantation to use for the museum. And funny how I was looking to buy some prepped flax to try my hand at spinning flax and he was looking for spinners to spin flax. So I will be hearing from him come fall when he was fresh flax ready to spin. The spun flax will than be woven into cloth.

But I had the most fun over in the blacksmith’s shop. Yep playing with fire again is fun. Normally viewers to the blacksmith shop are kept behind a rail for safety purposes. But I was behind the rail with the camera. And of course, it turns out I kind of know the volunteer blacksmith since we know many of the same people. And I learned quite a bit about black smithing of course.

Blacksmith SHop

Unfortunately I couldn’t spend all day at the museum since I wanted to go to spin in plus I had to deliver a wheel. At spin in I was finally able to overcome the mental block on spinning locks and figured out which skein of already spun yarn was worthy of entering into competition at MDS&W. I have to spin like crazy tonight to finish the bobbin that I started Sunday of Leicester Longwool. Photos of that will be coming soon.

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Sad Day

Early this morning a Maryland State Police medivac helicopter crashed in route to a hospital carrying a victim of a car crash. The pilot, medic and a Charles County EMT were killed in the crash. The survivor was the victim in the car crash according to published reports. The MSP medivac helicopters are the only public medivacs in the county. The operating fees for the transorts are covered by state taxes and vehicle registration fees. This is the deadliest crash in MSP aviation history and the first accident in 22 years. MSP has had an aviation unit for 47 years.

Twenty two years ago, a helicopter went down i bad weather killing the pilot and the medic. As a result of that crash, changes were made and the helicopters did not transport in bad weather. They also made other changes including improving their fleet.

Trooper 2 which is the helicopter that crashed has been routinely been one of the busiest medivac units in the country over recent years. The entire fleet is currently grounded until the investigation is complete. The state police will rely on helicopters from neighboring states, Delaware and Pennsylvania, as well as US Park Service for medical transports. The Superintendent of the Maryland State Police also said the private medivac services will help fill in the gap. But the private medivac services are located in the heavily populated DC/Baltimore area. For those of us living in what is considered to be the more rural parts of the state, it will be the Park Service filling in.

Sadly, the past few years there has been a member of the state of delegates who has been arguing that the Maryland State Police should not be in the business of EMS. He has been arguing that private services should be doing this job. This particular individual has an interest in a private medivac service. Hopefully, he will not use this crash to further his case. For those who have never been transported by medivac, it will run your insurance company and you around $10,000 for the trip. In Maryland, you never see a bill for the transport by MSP. The MSP aviation division has saved thousands of lives over the years by taking a patient from the scene of an accident to the appropriate shock trauma center or burn unit or specialty hospital with in the golden hour of emergency medicine.

According to Chief Billy Goldfeder, the state legislature is in support of maintaining the MSP aviation division. here are more details on his site.

Because my brother is a Maryland State Trooper, I know more about the benefits of the MSP aviation unit than most. My brother’s job within MSP meant that he received an early morning call after the crash and he was called down to the crash site.

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Friday Night Fun

Are is jsut a small sampling of some photos that I took Friday night during a training burn for a fire fghter 1 class at the training center. Te instructor for the class always tries to hold extra burns for his fire 1 students so that they may can build the skills and confidence they need for their final burns. He always invites several of his past students to come along and play. Friday night, I think the ratio of instructors/officers/senior fire fighters to students was almost 1 to 1. Every time I go one of these burns, I enjoy myself. And I also manage to take plenty of photos during these burns. I will make a point of stating that my camera never goes into the burn building while we are actually burning. For the students who there Friday night, I am editing the photos and will make sure that there are copies available to you either by my dropping them off to your class or at a few of the stations. Remember safety first!

The small burn room was hot enough to open theshutters.

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Allergy Time

It is allergy time. Tree pollen is out in full force and my eyes are feeling the full effects of the tree pollen. I happen to be very sensitive to tree pollen and it affects my eyes. My eyes have been a little bit swollen for almost two weeks now. But we have had some rain so that helps push the tree pollen back down for a little bit. Even though I take allergy meds they only help so far. But at least the trees will be done in another week or so.
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And in the meantime, I just started a new class last night. Although I have stepped back from the fire house for a bit, I am still making sure that I keep up my certifications and get the new ones that are going to be required soon. Unfortunately the politics and the b.s. around the fire house are at a point where I don’t want to have to deal with them. There are some people around the fire house who have forgotten what our mission is supposed to be. And the system here in this county is a combination system but there are still those on the volunteer side who are not willing accept that we are really a combination system of career and volunteer fire fighters. I am not afraid to express my opinion on this issue and yes, I have offended some of the ones with more delicate sensitivities over this issue.

