Electrical Safety in the Home… Don’t get fried!

U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 51,800 reported home structure fires involving electrical failure or malfunction in 2007. These fires resulted in 451 civilian deaths, 1,641 civilian injuries and $1.2 billion in direct property damage.

Facts & Figures

  • Forty-one percent of home electrical failure fires involved electrical distribution or lighting equipment in 2003-2007.
  • In 2003-2007, 53% of electrical failure home fires involved other known type of equipment. The leading other known type of equipment involved in home electrical failure fires are range, washer or dryer, and fans.
  • U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 25,200 reported U.S. non-confined home structure fires involving electrical distribution or lighting equipment in 2007. These fires resulted in 270 civilian fire deaths, 1,050 civilian fire injuries, and $663 million in direct property damage.
  • Some type of electrical failure or malfunction was cited as factor contributing to ignition for 72% of electrical distribution or lighting equipment home structure fires.

Source: NFPA’s “Home Electrical Fires ,” by John R. Hall, Jr., May 2010

Also see: Fact sheet on home electrical fires. (PDF, 59 KB)

NFPA does not test, label or approve any products.
Updated 5/10

10 Things you must know about home security

A Crime of Opportunity

Break-ins are a crime of opportunity, where entry is gained due to carelessness of homeowners. Follow these ten essentials and you will all but eliminate the chance of unlawful entry.

1. Lock all your doors 24/7*

Most unlawful entry is through doorways. And about 50% of those are through doors left unlocked. An unlocked lock is not a lock!

  • 51% of break-ins occur during daylight.
  • 49% occur after dark.
  • 8,600 break-ins a day. 1 every 13 seconds.

2. Deadbolt all exterior entrances.

Most burglaries are the result of forcible entry.* Every exterior entryway into your home needs a deadbolt with a full 1″ throwbolt.

  • Treat the door from the garage to inside the house as an exterior door.
  • Exterior doors should be solid, 1-3/4″ hardwood or fibreglass, with secure frames.

3. Intruders fear the spotlight.

An intruder’s greatest fear is being seen. Don’t give them a place to hide.

  • Good exterior lighting around your perimeter creates a psychological barrier.
  • Consider motion activated light fixtures.
  • All porches and other entrances should be lit with at least 40-watt bulbs.
  • Trim the overgrown bushes, tree limbs, or landscaping to the height of porches or windows.

4. Glass can shatter your security.

  • Locks less than an arm’s length away from glass panels and sidelights require glass brick, grates or grilles.
  • A sliding glass door is lifted into position when installed – and easily lifted out if you’re not careful. Adjust screw in the door track to limit clearance. Add a wooden dowel or broom handle too. Ensure children can remove easily in the event of a fire.
  • Retrofit ground floor windows with locking hardware.

5. “While you’re on vacation, I’ll just let myself in.”

Maintain the appearance of occupancy at all times.

  • Use automatic timers to turn on different lights at different times.
  • Have a trusted neighbor pick up your mail and newspapers. And, occasionally use your garbage cans.
  • During the winter, arrange to have snow shoveled.
  • Most break-ins occur between 10am and 3pm. Put a radio on a timer. Turn the ringer on the telephone down.

6. Start a neighborhood watch.

Neighbors watching out for each other is the most effective method of crime prevention. Host a Neighborhood Watch get-started meeting for your block, and invite a police department representative to assist with planning, education, training and prevention techniques.

7. Remember that key you thought you put under the mat?

  • Never hide keys under a mat, or taped above a door jamb: Burglars know these places.
  • Leave a key with a trusted neighbor.
  • Don’t place identification tags on your key or key rings.

8. Help the police help you.

  • House numbers should be at least 4″ – 6″ high, reflective and visible from the street.
  • Numbers should be illuminated at night.
  • Report strangers running through private yards or alley ways or anyone looking into windows of houses or parked cars.
  • Call the police. Don’t worry about false alarms. Better to be safe than sorry.
  • Call 911 if an emergency threatens human life or property. If not an emergency call your local police department directly.

