What do you know about fire safety? Although it may seem like common knowledge, there are a lot of things you probably don’t know but should become familiar with to prevent a fire from happening and how to act if a fire breaks out in your household.

Tacoma FD, a new show that premiered on TruTV on Thursday March 28th about firefighters in Tacoma, Washington. Due to the climate and the frequent rain, they find themselves regularly without any fires to put out, so they keep themselves busy in all sorts of hilarious ways.

The half-hour comedy stars Kevin Heffernan and Steve Lemme who play Tacoma firefighters. To celebrate the show’s premiere, Rolling Stone interviewed the actors and had them take an 11-question fire safety to test. Heffernan and Lemme had fun with the test and ended up with 8 out of 11 questions right.

Although the quiz they took was a ruse, it makes a good point as to the importance of knowing basic fire safety rules and how it can save your life.

  1. To operate the fire extinguisher, the acronym P.A.S.S. is often used to help us remember to Pull, Aim, Squeeze and _______?

Heffernan and Lemme guessed it was “shoot”, but that is incorrect.

According to OSHA, most fire extinguishers operate using the following P.A.S.S. technique:

  • PULL. Pull the pin to break the tamper seal.
  • AIM. Aim, pointing the hose toward the base of the fire rather than the top.
  • SQUEEZE. Squeeze the handle to spray the extinguishing foam.
  • SWEEP. Sweep, starting at the base of the fire and moving from side to side until the fire goes out


2. What do you do when your clothes catch on fire?

a. Run quickly such as the wind helps to put out the fire.
b. Scream for help.
c. Stop where you are, drop to the floor and cool off with water after the fire is out.
d. Grab a fire extinguisher and spray it on your clothes.

You may have heard this one before. If your clothing catches fire:

  • STOP. Running around in a panic will feed the flames and make the fire even worse.
  • DROP. Get down on the floor immediately. Standing up will cause the fore to rise and possibly burn your face.
  • ROLL. Move around slowly on the ground. Rolling suppresses the flames on your clothing.
  • Keep a fire blanket in your home. It can be used to throw on someone who has caught on fire and put out the flames. Most people don’t know there is a fourth step and that is “cool”.
  • COOL. Once the flames have gone out, cooling down with water should be done to prevent first and second degree burns from getting worse.

3. How to put out a fire:

a. Cooling
b. Starvation
c. Smothering
d. All the above

This is surprisingly complex question. The method you use to put out a fire depends entirely on the type of fire that it is. Electrical fire needs to be treated differently than a gas fire. For an electrical fire, you need a multipurpose extinguisher or can smother the flames with a blanket. It is important to note that cooling doesn’t work on all fires because water is not effective on a gas fire.

4. When a fire is too large to fight, on your way out of the building you should:

  1. Run for your life
  2. Make sure your coworkers also leave and close the doors behind you as you leave
  3. Open the window to allow smoke to leave the building
  4. Press the fire alarm and call the fire department

In the event of a fire in your home or workplace, you need to act immediately. Stay calm and find the nearest exit. If the alarm is not already sounding, pull the fire alarm on your way out of the building. Always use the stairs in case of a fire and never the elevators.

If there is smoke, crawl and stay low to the ground. Smoke rises and can enter your lungs very quickly causing you to pass out.

Alert everyone to the fire by shouting. Before exiting, check to see if the door handle is hot. If so, there may be a fire on the other side, so open the door slowly or find another exit.

Heffernan mentioned in the video that he learned to keep doors open during a fire after he watched the 1991 movie Backdraft. However, this statement is not true. Firefighters recommend closing the doors as you leave to trap and confine the fire as much as you can to keep it from spreading as quickly.

5. If the fire is growing and might block your way out, you should:

a. Find the nearest fire extinguisher and use it
b. Panic and lose track of what’s going on
c. Evacuate the building immediately
d. Call your friends to confirm dinner plans at Winslow

If trapped, use towels and blankets to put at the base of the door to keep smoke from getting into a room you are in. Dial 9-1-1.

Furthermore, open windows with caution, as the air can draw in smoke from outside. Open the window slightly for fresh air and hang a bright colored sheet out of the window to alert the fire department where you are trapped. If it is nighttime, use a flashlight to signal.

6. What is the main purpose of an emergency plan?

a. So that people in the workplace know what to do in an emergency and can be safely evacuated
b. It’s required by law
c. It’s exciting
d. It helps the organization look good

Even though you think it might not happen to you, emergencies happen. OHSA recommends having an emergency plan and evacuation plan to stave off panic. By have a plan in place that you are familiar with, you are prepared for the unforeseen circumstances that come along with an emergency like a fire.

Your emergency plan should include:

  • A map with an escape route that has the exits clearly marked.
  • An agreement to meet at a specified place.

7. What is the correct definition of fire?

  1. A chemical reaction from which heat and light are emitted.
  2. Hot orange stuff.
  3. A south coast radio station.
  4. A Jimi Hendrix song.

Lemme joked that this question should have an “all of the above” option. Obviously, this was not likely a real fire safety test that an actual fire department would use. But it is fun, nonetheless.

8. Which of the following is not a type of firefighting equipment?

a. Fire blanket
b. Hose reel
c. Sprinkler
d. Ice cubes

Three of the questions were left out of the video, but we can assume they were like the others.

Fire safety is important. Knowing a few basic techniques can save your life. Such as:

  • Regularly test smoke detector. Push the “test” button and hold it for a few seconds to make sure the smoke detector is working properly. You should change the batteries every 6 months and clean it to keep dust away. A smoke detector needs to be replaced every 10 years.
  • Remove lint from dryer filter after each use.
  • Keep fire extinguisher in a place that is easily accessible. A great place for it is somewhere in the kitchen. If you have a multiple story home, you should have a fire extinguisher on each floor. The three type of household fire extinguishers are: A for combustibles like wood and paper, B for flammable liquids, and C for live electricity.
  • Keep flammables away from stove.
  • Have heating systems like fireplaces serviced regularly.
  • Rake and remove leaves and debris from around your home.

So, how did you do? Did you pass? – Let Us Know in comments below! – Also check out Tacoma Fire Series. 

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