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New Acronym: AYFKM -- Are You (Freakin) Kidding Me?

By Andrew Pollack on 10/04/2008 at 12:57 AM EDT

I'm just back from a fire call not long ago. A fairly typical call. An alarm sounding at a home. No source of smoke. Homeowner has no idea why the alarm is going off. The 911 dispatcher instructs him to evacuate the residence while we're on the way. We get there, and he's out front. Though he's told dispatch that he's evacuated the house, as we're checking things out we come to find out that his wife and his young daughter are ASLEEP IN BED.

AYFKM? True, this turned out to be a faulty detector. It happens. But to tell the 911 operator (and as a result get that information relayed to us in route) that the home has been evacuated when in fact your little girl and your wife are asleep in bed --- I can't even imagine what kind of thought process leads to that.

When we go in to investigate a call like this we have all our gear on -- including an airpack in case we need to put the mask on quickly. We're carrying hand tools (like a pick-headed axe and a water extinguisher) in case we need to hack our way out, and we're looking for the source of the problem. We could open a closet door and find fire. We could find carbon monoxide. There are a host of things that could happen very quickly.

Suppose the fire is in the attic? If something were to happen while we were still en route, we'd get there thinking the house was evacuated. We'd be making decisions about safe entry to extinguish based on saving property, not lives. That's a big difference in terms of the risk we'll take and the priority of different aspects of what we do.

Once again: AYFKM?

There are  - loading -  comments....

re: New Acronym: AYFKM -- Are You (Freakin) Kidding Me?By Ray Bilyk on 10/04/2008 at 07:55 AM EDT
WOW! All I can say is... WOW!

Your acronym works...
re: New Acronym: AYFKM -- Are You (Freakin) Kidding Me?By Rob McDonagh on 10/04/2008 at 02:15 PM EDT
Amazing. Astonishing. AYFKM, indeed!
re: New Acronym: AYFKM -- Are You (Freakin) Kidding Me?By Alex Wilson on 10/04/2008 at 02:44 PM EDT
Stupid people keep us employeed/volunteered! I just got back from two EMS runs
at my part time gig that were as a result of people doing stupid things or
people that were just not brought up with common sense.

Last week I ran a medical assist for a burn victim - en route we get upgraded
to a structure fire. Turns out the bright guy was burning trash in a small
depression in his yard. He decided to burn up the weeds surrounding the fire
pit so he started sprinkling gas from a 5 gallon container around the weeds.
Well, the fumes flowed down hill into the burning pit and ignited. He was
thrown back about 30 feet from the ensuing explosion. His neighbor later said
he saw the large fireball erupt into the sky along with a flaming trail headed
across the yard.

The flaming trail was the gas can as it headed towards his shed. We managed to
save most of the flaming shed (amazing what a 2 gallon PW out my truck can do
to slow it down). We later found the gas can - about the size of a hockey puck

Alex Wilson
PA EMT-B / EMT Instructor
Fire Officer I
re: New Acronym: AYFKM -- Are You (Freakin) Kidding Me?By Andrew Pollack on 10/04/2008 at 08:34 PM EDT
I've seen that kind of escalation before, where a burn call turns into a fire
call because it turns out the guy was using gasoline to start a woodpile, or
kill and ant nest, or whatever.

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