Tuesday, December 16, 2008


"Howard County resident Milt Nelson of Clarksville unsuccessfully tries to extinguish a fire as other residents watch from a safe distance during the free Citizens Emergency Readiness Training at the James N. Robey Public Safety Training Center in Marriottsville, Saturday afternoon. Nelson did eventually put out the fire."

First off, before I even start pounding my fingers rhythmically into the keyboard, extinguish is one of those words that for the life of me I can never spell on the first try.

It's been put on the list with: definitely (which I always a "v"), among (which I always want to add a "u") and let's not for get supercalifristic expialidocious. OK, I kid.

This assignment read action all over it. Average joes. Firemen. And fire. A perfect mix of inexperience, experience and danger.

The idea of this assignment was that residents would get to practice putting out fires and other personal preparedness skills during a free Citizens Emergency Readiness Training hosted by Howard County Fire and Rescue.

Basically, professional firefighters teaching civilians correct fire extinguisher techniques, proper generator use and safety techniques.

However, weather was going to be a huge factor as I was told by the desk as inclement weather was expected to be in the region over the weekend. They were right, rain passed through the area, and although heavy at times, there was also not a drop at other times.

When I arrived I didn't see anything going on. I was upset that it was probably canceled. Fear not, it wasn't; there was just wasn't even a quarter of those who had signed up there.

It was what it was, I was just happy when I arrived that they were about to begin putting out fires while the rain was stopped.

They ignited a large metal box on the ground and let each resident attack it with the fire extinguisher.

It was fairly exciting as the participants ranged from about 30 to 80. Not to mention, in my life time I've never seen a extinguisher discharged, let alone on a fire.

Well, I found out quickly when I was dusted in the white chemicals when I stood in front of the fire and extinguisher what they were all about. Let's just say it was very difficult scrubbing it off of my coat and camera.

I think the firefighters got a kick out of me being covered in the chemicals. They probably saw it coming from a mile away, too.

Nonetheless, I went right back in for the close up shot and got covered again. This time I just kept my eyes and mouth shut and covered my camera.

Following the firefighting, the rain came pouring down and we were then ushered inside to learn some more safety. I sadly knew my action would then be over.

The inside portion was fairly uninteresting photographically, yet interesting audibly. So I made some frames and then decided to hang around when they veered off topic and starting talking about their brand new fire engines.

Learned a lot, but didn't make many frames inside. Alas, I did like this frame of this old man totally missing the flames. He was inspiring to say the least.


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