Hello hello, 69ers! I know it’s Columbus Day, but I’m not going to talk about a Genoan who stumbled upon the Bahamas one score and five centuries ago. I’m thinking something more recent like 1871 and the Great Chicago Fire, a mansion that burned last Christmas and a nightmare of mine.
It’s Fire Prevention Week in the US and Canada, and the holidays are just around the corner. I’m sorry but what do all these things have to do with one another, you ask? Good things such as half-naked firemen (and women!) come to those who wait, so bear with me. Or skip to the end of the post. 😉
On October 8, 1871, not only did Chicago burn but the most devastating forest fire in American history raged through Northeast Wisconsin. Two days later, over a million acres had gone up in smoke, thousands of homes and businesses had turned to ash, and almost 1,500 people had lost their lives. It’s hard to imagine a catastrophe of those proportions in our day and age. Those two fires did deadly damage but they also made public officials and firefighters take a closer look at the state of fire safety and the importance of fire prevention. It wasn’t enough to be there when something happened. Something more had to be done to prevent fires from happening in the first place.
The anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire quickly expanded to a week long public health and safety observance, and for almost a century fire marshals and departments across North America have used this week in October to educate and inform the public. I’ll be the first to admit that when nothing bad has ever happened, not even close, it’s easy to be lulled into a false sense of safety. And I don’t want to scare you or spread paranoia, but do you have a plan in case something catches fire in your home? Do your kids know what to do if they’re alone and they smell smoke?
Last Christmas Eve, a building burned to the ground in our area. The lady of the house wasn’t home, the gentleman made an escape from a balcony on the second floor, their dog died and a collection of historical maps and papers was lost. All that was left on Christmas morning were four charred corners where an ornate 19th century house once stood, as if a blazing ball had been dropped through the roof and that ball hadn’t been sated until it had touched everything within.
Our kids were full of questions we answered to the best of our ability. They were shocked and saddened because we had walked past the house many times and they had met the dog and its owners. Now the dog was gone, the couple had to move elsewhere, and the scenery had changed for good. I think we drilled this family’s safety measures to perfection in the days after that incident. Our kids wanted to and we saw the perfect chance to do just that, not only to restore a sense of normalcy but to make sure that if something did happen, at least they should know how to act.
Still, just last week, I had a nightmare where we were standing outside our burning home when I realize my youngest is missing and I knew, I just knew, I’d never see my child again. The sheer horror of the moment was enough to wake me up. I knew it was just a bad dream but in the state that I was, I couldn’t settle until I had made sure my baby slept tight and so did everyone else.
I don’t know where that awful dream came from. I don’t spend my days fearing everything might go up in flames. We live on ground level so escaping through a window is always an option. Which is nice since you may have as little as two minutes to get everyone out. So do you have a plan you’ve practiced? And I have nothing but the highest regard for firefighters. In the land of everyday heroes, they are pretty much the epitome, risking life and limb to save the lives, land and property of complete strangers. Not only are they in a noble profession, they are bighearted, as well.
Plus they are sexy and they know it. Oh yes. Which brings us to those holidays closing in. How about giving your friend/sister/brother/yourself a gift that’s both easy on the eyes and for a great cause? I know the Houston FD is probably bummed the idea has spread, well, like wildfire, but these other calendars are trying to do the same thing: some good. I’m all for being both naughty and nice, so sorry gentlemen, I want to introduce not just the one and only but some alternatives as well.
Most of these are already out, some are just about to launch, all should arrive by the holidays and are worth a peek. Hot damn! And if I left out a must-have, let us know in comments. So, ladies first! And a word of warning, if you happen to be at work. The Tucson teasers come with music, and half-naked ladies and gents…
Official site of the Australian Firefighters Calendar (male and female)
Official site of the New Zealand Firefighters Calendar (male and female)
Calgary Firefighters Hotstuff Calendar (notice: mobile app!)
Houston Fire Fighters (Out-takes!)
Official FDNY Calendar of Heroes (Columbus Day sale until 10/10!)
That should keep you distracted I mean occupied for a while. I’ll see you again on the 23rd. No lectures, promise, just a little ditty about a sexy ghost… Until then, stay safe, and if you can’t be good, be careful. 😉