The Fate of Fire

Sometimes fire has the ability to bring people together rather than tearing them apart. I met my wife in a terrible, yet comical way.

campfiresMy wife Lindsey  were camping at separate sites in the Acadian Forests in Maine. At the time, we did not know each other. Near the end of her trip, there was a smoldering log in the fire from the night before, and silly Lindsey stepped into the hot ash to pull it out, and in the process, roasted her foot. She let out a shriek, not incredibly loud, but loud enough for me to hear it from a few campsites over. I heard her go “Ow, ow, owie!” and thought it my expertise may be needed, so I rushed over. She was alone outside, and I asked what happened and if she needed help. She pointed to her foot and let me know she burned it. Immediately, I filled up an empty pot of water, talked to her in a soothing voice and told her to lay down on the nearby bench. I informed her that I am a fireman in training and that I’ll take care of her. Now, I placed her foot into the pot of cool water that I had elevated a foot above her heart, and talked in an attempt to put her at ease. Before our wedding, our wedding photographer replicated this image of me holding her foot in a pot of cool water in our engagement photos, more on that later.
acadia national forests    Continue reading “The Fate of Fire”

Boy Soldier

memoirs of a boy soldierA Long Way Gone, Memoirs of a Boy Soldier

This story is about a child who was torn away from his family because of the war throughout Africa. When Ishmael Beah was about 12, the rebels came attacking and Ishmael had to escape and fight for his life. Ishmael walked for days trying to find hope in search of his family. He was forced to join the army and fight for his life when he was only 12. Like many young children, the rebels brainwashed him and turned him and turned him into a killing machine, and wanted to kill everyone in his path.

The book details what he and other children went through during the war, and while it is hard for people in my situation to identify with it, it hurts to know that these kind of things have gone on in the world, and continue to do so.

ishmael beah   Continue reading “Boy Soldier”

Prohibition: Was it A Successful Endeavor

Introduction:

Was Prohibition of alcohol in the United States a good idea? Mark Twain once said,

“Evidence…proves that prohibition only drives drunkenness behind closed doors and into dark

places, and it does not cure it or even diminish it”. Prohibition was a nationwide constitutional

ban on the sale, production, importation, and transportation of alcoholic beverages that remained

in place from 1920 to 1933. Prohibition was thought to be a good thing because alcohol was bad

for you. However, could it have been bad for the U.S.? Prohibition has been called one of

America’s most misremembered deeds. The Eighteenth Amendment, ratified by the vote of the

thirty-sixth state, Nebraska, on January 16, 1919, prohibited the manufacture, sale or

transportation of “intoxication liquors”, defined as any beverage with more than 0.5 percent

alcohol (beer had 3 to 8 percent, wine 10 to 20, spirits 40) (American Century, Harold Evans

211).

Background:

There are quite a few reasons why Prohibition was not a good idea. It created a lot of

underground-organized criminal activity. Criminals like Al Capone, Bonnie and Clyde, and John

Dillinger were big criminals who made their money through alcohol-related crimes. Bootlegging

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of alcohol is what fueled the work of organized crime. Prohibition of alcohol was very

expensive. Distilleries, breweries, and saloons all closed due to Prohibition. The loss of income

from alcohol sales lead to money loss for individuals and effected the taxes the government

collected. There was a decline in amusement and entertainment industries and theatre revenues

went down because of this. Prohibition did not deal with the drinking problems of some people.

People were afraid to admit if they had a drinking problem because it could land you in jail. The

quality of alcohol made underground could not be verified. And, ironically, Prohibition increased

the amount people drank.

Analysis:

Prohibition created underground criminal activity. Al Capone expanded the bootlegging

business (illegally producing, distributing, and selling of alcohol), and organized crime now

became the main supplier of booze. Capone would bribe police and politicians so they would not

prosecute him for his crimes and illegal activity. Al Capone took over what was once a legal

industry that provided thousands of legal jobs and gave the jobs to his friends. His friends would

produce and distribute the alcohol. Bootlegging of alcohol is what fueled the work of organized

crime. In addition to this, young members of gangs would start bootlegging because it was

highly profitable.