But I am not letting that stop me from getting the new certifications that will be required to operate as a company level officer. The new buzz word in the fire service is fire department safety officer. Technically on the fire grounds, any one can stop the activities if they see an unsafe situation. (Technically everything we do is considered unsafe by those unfamiliar with our operations.) But the reality is that we keep losing fire fighters every year due to situations that could be avoided. I am taking a class that will allow me to obtain two additional certifications and will allow me to operate as a safety officer on the fire ground. The county fire service has a safety council and everyone taking the class this time will be able to take part in it. The main reason for this is that our instructor is head safety guru for the county fire service. I have taken classes before that he has taught and worked with him before. And the best part is that his rules for class are pretty simple. The first rule is that we may not use swear words until he does. And you can be pretty sure that he will use them. (He taught my EMT class years ago.)

But while I am taking this class, I will be required to read all sorts of interesting things like NFPA regulations and federal and state statutes. I shouldn’t have any problems sleeping after reading some of these documents. But the kicker for this class is that we are doing a 30 hour class between now and the first of May in less than 10 sessions. And I should add that as usual I am the only female in the class. There are 22 students at the moment and we may get a bit bigger and I will still end up the only female in the class. Oh well, at least I have learned how the male mind works.

But in the meantime, I will try to post and for today, here are some photos of what is in bloom right now.

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National Fire Prevention Week

This week is National Fire Prevention Week. Every year, the National Fire Protection Association sets a theme for National Fire Prevention Week and this year’s theme is E.D.I.T.H. or Exit Drills in the Home. For specifics of how to plan an exit drill from your home, please visit the NFPA website.
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Instead of talking about how to plan an exit drill from your home, I want to talk about smoke alarms and fire extinguishers int he home. For those of you who have not yet read it, Scout had a little visit from the fire company last night at her house. Her son smelled something and asked what the smell was. Scout’s instincts were right to call 911 right away. Her husband’s instinct was a typical male one in that he wanted to look for the source. They were very lucky in that it was the AC unit that had shorted out. When AC units short out, they produce smoke and generally do not catch fire. (Although this is not to say that it doesn’t happen.)

Scout stated that their smoke alarms did not go off. There are many reasons why her smoke alarms did not go off. There are two types of smoke alarms on the market. The first is called an ionization smoke alarm and activate when a fast moving flame fire is detected. The second type is the more common type found in homes and it is called a photo electric alarm. A photo electric alarm will detect a smoldering smoky fire. You can buy smoke alarms that are called dual sensor smoke alarms which are a combination of the two alarms. They do cost more but they are worth the money. For a really good explanation of how both types of smoke alarms work, click on this link.

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Depending on when your house was built and the type of heating system in it, your house may have a hard wired system. A hard wired system basically means that each and every smoke alarm in your house is connected to the other one electrically. Hard wired systems also have battery backups in each alarm in case of electrical outage.

To understand how a hard wired system works, I am going to use my house as an example. I have a hard wired system in my house because I have oil heat on the first floor and a heat pump for the second floor and attic. My furnace and oil tank are located in the basement. The furnace and the oil tank are in separate rooms in the basement and each room has a steel door closing it. There is nothing stored in the oil tank room. The smoke alarm for the basement is in the furnace room but it is not located near the furnace. There is a second unit on the first floor and the there is a third unit on the second floor where I sleep. The wiring for a fourth unit is installed in the attic in case I ever finish it off since I have a huge attic. The first floor is larger than the second floor so I have a battery powered smoke alarm on the first floor as well. If something was to happen in the furnace room, all 3 of the hard wired systems will activate at the same time. And considering that I have heard the battery one go off upstairs, I know that I will hear the hard wired ones go off. (And the battery one went off because my brother was testing it.)

Scout also stated that she did not know where her fire extinguisher in her house was located. One of the many misconceptions that the general public holds is that a fire extinguisher will put out a fire. Yes, it will, but the size of most of the fire extinguishers in homes is not big enough to put out anything more than a tiny fire, if that. By having a fire extinguisher in your home, you get a break on your fire insurance and that is about all they are good for.

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As a fire fighter, I have had training in how to properly use a fire extinguisher and how to pick the right extinguisher for the job. There are techniques for using a fire extinguisher to put out a fire without spreading the fire. There are calculations for figuring how much square footage you can safely extinguish using a fire extinguisher. Fire extinguishers in public buildings and on fire apparatus are required to be inspected on a regular basis. There is nothing requiring fire extinguishers in residential structures to be inspected. Stop and think about when the last time you looked at the fire extinguisher in your house? It has been awhile hasn’t it?