9. Burglars prefer cash.

Burglars want cash or items easily fenced for cash; small electronic equipment, computers, cameras, jewelry, hand guns. Don’t make it easy…

  • Empty stereo and television boxes in the alley is a strong temptation to “inquire within”.
  • Hide your valuables or keep them under lock and key.
  • Engrave your valuables with “THIS PROPERTY STOLEN FROM …” and include your driver’s license number. Marked property is difficult to fence and easier to recover.

10. Gone in 60 seconds.

Research by The National Crime Prevention Institute shows that burglars generally will work no longer than 60 seconds to obtain entry.

Weiser exterior locks offer a number of features tested and proven to resist kick-ins, saw attacks, picking attempts, wrench-offs and prying.

* FBI Statistics: Uniform Crime Reporting Program ADDITIONAL SOURCES: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Statistics: National Crime Victimization Study; Alaska State Troopers; Bellevue, WA Police Dept; Newport Beach, CA Police Dept; Simon Hakim, Temple University; National Crime Prevention Institute.

Is White the new Green? Bye-bye Formaldehyde

In 2002, the Johns Manville company converted its entire line of building insulation to formulations that do not contain added formaldehyde. Prior to 2002, there had been limited use of acrylic binders to replace formaldehyde by Johns Manville and its competitors, and JM’s conversion was the first full-scale application of the technology. In 2005, Gold Seal Homes introduced this insulation into it’s building practices in an effort to improve indoor air quality as part of our commitment to the BuiltGreen™ Program.

JM certified Formaldehyde-free fiber glass insulation—as a smart alternative to formaldehyde-based building materials — helps achieve a healthier and safer building by reducing overall indoor formaldehyde exposure.  Gold Seal Homes is committed to researching and offering our clients the safest and healthiest products for their homes.  Here are some other benefits of the insulation we have selected for our homes.

Recycled Content.

According to the North American Insulation Manufacturs Association, fiber glass insulation is the largest secondary market for recycled glass containers. The recycled glass used in fiber glass insulation saves more than 27 million cubic feet of landfill space every year. That’s 2.2 billion pounds of recycled post-consumer glass.  What’s not made from recycled materials is made mostly from sand, an abundant and rapidly replenished resource.  When a building is remodeled or demolished, fiber glass batts, rolls and loose fill can often be reused.

Many of our insulation products contain a North American average of 25 percent recycled glass content, with at least 20 percent being post-consumer glass.

Will not support mold growth.

Mold requires an organic material as a food source. As an inorganic fiber, fiber glass is naturally resistant to mold growth. In addition, several Johns Manville fiber glass products are treated with an EPA-approved mold inhibitor to protect them from mold-related damage.

Naturally fire resistant.

Unlike many organic insulations, fiber glass does not require toxic fire retardants. Fire retardants may leach out of other insulation types over time, leaving them without protection from heat and flame.

Change your clocks, check your detectors

Today’s post is short and sweet, but the message is imperative.  When you change your clocks this weekend, take a few extra minutes to check the operation of your smoke detectors.  A few extra minutes could save your life.  It has been my experience that smoke detectors do save lives, but only when they work.

  • Battery operated detectors should be checked at least twice per year.
  • Keep some extra 9 volt batteries on hand
  • Smoke detectors are designed to last for 10 years.  Time flies by so maybe your detector needs to be replaced.

for more info on smoke detectors, visit: http://www.firesafetycouncil.com/english/pubsafet/safact.htm

Infant CPR



Feb. 28, 2011 6:30 – 8:30 pm

Carstairs Parent Link Center

Instruction in dealing with child/infant CPR and choking and prevention of childhood injuries. This course is open to the general public and beneficial for parents, babysitters and for those who work with children. Please bring a teddy bear to practice on.  The cost is $20 and you may register at the Carstairs Parent Link Centre or call Maryann at 403.507.7750