On a Serious Note
Hey everyone. If you don't mind, I'd like to bring us to a more serious topic (don't worry; I'm currently working on a larger post for later). I also apologize for the delay, but you'll be glad to know that I shouldn't be quite so delayed going forward, as the bulk of the cause of those was some technical issues.
Now that that's out of the way, let's continue.
For those of you that don't know, I'm employed by an organization that works to help people that have been affected by disasters. This includes meeting people that have had fires in their respective homes. Now, considering that I have been living and working in San Antonio; the seventh largest city in the United States, and one whose economy is hugely based off of service industries and is therefore relatively low income for over a year, I have seen quite a few home fires. Some in normal homes, some in nice apartments, some in what might as well be shacks that were completely abandoned in terms of healthy living by all but the scummiest of landlords.
For the most part, the fire responses that I have taken part in, while sad, have had people come out unharmed. Unfortunately, there have been those that I have gone on where the family affected wasn't so lucky; those are the responses that will truly break your heart. On the worst of those responses, there has been a single constant on all of them. What is that constant?
These, I'm sure that you all know, are called burglar bars. You see these a lot in the inner city neighborhoods across the country. Their intended purpose is to keep those trying to get in the home unlawfully from doing so. Unfortunately, they have the unintended consequence of keeping people in in time of an emergency.
I'm going to try to write this with all of the dignity that I can muster, so bear with me: Fuck. Burglar. Bars.
These things are the absolute bane of my existence. Every time I drive by a house that has these up, all I see are homes that are potential death traps. People in home fires have about two minutes to escape; when most of the exits are covered up by these abominations, the people inside have to be really lucky that the fire doesn't come between them and the doors if they want to escape with their life. On top of that, but remember that the bars are supposed to keep burglars out? Well, unfortunately, pieces of metal aren't smart enough to distinguish between burglars and firefighters trying to get into the home to save the lives of those who can't get out. So, not only is the person inside potentially helpless, but help is impeded from coming in, taking away a safe avenue of home entry.
I can understand the impulse to protect one's home from robbery, especially in neighborhoods that are a little less than friendly (which every city has). That being said, a person living in a home is more likely to prevent their own escape from a fire than they are to prevent a burglary-especially when a burglar can come in with a crowbar and/or a power drill and take the bars out themselves.
If your home already has burglar bars on the windows, I implore you to remove them or ask your landlord if you can do so. If you're that worried about burglars, get a rosebush and/or cactus and put it underneath the window on the outside; you're just as likely to impede potential burglars and it's easier to deal with sharp plants than it is to deal with smoke inhalation and extremely hot temperatures.
And it'll make me smile too.