Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Burning Down the House

By Anita Salzberg

Are you out of your minds? You’re going to burn the house down! (Or, at the very least, the movie set.)

Long before I joined the Red Cross, this was my typical reaction to any scene in a movie or a TV show that featured a bubble bath, three dozen candles and a romantic liaison amid said bubble bath.

Kevin Costner and Susan Sarandon in Bull Durham? Yes, that was a hot scene (pun intended).

But as I watched, I couldn’t quite tear my mind away from the practicalities of how they were going to get into the tub and have a wild and crazy time without knocking over a half dozen or so candles and causing a fire. Yes, bathrooms are full of tile and porcelain. Still, towels, curtains and walls are plenty flammable.

And think about it—there were probably six guys with fire extinguishers standing on that movie set, just outside the frame, in case the wrong kind of sparks started to go flying.

Since this is Fire Safety Week, that’s my point. Many people think candles are exactly the right thing to reach for during a power outage (to say nothing of an amorous assignation). Turns out, they’re exactly the wrong thing.

Red Cross urges everyone to use only flashlights for emergency lighting, and to never use candles due to extreme risk of fire during a power outage. If Red Cross had thought of it, it would probably say the same about a romantic tryst in a tub.

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