As many of you know, I'm currently enrolled in my CAM classes through our local NAA Affiliate, WMFHA. I love going to these classes because the group of people we have is so much fun, and the ideas that they throw out there are so incredibly fabulous that they just blow my mind on a daily basis. Last week, our topic was management of residential issues, and part of that discussion was talking about what events we've seen done or would like to see done. A fabulous idea was donated to the group by Essex Property Trust manager, Tiffany-Ashton Gatsby.
A fire extinguisher party!
Why do I love this idea? Well, it comes from more than just growing up as a fire fighter's kid, though I'm sure that has something to do with it. If something caught fire in our home, it was a lot like snow shoveling and window washing - My dad dealt with it. Whether this is because my mother once pulled the extinguisher off the wall...with the brackets still attached... or because he had most experience dealing with it, I'm not sure. But I never got to use the extinguisher. I knew how, but often, as my dad would remind me how to use the thing before they'd leave the house for any extended period of time (like they thought something was going to happen!) I always felt kind of let down at the end of the day when nothing caught on fire. I really wanted to get the chance to use one, just once. You have to admit, when you see people fire them off, it does look pretty fun. Or perhaps I was just a very odd child.
Like myself, many people have them in their homes and yet, should the crisis arise and the adrenaline pump, most people have never before fired one off. Granted, the instructions aren't hard. Point. Pull tab. Shoot. But in the moment, it can catch you by surprise.
Tiffany said that she always had great turn out for these events because, frankly, when your life isn't in danger, using a fire extinguisher can be kind of awesome. The local fire station was happy to send out a representative to talk to her residents about apartment fire safety, and her residents showed up because they had great motivation to come do something fun.
If you feel any hesitation about reaching out to your local fire station, don't. I'll tell you from experience, firemen LOVE this kind of thing. It's pretty much one of the more fun things they can do between bouts of saving people's lives and property. And most firemen that I've ever known, at least the ones who go out and do the speaking gigs, are incredibly personable, so they will be able to talk to and connect with your residents.
Great ways to expand on this idea:
- Ask your firefighters to bring some of their gear with them. Kids love to try on the hats, boots and jackets. This not only gives them something that is really fun, but parents think it's cute and the pictures will be amazing.
- I don't even know if they do this anymore or not, but when I was much younger, the local fire department would take all the kids on rides in the fire trucks. If they still do this in your area, think about how great it will be when your community's kids go to school and "market" to their friends, who then whine to their parents because they didn't get to ride the fire truck.
- Burn treatment tips - Please ask your firefighter to bring an EMT with them to talk about the different kinds of burns and how to treat them. People STILL think you should put butter on burns. Crazy!
- If you have a parking problem with people putting their cars in fire lanes or blocking hydrants, this is also a great chance for someone besides the management to mention something to the residents about it. The mental image of a firetruck coming down that lane, no matter what's parked there, or breaking the windows out of a car to run a hose through it so that they could reach the hydrant...it might be more a more powerful message when disguised in safety from someone who has a uniform that everyone loves.