How cable show swag helped save our household
or how I overdid it by using a fire extinguisher — for my first time
I should have known that acquiring our first fire extinguisher would eventually yield a funny story. Those who know me well or have the misfortune of occasionally overhearing my consumer and other foibles know that I have a knack for tumbling down strange, modern-times, first-world rabbit holes.
So when the association of smaller cable operators sent attendees of its annual convention a fire extinguisher as swag, it was the perfect opportunity to make our apartment just a little bit safer. The group is now called ACA Connects, and at the time it was the American Cable Association.
ACA sends out some of the best trinkets for each year’s main convention. But because I am a journalist, I usually decide to return them, because accepting them could in a small yet subtle way give someone the impression that my news coverage might favor them. One year, they sent the fire extinguishers as a sort of gimmick to make the point that their convention was hot hot hot. I thought it was a great idea.
As a sort of compromise and because we did not have a fire extinguisher at home, I reimbursed the group for its cost instead of sending the swag back like I usually do. I figured that at some point, it would come in handy.
I certainly wasn’t anticipating that I would use it to extinguish a fire caused by our religious candles. So in retrospect, it is particularly surprising that I decided to use it when some Hanukkah candles burning on our kitchen table during dinner tipped over two nights ago and ignited a napkin and a tissue. After all, my wife had suggested during the growing yet small conflagration that I use some water to douse it.
Like so many other things in life, I should’ve listened to her. However, I was too focused on getting my wife and son out of the house and on figuring out how to break the device’s seal to really let her admonition sink in. Instead of first trying some water to see if it would work, I went straight to the extinguisher.
As you might imagine, the extinguisher certainly did the job. I learned that night that I did not really know how to correctly aim it, so the spray had a kind of wide arc. I also found out that whatever repellent is packed in there, it is very hard to later remove from surfaces. Because it took a few sprays of the retardant to completely knock down the probably infinitesimal blaze, I ended up spraying a good bit of the stuff all over the dinner table.
So long to our yummy dinner. Although I ate a few anyway, the delicious roasted vegetables that my wife made were covered in the thick, white chalk-like substance. As was our son’s meal.
Worse, we had quite the cleanup on our hands. This stuff was everywhere and hard to get out. In addition to being all over the table and food, it was on the bench, some winter gear that I had on part of the bench, and on the floor. So we had to hustle to get everything cleaned up before we could finish our truncated meal.
It made great dinner table discussion for us to reflect on how grateful we were that the tiniest of blazes didn’t destroy any property and didn’t hurt anybody. Other than hurting my ego.
The fire safety upshot is that for the rest of the nights of Hanukkah, we are entirely clearing the table and also trying to more securely anchor the individual candleholders. I actually hope to keep this extinguisher instead of getting a new one, so I will look into how to get it recharged. This fire protection product now has a fond place in my memories.