Mulligans and Fire Prevention There are many stories of how the term “mulligan” was first established. The most common is that it originated in the 1920s when David Mulligan, a Canadian golfer, inadvertently retook a shot. This error became known as taking a mulligan when a golfer takes a second shot that replaces the previous one.
Over the years the term has been applied to a number of sports, and is also now used in many situations when people want another opportunity to pursue something they missed previously.
October 17th is National Mulligan Day, created to encourage everyone to call your mulligan on any type of situation, whether it be sports, relationships, starting a hobby, changing careers … whatever you want to “do over” or get a second chance.
Another special time for recognition this month was established by the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA). The entire month of October is designated as Fire Prevention Month. According to the NFPA, a house fire happens every 87 seconds! Do you have a scheduled day to change your smoke alarm batteries every year? Do you know the most typical causes of a house fire? Have you established a fire escape plan for your family? The NFPA website provides a plethora of valuable information.
This strange combination - fire prevention and mulligans - lead us to think about the fact that with a fire, or any disaster, you don’t get a do-over. All you can do is prepare to help lessen your chances for a loss. One way is to rely on sites such as the NFPA to make sure you are following the safety tips they offer.
Unfortunately, we all know that even with all the safety precautions we can take, it is still probable that we will experience a loss. Having an inventory of your contents is the next best thing to a do-over, because it assists you in remembering all you owned, which helps you receive an equitable insurance settlement. This will at least generate the funds for a do-over of getting your life back to where you were before the loss.
It Starts with a Whiff of Smoke
As an EMT, I spend a lot of time with fire victims at the scene. There are so many stories of sadness, loss, and emotional turmoil. When speaking with the owners who were home when the fire started, many experiences can be summed up this way … “Something just didn’t smell right. It started with a whiff of smoke. I walked around sniffing from room to room, but couldn’t find anything.”
Many items will never be replaced
I stand there with them, watching the smoke and flames. When no one has been injured, they realize how fortunate they are. Then they turn to the fire, and begin to take the situation in. They are frantic, needing comfort. Unfortunately, with this type of loss, comfort is all I can give them. They begin to talk about their belongings. The photos and family heirlooms that will never be replaced are usually the first thing they think about. Many have them boxed up in the attic or basement. My knowledge and experience has taught me that some might be able to be salvaged if they were packed tightly. Often times outside edges are charred, but many photos and other keepsakes in the center of the boxes are salvageable. My recommendation is to always check before throwing something away - you might be surprised to discover some items were not destroyed.
After that discussion, the conversation turns to the household items. These are items that can be replaced, with the proper planning and documentation. Their favorite chair, the new television they just bought, the first piece of furniture they bought when they built the house. Each story is different, yet they are all the same. The loss is devastating. What will they do? How will they recover? At this moment, there is nothing I can do except listen.
Since this is fire preparedness month, there are two key tips I'd like to share with you: 1) Overloaded systems are often the cause of house fires, and 2) If you have an older home, be sure it is updated to handle the electrical needs of current technology.
Having been involved in fire services for so long, I constantly encourage people to be prepared for a loss. The information provided by having a home inventory will help in so many ways. The time it takes to complete a claim is unbelievably long; an inventory will usually reduce that time at least by half. The emotions that come with a loss hinder one’s ability to remember and think clearly; an inventory will help you focus. The funds recovered with the help of a prepared inventory can be huge!
I recently opened a bed and breakfast. Knowing I would be too busy to do it myself, and also that I wanted the expertise of a professional, I chose to hire a certified inventory service. The peace of mind I have now was well worth the investment!
Jodi Bondy has been an EMT for over 35 years. She wears many other hats as well: wife, mother, grandma, former teacher, and now entrepreneur. Jodi started her own business, Hoosier Photo Organizer, to help people deal with the backlog of photos and other media they have documenting their lives. She recently opened a retreat center, The Magnolia of Montgomery County, where people can have meetings, retreats, or events with family and friends. Jodi and her husband live in North Salem, Indiana. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-989-2813.