Illegalizing the production, distribution, and consumption of alcoholic beverages only

made organized crime much worse. "Not only did the number of serious crimes increase, but

crime became organized. Criminal groups organize around the steady source of income provided

by laws against victimless crimes such as consuming alcohol or drugs, gambling and

prostitution. (Albany.edu). There was such a large demand for alcohol, but it was illegal. People

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still wanted to get alcohol and they went underground to get it. The gangsters controlled the

alcohol and made all the money off of it. Al Capone said, “All I do is supply and demand . . .

somebody had to throw some liquor on that thirst. Why not me? (Sullivan, 111)

Since Prohibition closed down bars and saloons, people were looking for alcohol in other

places. This is where speakeasies came alone. Speakeasies are an illicit liquor store or nightclub.

They called these places “speakeasies” because people had to speak quietly when talking about

them and were supposed to be quiet when in them, so as not to alert the police. This was people’s

way of coming up with ways to get around the law. The gangsters that ran the speakeasies used

things such as hip flasks, false books, coconut shells, hot water bottles and garden hoses to

transport illegal liquor. It was said that one man drained the egg out of an eggshell and refilled

the shell with liquor. Another example of a speakeasy follows. On a city street, a drawer could be

found in a wall, a person would drop change in the drawer and call for what drink they want.

They would pull the drawer back and receive the drink they wanted. This method was called the

“Blind Tiger” (Prohibition and Repeal). These secret places could be found all over town and did

not stop people from getting liquor. It only made it easier to get. There were so many more

places to get liquor than previously, they were just illegal. “By 1925 there were, for instance, at

least 15,000 “blind pigs” in Detroit, and by the end of the late 1920’s at least 32,000

“speakeasies” in New York, and countless stores sold liquor as a sideline to get additional

income”. (Prohibition in the 1920’s- prohibition.8m.com).

Many innovative Americans will do anything in their power to get what they want. In

1920’s, resourceful people created moonshine distilleries to home brew their hard alcohol. This

era saw the rise of bootlegging, rumrunners and speakeasies. Moonshine stills were created

across the country and it was an easy way to make a living during the depression. The

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moonshiners also used their alcohol to fuel the cars and trucks that carried the alcohol when they

went on liquor runs. It seems crazy that you can fuel a car with the same liquid that people were

drinking. The rum-running lead to police chases when the drivers tried transport the liquor.

“Rum-running also saw a revival as a trade in the United States. Liquor was smuggled in station

wagons, trucks, and boats from Mexico, Europe, Canada and the Caribbean.” (The Rebellion

Against Prohibition).

Prohibition of alcohol was very expensive. It caused distilleries, breweries, and saloons

all to close. Employees who worked at these places now were out of work and sometimes could

not find jobs based on the past work experience. It also cost $300 million to enforce the

prohibition laws. The cost to the federal government was $11 billion in lost tax revenue. The

government needed to spend money to manage the increased number of prisoners that were in

prison because prohibition crimes. In New York Almost 75% of the state’s income came from

liquor taxes (The American Century p.16). “Some estimate the total cost was about a billion

dollars in a time when a Ford factory worker made $5 a day. The government also lost a

significant amount of tax revenue because alcohol sales went underground. This made the price

of alcohol artificially inflated, and people spent a lot for a little liquor.” (12 Bad Effects of

Prohibition That You Should Know. Patheos.com). The police and courts were busy catching

people who broke the law and putting them in jail. The money spent on their salaries could have

been used to stop other types of crimes.

In addition, police officers were known to take bribes from the speakeasy owners and

operators. Sometimes, the police were able to afford luxury homes because they made so much

money off bribes paid to keep bootleggers from going to jail.

