Drop and roll

INCIRLIK AB, Turkey -- Christopher arrived home with a case of beer. "He drank a quantity of beer," his wife,
Jacqueline said, "and then started smoking." His drinking binge progressed. At some state of inebriation Jacqueline observed him clumsily attempting to fill his lighter, spilling the flammable liquid on his jumper. She warned him that he was being silly, and she didn't mean amusing. He paid her little attention.

Christopher flicked his lighter experimentally, then gave in to the lure of pyromania and began trying to burn his trousers. One thing led to another and he set his fuel soaked jumper ablaze. If you should be so unfortunate as to find yourself ablaze, remember to stop, drop and roll to suffocate the flames. Christopher did not drop and roll. He flailed about and dived from the window into the street, setting fire to the curtains and a BMW parked nearby as he attempted to beat out the flames with his hands. His efforts added more oxygen to the combustion, and the flames grew higher. A neighbor mistook the blaze for a bonfire and upon realizing it was a burning man he rushed from his home and suffocated the fire by tackling the man to the ground with a wet bath towel.

So let's recap this one ... alcohol, lighter fluid, pants on fire, house on fire, car on fire, tackled by neighbor ... surely a candidate for Darwin recognition. This issue of the Tip of the Sword focuses on fire prevention.

The nightmare scenario for us is a fire in the dorms, lodging, or housing that spreads throughout the community. That is why we spend so much energy educating all our newcomers on fire prevention and use of fire extinguishers. And yet despite this education we still experience fires from unattended cooking and sheer buffoonery not unlike Christopher.

About six months ago we managed to start a fire in a tree near the security forces dorms. The apparent cause was a cigarette butt that was flicked from the dorm second floor onto the near-by tree. I am always amazed by the observation that cigarette butt cans are all over the place and right next to, instead of in them, are usually a collection of pesky cigarette butts ... not sure why it is so hard to put the butt in the can.

At the end of the day, we live together and will go up in flames together, so we all have a vested interest in fire prevention. Alcohol and fire is an unforgiving combination.

Let's be smart together and not light our pants, house, and car on fire ... if you do, remember to stop, drop and roll.