By Bob Difley
Our response time slows as we age. We don’t think or process information as efficiently as when we were young.
As much as you think you can perform certain functions as fast now as you ever could, it’s just not true. One area that it doesn’t pay to take chances or cling to old beliefs is our ability regarding safety.
For instance, how fast could you react to a sudden galley fire? Fast enough to stop it before it spread to the rest of your RV? Don’t guess. Try a timed practice drill.
Have your spouse shout “Fire!” (Don’t do this in a crowded campground.) Jump from your chair, rush to free the fire extinguisher from its wall mount (while your wife screams [not too loud] and reacts with feigned panic to create an atmosphere of chaos — which will likely be the case in a real emergency and will affect your thinking and efficiency), release the trigger, and — here, just pretend — pull the trigger while aiming the extinguisher at the virtual blaze. Call out to your spouse to stop the stopwatch.
Now do it again. And again. After a few times — admit it, your reaction time from start to finish decreased, didn’t it? — it will be planted more firmly into your hippocampus, or hippopotamus, whatever that part of your brain is called that stores memories.
This means that if the real thing happens, your chances are now much better of getting the fire out before it’s too late.
And, here’s a recommendation: Before “spraying” that fire extinguisher on any RV fire, make sure you have the right one for the job. Our friend Mac McCoy, Mac the Fire Guy, is the expert on this sort of thing. His website offers a wealth of information about fire safety.