fire extinguisher dishcharges

last updated: 2024-05-16

i recently got to discharge a fire extinguisher for the first time in my life the other day, so i figured i would keep a log.

let’s hope this log doesn’t grow.


so here i was, evangelizing the awesome hobby of ham radio at an event for scouting america. we were outside, enjoying the great weather, and our line of tables included, the national park service, me, a local rock climbing gym, the local speleological society, and a scout troop doing a dutch oven cooking demonstration.

that’s key here.

they were using real coals to cook that evening.

at the end of the night, we’re all packing up our stuff and the scout leader takes his hot coals and dumps them in the brush behind us. at the same time, he tells his kid, “hey, go get a bucket of water, these are hotter than i thought.” at this point, it was fairly dark as the sun had set, and i could see the glowing embers.

but since it appeared he recognized the error of his ways and sent for water (and these are scouts after all!!), i assumed they would take care of it. i take my first trip to the car and i’m gone a few minutes.

by the time i got back… fire.

about 3 feet tall and just as wide, a circle of burning brush, and spreading, flames were flickering away. the scout that was sent for water was sitting in a chair not 10 feet away and completely oblivious to the fact that something was on fire and the leader had left to go get his truck so they could pack up more easily.

as i was turning around to find a fire extinguisher inside the building, a regional scout leader also noticed and was making his way in behind me. i entered the room and, probably inappropriately cheerily, asked loudly, “so where’s the closest fire extinguisher?”. no one knew off the top of their head, but i scanned the room quickly, didn’t see one, and moved down the hallway where there was one hanging on the wall.

i grabbed it and walked back outside. remember, stay calm in an emergency. if you start running or freaking out, you will probably make it worse.

pulling the pin was surprisingly more difficult that i expected, but i got it out by the time i got to the fire. we put out the flames, but of course, a fire extinguisher is not enough to take the heat out of the area. someone actually brought a bucket of water this time, but they should have brought more in my opinion.

i had done my part and let them take care of the rest. i didn’t see it on the news.

i kept the extinguisher pin.