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Analysis:

Prohibition had a huge economic impact in the United States. The US government could

not collect tax from and industry that generated billions of dollars in revenue. This all occurred

during the Great Depression when millions of people lost their jobs and struggled to put bread on

the table for their family. “The main point of Prohibition was to prevent people from drinking

and thereby bringing down the rates of crime, death, and poverty in the country. However, when

the 18 th amendment was implemented, instead of having a positive effect on the society and

country, the opposite occurred” (Us history graphic illustrated). Organized crime had flourished

therefore bootlegging increased.

Prohibition did not deal with the drinking problems of some people and drinks became

unhealthy or even fatal. Drinkers and drunks were basically lumped into the same category and

were treated the same. If you were caught drinking you could go to jail. So, now when people

went out to drink they often got drunk. You couldn’t be seen with a bottle of liquor so you had to

finish it before you left the bar because it was illegal. This is where hard alcohol came in, it was

less alcohol and easier to smuggle. In addition, people who were heavy drinkers or alcoholics

and wanted help could not get the help they needed. The self-help groups became pretty much

non-existent during Prohibition. Nobody wanted to be seen at a meeting.

Production of moonshine (named that because people often made the drinks in the under

the “moonshine” to avoid getting caught) during Prohibition was undertaken by amateurs who’s

product could harm or kill the consumer. The trade in illegal alcohol increased significantly after

Prohibition leading the alcohol quality to drop significantly. In 1925, the nation had lost 4,154

people as compared to 1,064 in 1920. On average thousands of Americans had died every year

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during prohibition due to the effects from drinking tainted liquor. (Millennium 20 th century Day

By Day) Prohibition “heightened the attractiveness of alcohol to the young by making it a

glamorous product associated with excitement and intrigue (cato.org). This increased the

availability of alcohol by 10 times, a New Jersey businessman claimed.

Making alcohol at home became very common. Now people would take grape

concentrate and allow it to ferment into wine. In addition, people made “bathtub gin” at home.

Prohibition was undertaken to reduce crime and corruption, solve social problems, reduce

the tax burden created by prisons and poorhouses, and improve health and hygiene in America.

Based on the examples given above, you can see that it accomplished none of its goals.

Evaluation:

Because Prohibition created underground criminal activity, was very expensive, did not deal with

the drinking problems of people, and non-regulated alcohol was not verified to be safe, it was a

bad idea for the United States.

Conclusion:

Was Prohibition a successful endeavor? I believe it was not, and Prohibition was repealed

on December 5 th, 1933 with the ratification of the Twenty-first amendment to the U.S

constitution. Prohibition of Alcohol seemed to be a good idea at the time, but it never worked.

Prohibition was very expensive, lead to organized crime and did not deal with the drinking

problems of people. The consumption of alcohol is now legal in the United States.

Easy Access Ways to Put Out Brush Fires

backyard barbecue fireIf you are someone who spends a lot of time in the backyard hanging out throughout the year, you’re my type of person. My favorite thing for cooking is barbecuing. I spend a lot of time outside with my schoolwork and my aspiring career, but I still never feel like I have the need to want to spend my time inside.

fire pitOther cool things to do hanging out in your backyard are swimming, hanging out around the fire pit, and maybe even sitting outside reading by the candlelight. With some of these hot hazards come the possibility of setting off a fire. Always be aware of what you can use to eliminate a fire.

fire extinguisherHave a fire extinguisher available in your backyard anytime you are using the barbecue or have a flame or fire pit burning. Also, have buckets available with water that you can either pour onto something on fire, or put firey stuff into the water. After talking to our pool cleaner, I also feel comfortable saying that if necessary, you can use your pool water to put out a fire if need be.

Continue reading “Easy Access Ways to Put Out Brush Fires”

Grey Water Analysis

The world is slowly running out of usable water and we need ways to reuse and conserve it. There are many ways that we have the ability as a society to do this. One way is reusing our grey water, which is all the wastewater that drains out of your bathtub, sinks, dishwashers and washing machines. Thousands of gallons of water are being thrown out each year because of this. Reusing this water could help save hundreds of gallons of water each year per person, and if there was a mass effort by your local city, state, and country, this could save the world millions and millions gallons of water, as well as money and resources. Continue reading “Grey Water Analysis”

Where Does My Water Come From?

