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Regarding Fire Extinguishers by Ray Printer Friendly

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We recently had our fire extinguishers checked at my work place. The managers all brought the extinguishers from their stores, and the fire extinguisher checking guy did his thing.

That was on Monday. The fire extinguishers from my warehouse are still sitting out in the office, kind of piled in a corner. I think there are four of them. Maybe five.

I zoned out this morning, just staring at the pile, thinking about how useless those things are. Don’t get me wrong—I’m not anti-fire extinguisher or anything. In a home or whatever, I’m sure they’re very necessary, and good stuff to have around.

But to have them in my warehouse is pointless. Let me tell you a little something about the warehouse in which I work: it’s a deathtrap. I mean, it’s filled with concentrated chlorine, powdered chlorine, muriatic acid, and tons of different chemicals for pools and spas. Literally, man—tons. All of this crap is contained in the cheapest packaging my bosses could find, and it’s all stacked side by side—pallets of shit that if mixed will either ignite, create poisonous gas, explode, or all of the above.

This stuff, you spill it on your shirt, fifteen seconds later, your shirt is a new color. Two minutes later, holes have burned through. I spilled some on the concrete once, by the end of the day, there was a new hole in my warehouse floor, and that was after I had cleaned the shit up.

The thing is, I don’t even have an eyewash station. Even Circuit City had an eyewash station. You know why? Because if you get shit in your eye, you need to get it out!

I see warning signs sometimes, they say things like, “If spilled on skin, rinse with hot water for fifteen minutes.” My bosses, because they’re helluva guys, they didn’t think a hot water heater was important. You can turn the hot water tap, and water comes out, but it’s the exact same temperature as the cold water tap.

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There are no protective OSHA-standard railings around anything. If you’re dumb enough to fall, you fall. Simple as that. Watch the hell out, you know? The stairs that lead to the upper-floor section of the warehouse, they’re homemade, and most of the nails are falling out. I work with an old guy, he routinely trips over extruding nails and performs various versions of the faceplant.

“You need to fix this!” He’ll cry out, after he has gathered his bearings, in a vain attempt to salvage some of his dignity. Sometimes I do, but if I’m in a rotten mood, I’ll just stand there and wait until he tries to work his way down the stairs. Call me mean-spirited, but watching old men nose dive is hilarious, in my opinion. Besides, the guy’s an asshole. This is what he left in the break room one day:

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Yeah, that says, “STD,” on it. No, I don’t know why. I don’t want to know why. I just don’t touch shit in the break room.

Everything inside my warehouse is covered with a layer of rust, because chlorine causes metal corrosion like you wouldn’t believe…and all the supporting beams are metal. Seriously, if you bring a cup of coffee to work, you better have a lid, because you’ll pick it up to take a drink, there are flakes of ceiling in your java.

But none of that is regarding fire extinguishers.

One of my bosses came out last week, he told me to round up all the fire extinguishers and put them in the office so that they could be recharged on Monday. You know how long it took me to track them down? Eight minutes. I found one, it didn’t get charged last year because last year, I couldn’t find the damn thing.

Regarding fire extinguishers: screw ‘em.

If there’s a fire, I’m gone. First of all, it will take me longer to find the damn things than it will take for me to run out the door screaming, “Fire, motherfuckers, ya’ll better run!”

Second of all, the entire building is filled with shit that loves to burn. I’m not going to stand there and try to battle an explosion with two pounds of compressed whatever in hopes of saving the day. If I happen to pass by a fire extinguisher as I escape, I might grab it. You know: in case somebody tries to stop me from running away, I’ll have something to club them with. And to have something at home to contain the occasional grease fire I start when I get overzealous with the bacon.

I’m not a fireman. I don’t give a shit if my workplace burns down. I care about keeping my fat ass from being singed, and I care about getting far enough away to get some good pictures of the explosion without losing my eyebrows. If it’s before lunch, I’ll care a little about the sandwich I lost.

What I don’t care about is my lousy, worker-deadly work environment built from recycled wood and cheapness. What I don’t care about is fire extinguishers.


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Sorry about the crap pictures. I took them with my camera phone.



posted 7/29/07


Comments:
Entered By Leslie From Texas
2007-07-30 14:36:01

Oh yeah, I definitely see an Employee of the Month title coming up in your near future -- good luck and stay safe (or at least try to.)


Entered By Ray From Austin
2007-07-31 00:53:17

I'm constantly telling those bastards I should be Employee of the Month. I say it just like that, too: "Hey, you bastards, I should be Employee of the Month."



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