Fire power

Jim Christian

Photo By Tom Angel

Is there any easier way to find a 15 Minutes subject? We noticed Jim Christian making the rounds during a CN&R staff meeting. The extinguisher technician has worked for SimplexGrinnell since 1981 and is in charge of at-least-yearly inspections of fire-related equipment in businesses. Besides our office’s 10 to 12 extinguishers, he also checked our fire exit signs. In his spare time, Christian is a volunteer firefighter for Butte County.

Is this fun or repetitious?

It’s very repetitive, but I like that I’m out and about. Every stop is a different sight. It’s not like being stuck in an office. I could never do that.

How do you make sure the extinguishers are OK?

I weigh them and make sure everything’s fine. Some of them will lose their pressure. Legally, they’re good for one year. And you can only use them once. The chemicals can dry up the rubber valve. A lot of times people [use an extinguisher] and just stick it back on the wall. They figure if it’s still heavy it’s still full.

How’s the CN&R’s extinguisher situation?

You guys are covered pretty good: every 75 feet as you travel per level.

You really believe in extinguishers; you must have a lot at home.

I’ve got extinguishers probably everywhere. I’ve got one in my bedroom, two in my kitchen, one outside the door of my garage, several in my shop. There are also hoses hooked up to my 9,000-gallon pool in case I need to use that. I’ve also put out a lot of [other people’s] car fires.

So you must be pretty safe.

The only problem is, an extinguisher is only good if someone is there to use it. I haven’t trained the cats and dogs yet.

Started any fires lately?

I had a flaming turkey in the barbecue. I used my CO2 extinguisher. Then I started the barbecue back up and cooked the turkey.