Sunday, 23 January 2011

Overreactions R Us!

From Robert Hale, via email, this amazing story of our 'better safe than sorry!' culture, after a small fire caused by a candle was extinguished at a dinner party:
It was at this point that the leader of the quartet concluded that we had failed this incendiary version of the dinner party test. To the question, "What should you do if a small fire breaks out during supper?", the correct answer, he clearly felt, was "Rush out into the street weeping, and scan the road for a Sky news crew to whom you can blub about your journey and the need for post-traumatic stress counselling". That gets you an A*.
Our answer – "Put it out, make sure any children in the vicinity are unaffected, and get straight back to the food and drink" – failed to impress the board. The chief examiner, overtly irritated by the sang-froid, and possibly by our failure to greet the team as heroic saviours, sent us out into the road, where we were promptly joined by an ambulance crew of four, who seemed to agree that all of us, the baby included, were fine.
And that, you might imagine, would have been the end of it. Perhaps it might have been had the fireman not then made a series of sarcastic remarks to our hostess, hinting broadly that, because that she preferred to let the baby sleep in a warm and smokeless room rather than rush him out into the cold night air, that she, like Sue Ellen in Dallas, was a drunk, a slut and an unfit mother. Eventually, with amazing forebearance, she restricted herself to a mild: "I think you've made your point."
To this, Red Adair's tough, no-nonsense counterstrike was to summon police back-up.
A story to bear in mind, next time the police, ambulance service or firemen are all a weepin' and a wailin' and a marchin' over the 'devastating cuts to their vital service, putting the public in danger', eh..?

13 comments:

Zaphod said...

Good post! It gave me a smile. :-)

Jiks said...

Lucky for them the SS didn't turn up to abduct the children and the RSPCA to kill the pets!

microdave said...

"What should you do if a small fire breaks out during supper?"

What if it had occurred at a BP board meeting?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2AAa0gd7ClM

Grassy Knoller said...

Elf n Safety changes, like fashions... or the wind.

Years ago, my wife and son were in a car that broke down on a motorway slip road. My wife got out with my little lad and went and sat on the grassy bank to wait for some help to arrive. A cop car pulled up and demanded that the pair sit back in the car as it was "much safer to sit in the car on the road" than leave it and sit up a grassy slope.

After several tales in the intervening time of cars that ploughed into the back of broken down vehicles, causing death and destruction, the received wisdom now is that it's better to vacate the vehicle.

No doubt the wind will change again...

Anonymous said...

Why didn't they just tell the firemen - and the rest - to go away?

ranter said...

I really would have told the lot of them to fuck off out of my house! What an absolute disgrace and a fine example of the lack of common sense and discretion that is afflicting our emergency services. Things can only get worse!

Anonymous said...

We had these fools call at our house which was allegedly "on fire" according to an insurance agent. Back door disappears as Fireman with axe hacks way into kitchen to be greeted by us sat with cups of tea. Kitchen knives at ready to deliver the "Good News" to what we thought were thugs breaking in while we called Police...
Apparantly the agent saw the steam from the Kitchen vent and decided it was smoke and we were "on fire" (no alarms going off inside, the place is covered with motion/smoke/heat detectors). Fuzz roll up stand about looking useless (no change there... GMP and I'm amazed they detected the house).
Practical upshot, insurance claim we cannot have door replaced as "Fire Brigade had legitimate reason" and we are not covered for them being spectacularly useless!
£600 for a new solid door (Victorian so not ruddy cheap) oh and new insurer because it was THEIR BLOODY AGENT who started the whole sorry tale.
TTFN :)

JuliaM said...

"Lucky for them the SS didn't turn up to abduct the children and the RSPCA to kill the pets!"

Indeed!

"What if it had occurred at a BP board meeting?"

LOL!

"No doubt the wind will change again..."

Oh, yes. Advice is only as good as the last example you choose.

"...a fine example of the lack of common sense and discretion that is afflicting our emergency services."

Not to mention the desperate desire to CYA...

"Practical upshot, insurance claim we cannot have door replaced as "Fire Brigade had legitimate reason" and we are not covered for them being spectacularly useless!"

Good god!

Chalcedon said...

I'm with Ranter on this one. The woman was far too restrained regarding the stupid advice given by the fireman.

The Twisted Fire Stopper said...

A lovely story.
Although I might call "bullshit" on the anonymous post about getting his door kicked in whilst the family were sitting down to dinner- we'd NEVER axe a door if there is no answer and no signs of fire- for the exact CYA reasons, that we get an almighty bollocking if we cause any unnecessary damage!

Anonymous said...

With respect Mr Fire Stopper,
It was MY BLOODY HOUSE! I understand youe skepticism but if you care to see the replacement door...
Your Fire Service may be better organised and competent but I regret that Manchester is not.
(Please forgive me posting a response, no insult to you or your Brigade is intended. I post anonymously for personal reasons.)
TTFN :)
PS It WAS over 10 years ago so I trust things have changed!

The Twisted Fire Stopper. said...

Anonymous said...
With respect Mr Fire Stopper,
It was MY BLOODY HOUSE! I understand youe skepticism but if you care to see the replacement door...
Your Fire Service may be better organised and competent but I regret that Manchester is not.
(Please forgive me posting a response, no insult to you or your Brigade is intended. I post anonymously for personal reasons.)
TTFN :)
PS It WAS over 10 years ago so I trust things have changed!

24 January 2011 21:31

No offence taken... I just can't ever envisage my gang breaking a door for no reason.... likewise the Dinner Party story. We rock up to gigs like this regularly. We knock on the door, we have a laugh and a joke with the householder, offer some advice, maybe fit some smoke detectors if they need them, and then foxtrot oscar, no drama.

JuliaM said...

"We rock up to gigs like this regularly. We knock on the door, we have a laugh and a joke with the householder, offer some advice, maybe fit some smoke detectors if they need them, and then foxtrot oscar, no drama."

And that's what everyone would expect to happen.

So, it's a mystery as to what went so wrong here, and why...