Thursday, April 5, 2012

A lesson learned

So, the other day this happened at work. That was one of our playgrounds.
The playground, which we do use, is likely gone for good. We have 1 other and a set of metal structures, and the land is owned by the school department. It's highly likely that they won't feel the need to spend the insurance money on a new playground. It's also highly likely that we'll never find out who did it.

That's not what I want to talk about, however. I want to talk about the fact that those flames went halfway up a tall evergreen tree. They were noticed at midnight by a neighbor, who assumed someone else had called the fire department.
At about 9 am the next day, 9 hours after it was noticed, and very likely at least 10 hours after it started, he came over to our building to tell us about it.
This playground is surrounded by trees, and covered with wood chips. Those trees are surrounded by houses. It was still smoking at 8 am when I noticed it and, kids in tow, thought it was someone burning leaves.
Had it not been raining so hard and so often recently, it's likely that those trees and the surrounding houses would have gone up in flames.

I'm here to make a public service announcement. Don't ever assume that someone else called the fire department, or the police. I'm not telling you to call 911 every time you see a stalled car on the side of the road, but if you notice flames, it's probably a good idea to call the fire department. The worst that can happen is they tell you they already knew about it.

Would our playground have been saved had someone called the fire department at midnight? Maybe, but probably not. If I lived behind a burning playground, however, I'm pretty sure I'd be calling the fire department.

For the record, I'm kicking myself for not investigating, or simply looking up the hill that morning when I saw the smoke. (Unlike the neighbor, who saw flames and ignored them)

Don't assume someone's already taken care of the problem. The 911 dispatcher isn't going to yell at you if you're the 5th call they've had on a fire. But someone will be grateful if you're the first.

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