Where does my water come from?

sebago lake waterIn Portland Maine, according to https://www.pwd.org/water-distribution, the Portland Water District uses a 1,000 mile network of water that comes out of pump stations, reservoirs, and other channels that take water from Sebago Lake to my home. Using a water main renewal program and flushing program brings clean and fresh water to my home.

– Most of Portland gets their water from Sebago Lake, and about 15% of the rest of the population. Sebago is an extraordinarily clean lake that is one of the few surface water sources that doesn’t need the super expensive filtration processes that other lakes may require. Continue reading “Where Does My Water Come From?”

April 94 0205 hours

On April 11, 1994 at 0205 hours, firefighters were called in for a fire outbreak on the ninth floor of a high- rise apartment structure. The first response was a snorkel company and an engine company that arrived 3 minutes later at 0208. The engine unit took command. The first five firefighters that came from two different companies came into the building from the entrance of the main lobby. Somebody radioed in there was thick smoke coming from the 9th floor, so this is where they headed. All five fire fighters proceeded and entered the elevator to head up to the 9th floor. Four fire fighters exited the elevator, while the fifth stayed on, and held the elevator door with his foot. A problem occurred with his SCBA equipment and his foot slipped and took him down to the 1st floor.  Continue reading “April 94 0205 hours”

Backyard Fire Safety

Fire pits and outdoor fireplaces are increasingly being requested all over the United States as the newest addition for homeowners to add to their backyard. What’s most important in this process though, is that it is created with safety in mind, and the residents of the home take proper precaution the entire time it is in use.

fire pits

There are many factors to consider when adding a fire pit to the yard. Costs can vary depending on the size, materials, and the safety measures taken. Building a fire pit yourself can cost as low as a few hundred dollars if you want to build it yourself, or as much as a few thousand dollars when hiring a professional masonry contractor to do the work for you. Whichever route you take, just know that the look and appeal is not the most important aspect, it’s all about fire safety when dealing with construction of a fire pit.

fire place Continue reading “Backyard Fire Safety”

Triangle Shirtwaist Fire – New York City, NY

triangle shirtwaist fireThe Triangle Shirtwaist fire in New York City had resulted in 146 deaths. This fire is the largest life loss industrial fire in American History. The fire had occurred in a ten-story loft style building and had approximately 500 employees. Each floor was 10,000 square feet open style rooms.

The fire started at the end of the women’s shift on the eighth floor in a rag bin. The fire started from a cigarette or match tossed in the bin, like many other types of fires.. When the fire had begun, workers had tried to extinguish it with a fire hose but there was no water. The smoke traveled rapidly through the stairwell. The women tried to rush out of the fire escape doors but they were bolted shut. The only escape routes that were left were the elevator and metal fire escape.

fire memorial triangle shirtThe firefighters came to the scene and took a total of 30 minutes to put out the fire. The ladders were 30 feet short of the eighth floor so the women were forced to jump if they were not rescued. The fire could have significantly been suppressed if automatic sprinklers had been installed in the shirtwaist factory. The need for better fire escapes is certainly necessary in this incident.   Continue reading “Triangle Shirtwaist Fire – New York City, NY”

History of Fire and Life Safety Education

kid firefighters

Fire safety is something that became essential to surviving in certain environments and conditions since man began controlling fire and using it. Due to this valuable tool, it had also caused many horrific scenes throughout history as well as dark times for those affected by it.

Fire Code History

Fire legislation was first recorded in the area of London around the 12th century, the mayor was the proposer, and it was he who made it so that any houses that were to be built in the city had to be constructed out of stone, as well as other standards that he set.

One of the major fire in London’s history in the 13th century  killed around 3000 people started the reaction by the people that a tub of water needs to be on hand to extinguish fires before they grow.

Chimneys begin to spring up in houses around the 14th century. A new way to control fire, but also another chance for despair. Continue reading “History of Fire and Life Safety Education”