You saved my day! I recently took your class at work and enjoyed your stories/examples and scenarios. I bought a first aid kit and fire extinguisher from you at the end of class. I know the first aid kit will come in handy, but I have a story (already) about the fire extinguisher. In 20+ years of driving, with many old cars and hours on the side of the road, I have never had an engine fire.
Well that changed last week. I was headed up to Snoqualmie Pass to go snow shoeing with my two daughters (13 and 10 years old). My car started having some issues near the top and was only running on three cylinders, losing power/speed. A little smoke started coming from under the hood, although the engine was not indicating overheating. I pulled over, tight against the snow and fortunately off the roadway (by a few inches). Also, fortunately there was a good amount of clear sight distance behind me so trucks and cars could see my vehicle well in advance. I hopped out of the car passenger side and opened the hood. Sure enough, there were actual flames low and deep toward the rear of the engine compartment. Your words ran through my head “What are you going to do, blow on it? You were right, blowing did nothing, but the new fire extinguisher in my trunk sprayed on target, deep into the engine and put the fire right out. With two kids in the car on the side of the highway with a 5-ft. snow bank pinning us in, having the fire out was an important first step. Sure, I could have tried grabbing snow, or used my daughters water bottle, but I don’t think I would have been able to really apply either to the location of the fire since it was deep in there.
I later learned it was the caulking from the body panels of the engine compartment that had caught fire due to a super-heated catalytic converter. Anyway, the fire was out immediately with spray left in the can. you made the point that a small fire becomes a big fire if you can’t effectively put it out quickly, and having something a small fire extinguisher on hand, easy to use, not bulky and banging around in your trunk is an excellent solution. Many of your example and stories allow folks to spend some time thinking about options for situations in a low stress situation, so that when a situation arises you have options and can react effectively. That little can did its job wonderfully, the best $10 ever! Three hours later the tow truck came and we made it safely back to Seattle. So thanks for the training, thanks for the recommended equipment, and keep up the good work! – Chris C.
Farley J. Kautz