Day 7: Fireman’s helmet – Remaining alert to potential fire hazards

Ruthie The Fire Helmet 16 Comments

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untitled (172)We awoke in the middle of the night to the sound of barking.  Sensing something wasn’t quite right, my husband went to check on the family pug, who slept with our son just down the hall.

The sight that greeted him upon entering the room was a parent’s worst nightmare.  Flames shot up from the iguana tank, perched atop our son’s dresser. The dog barked frantically from the bed beside the sleepy 10 year old, who was just rousing himself.

Jim grabbed the flaming iguana tank, dashed down the stairs and out the front door, tossing it into the yard and dousing the fire with dirt.

Roscoe the iguana was not harmed in the making of this nightmare.

In fact, the iguana was the cause of the mayhem, because he had a bad habit of sitting on top of his lamp shade – which is what actually caught on fire, having been mashed down onto the light bulb.

The scene could have turned into a tragedy, had we not had a dog.  The fire alarm didn’t go off until Jim was already in our son’s room.

Moral of the story:  Get a dog.  It’ll bark if there’s a fire.


That one time I caught my kid on fire

Birthday parties can be fire hazards, so make sure your kid wears anti-inflammable clothing when attending.

Luckily, it was just her sleeve, but I was the one lighting the cake.

A few thoughts surrounding the safety of your family are in order at this juncture.


“I preheated the oven, not realizing the cardboard cookie box was inside.  It was not on fire.”

untitled (173)Actual text from my daughter as she prepared dinner while I was at work.

Here’s a tip:

-Don’t store things in the oven

Especially not giant cookie cake cardboard boxes.

My bad.


-Keep a fire extinguisher

And know how to use it.


-Blow out candles when leaving the house

No-brainer.  But again, I’ve done it.  (This is one of those “do-as-I-say, not-as-I-do” posts).


-Don’t burn dinner

Stay in the kitchen with your food.  Invariably the peas overflow on me, but that doesn’t count – there’s still fluid.

It’s easy to get distracted.  Which leads to the next point.


-Turn oven burners off when you’re done

Um, yeah.  Don’t talk to my husband after reading this post.  Suffice it to say he goes behind me turning things off.


-Warn your people when you’ve had a burner on.

There have been a few occasions of melted plastic plates and bread wrappers.  Keep the family aware.


-Change batteries out of fire alarms.

Usually, you’ll hear a piercing, heart-stopping beep when the batteries run down.  (Most likely in the middle of the night.)

Replace batteries in your fire alarm immediately. You could save a life. Click To Tweet

Keep batteries on hand, it’s just that important.


-Don’t leave an iron unattended atop an ironing board.

Always put the iron away when you’re done (and put the ironing board up), protect your babies and children from knocking it over.


-Don’t put forks, tin, or aluminum foil in the microwave

untitled (174)One of my children (who shall remain nameless) had a scary experience with this once while entertaining a friend and I wasn’t home.  We learned of this episode several years later.

…Or was that a hotdog she blew up?  That happened too.

Make sure you kids know the microwave rules.

And while you’re at it, explain which dishes are microwavable.  Most dishes are made that way these days, but some older types are not.

Be aware and educate your kids!


-Turn lights off when leaving

You might not think of this as a hazard, but it is.

Once, upon returning home, my husband detected a burnt smell.  He tracked down the culprit – my daughter had left her bedroom lamp on and the cord was hot and deteriorating.

God saved the house yet again.


-Don’t leave appliances running while you’re gone.

It’s hard sometimes, but it’s just safer that way.

Allow me to share my dryer story:

I was washing clothes in preparation for family vacation the next day.  My daughter’s bedroom comforter tumbled in the dryer upstairs, while the family hung out downstairs in the living area.

Dog began to bark (again), we smelled burning, and ran upstairs.  Upon opening the laundry room door, smoke billowed out – the dryer was on fire.

Poor ole gal just couldn’t handle the heavy blanket and had to be put out to pasture.


Had we not been home, we could have lost everything.

Consequently, we didn’t leave on vacation the next day because we had to go dryer shopping.


“I will always be at my station, alert and attending to my duties” ~ taken from The Firefighter’s Creed


As you can tell, we learned a lot of lessons by doing the wrong things.  At the risk of sounding like a clueless idiot trying to raise kids (which I was), I felt the need to pass on this information to you.


Because a lot of times we're not aware of potential fire hazards in our home. Click To Tweet



Put on your fireman’s awareness helmet.  Don’t leave your dryer on while you’re gone.  Or the washer, dishwasher, lights, oven, iron, or anything else that uses electricity for heat.  Blow out the candles.

You could lose your home, or more importantly, a life.


untitled (175)

Penelope, our little fire detector. She saved our son’s life twice (the second time was an asthma attack). May she rest in peace.

And by the way, Penelope the Pug never barked unless she smelled smoke or my dad came to visit.

(But granddaddy and Penelope’s love/hate relationship will have to wait for another time).

I wasn’t kidding about getting a dog, though…










Click here for Day 8: The Helmet of Salvation!


Comments 16

  1. It seems as though there is always one person who has a love/hate relationship with a pug. In our case it’s my husband. Dolche is my daughter’s dog and loves Greg but Greg is learning to tolerate him. Your writing is wonderfully fun! You have a knack for taking potential nightmare situations and making them entertaining to read. Your post reminded me of Erma Bombeck. Keep writing!

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      Yes, over here it was my husband as well. Complained about her every day of her life. She thought she was a person and that I was her mother. She even thought she was pregnant a few times and developed milk sacs. Psycho dog, but she was sweet.
      Thanks for the kind remarks, I try for an Erma-type feel! 🙂

  2. I love this! Very sound advice for sure. That pug is too cute. I am so glad everything turned out okay. I had a run in with a kitchen fire once. I had to call 911 🙁 It was bad, but not BAD. A few cosmetic things to replace. That’s it.

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      Thanks, Natalie! Oh, the pug. She had a personality all her own, and her tongue always stuck out. Crazy thing. I’m glad your fire was ok too. You keep your makeup in the kitchen? 😉 (jk.)

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      Yeah, it was pretty crazy. However, we’re the type of family that finds that kind of stuff funny after the fact. My oldest daughter’s room was at the bottom of the stairs. She remembers hearing a commotion and opening her bedroom door to see her dad tearing down the steps with a fish tank all ablaze. You can’t make this stuff up!

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  3. What a crazy story we have a sweet schnauzer and she hunted down a baby mole in my little one’s playroom yesterday morning! Yes, get a dog. 🙂 we love our Lucy. So thankful everyone and the iguana were safe what could have been dangerous situation turned out ok, all the helpful tips were awesome as well!

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  4. Ruthie! Oh my goodness!! Your stories… you have some great stories. I’m so glad they all ended happily! (I could not help but snort at the iguana story. Set its own home on fire……) These are great tips you have, too. Some not as obvious as they maybe should be. Ohh, the insights we discover as parents!

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      You know, I didn’t really realize how many stories I had until I started writing this series. Do you think people will think I’m lying? Nah. You can’t make this stuff up. (I never did like that Iguana though. Too bad he lived.)
      Thanks for coming back! 🙂

  5. I loved this post! It made me feel a lot better about my many, many parenting errors, which happen on a regular basis. 🙂

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      LOL we parents tend to forget, we are only human. Thankfully, God takes up where we leave off (and delivers us from many a peril on a regular basis!!)
      Thanks, Sara! Hang in there – we’re in the home stretch!!! WOOT WOOT!!

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