There are some key things to remember about smoke alarms and fire extinguishers –

If your smoke alarm in your house is more than 10 years old, you need to replace it.

In a telephone survey in 2004, 98% of homes in the US has at least one smoke alarms. But the survey did not indicate how many of those smoke alarms were operational.

There is an average of 11 deaths every day in the US from residential fires.

The batteries in smoke alarms should not be taken out so some one can use it for playing an electronic game.

Fire extinguishers need to be replaced on a periodic basis. If your fire extinguisher is more than 5 years old, consider replacing it.

When you replace your fire extinguisher in your house, take the old one down to your local fire house. We use the contents inside the fire extinguishers to make chimney bombs. Chimney bombs are what we drop down your chimney to put out a chimney fire.

Call your local fire company and they will be more than happy to teach you to properly use a fire extinguisher. We will do this for businesses as well.

Get to know your local fire company. If you live in an area where the fire company is a volunteer company, consider becoming a member and helping out on either the operational or administrative side. If you live in an area where you have a career fire fighter system, stop by the station and see what you can do to help them. Volunteer or career, we can all use the help.

For more information about smoke alarms, please check out the National Fire Administration’s website and the National Fire Protection Association’s website. You can also check out How Stuff Works to see exactly how a smoke alarm works. To learn more about fire prevention and the history of fire prevention, check out this link.

The fire service is the only business that is actually in the business of trying to put itself out of business. We want to make things safe as we can. We like to see everyone but we would prefer it not be because of a tragedy.

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Now playing: Ohio Players – Fire
via FoxyTunes

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Healing But Busy

My hand is pretty well healed today. Which is surprising considering how it felt and looked yesterday. But just because I couldn’t knit doesn’t mean that I couldn’t work on anything last night. I was able to sew. So I worked on piecing together my doll quilt for the September Doll Quilt Challenge over on Flickr.

This one is coming together really fast. And the only fabric that I had to buy was the sashing fabric. I wanted to go with a spring look but I didn’t have the right shade of green that would work with my scraps. I bought what was needed for the pattern plus a quarter of a yard extra. The extra is to add to my green fabrics.

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I did run a fire call last night though. Right behind my house is a spot where there are quite a few accidents. And a call went out last night right before ten pm for a truck fire. So I grabbed the keys and the camera and walked around the corner. I did not touch any hose line. All I did was take the photos. So here are a two of the ones from last night.

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I also received an order for two doll quilts for Christmas so I will need to find the right fabrics for these quilts. And I am working on a quilt that may turn out to be for P‘s husband. I really don’t want him “borrowing” her quilt because he is freezing. Domestic harmony is nice.

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Now playing: AnĂșna – Greensleeves
via FoxyTunes

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Happy Happy Joy Joy

I went to the post to find a nice little package with a return address of Hawaii. The package was from no other than Joy of dynamiteknits @ circle + six. She sent me a really cute package. First of all the tissue paper is extra special because it is slipper!!! No, those are not flip flops. They are Hawaiian slippers.

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There is a nice little package of Kona coffee. The flavor is Kona Sunrise. It is a little bit too hot here right now to even think of hot drinks but it will be savored on day when it is much cooler. There is a nice little package of Macadamia Nut Shortbread from Kauai Kookie. And these babies will not be shared with anyone. I love macadamia nuts!!! In addition to the coffee, there are some tea bags from the Hawaiian Tea Company. The flavor is Passion Fruit Na Pali black tea. Lilikoi is a wonderful flavor and it is probably my all time favorite tropical taste. One taste and I think I am back in Hawaii or somewhere on a Pacific island.

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In the bottom of the box was some lychee fruit candy. Operative word being was. Another favorite flavor is lychee. And Joy included two things of her favorite chocolate pudding. I had forgotten but she hadn’t that she had said that she would give me her chocolate snack pack for help with Ravelry.

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I have finally recovered from carnival, I think. I left early the last night because the heat finally got to me. The temperatures here have been extremely high and after being stuck behind the hot steamer for a few days, I was not feeling so hot. So I left early and went home to stay in the air conditioned comfort of my house.

I did pick more blackberries Sunday morning and froze them. I also made some banana bread. It helps to read the recipe and realize that when you are doubling it, you will only end up with one loaf instead of two. But it still tasted good.

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