May is National Electrical Safety Month

If you’re reading this post you’re probably using it, namely electricity. It’s the pulse of our homes and our workplaces and powers our lives. It can also be deadly.

According to the NFPA, some 24,000 fires originated from faulty wiring between 2007 and 2011. 455 people die in those fires and 1,500 people were injured.

Here’s a list of things that you can do to make sure your home is safe:

  • Have all electrical work done by a qualified electrician.
  • Only plug one heat-producing appliance (such as a coffee maker, toaster, space heater, etc.) into a receptacle outlet at a time.
  • Arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) are a kind of circuit breaker that shuts off electricity when a dangerous condition occurs. Consider having them installed in your home. Use a qualified electrician.
  • Use ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) to reduce the risk of shock. GFCIs shut off an electrical circuit when it becomes a shock hazard. They should be installed inside the home in bathrooms, kitchens, garages and basements. All outdoor receptacles should be GFCI-protected.
  • Test AFCIs and GFCIs once a month to make sure they’re working properly.
  • Check electrical cords to make sure they’re not running across doorways or under carpets.
  • Extension cords are intended for temporary use; have a qualified electrician add more receptacle outlets so you don’t have to use extension cords.
  • Use light bulbs that match the recommended wattage on the lamp or fixture. There should be a sticker that indicates the maximum wattage light bulb to use.


Electricians have new necconnect website

I’ll let the people from NECCONNECT.ORG explain it to you:

Welcome to nec connect Community

Welcome to nec connect, a new online resource for all things related to the National Electrical Code. Learn about the latest in electrical safety, wiring, guidelines, and equipment, along with upcoming electrical code updates, tips and the latest social updates from the NFPA. nec connect is your one-stop shop for residential and industrial electrical safety, whether you are an installer, designer, inspector or policy maker. Join fellow contractors and engineers, and sample the latest video content, articles and more from industry experts. And subscribe TODAY for exclusive access to all video content, conversations, updates, and white papers. Thanks for visiting!


Check them out at

Space Heater Safety

Space Heaters


Fall and winter are here. The cooler temperatures are starting to show up in our service area. One of the things many people use is space heaters. Additionally, the high cost of home heating fuels and utilities have caused many Americans to search for alternate sources of home heating. The use of wood burning stoves is growing and space heaters are selling rapidly, or coming out of storage. Fire places are burning wood and manmade logs. All these methods of heating may be acceptable. They are however, a major contributing factor in residential fires. Many of these fires can be prevented.

One of the biggest fire starters in the office or home every year is SPACE HEATERS! All Flammable objects MUST BE KEPT at least 3 Ft from the heaters and they MUST BE TURNED OFF WHEN NOT ATTENDED!

The following fire safety tips can help you maintain a fire safe office or home this fall and winter.


· Be sure your heater is in good working condition. Inspect exhaust parts for carbon buildup. Be sure the heater has an emergency shut off in case the heater is tipped over.


Never use fuel burning appliances without proper room venting. Burning fuel (coal, kerosene or propane, for example) can produce deadly fumes.

· Use ONLY the fuel recommended by the heater manufacturer. NEVER INTRODUCE A FUEL INTO A UNIT NOT DESIGNED FOR THAT TYPE FUEL.

· Keep kerosene, or other flammable liquids stored in approved metal containers, in well ventilated storage areas, outside of the house.

· NEVER fill the heater while it is operating or hot. When refueling an oil or kerosene unit, avoid overfilling. DO NOT use cold fuel, as it may expand in the tank as it warms up.

· Refueling should be done outside of the home (or outdoors).

· Keep young children away from space heatersespecially when they are wearing night gowns or other loose clothing that can be easily ignited.

· When using a fuel burning appliance in the bedroom, be sure there is proper ventilation to prevent a buildup of carbon monoxide.


Wood stoves and fireplaces are becoming a very common heat source in homes. Careful attention to safety can minimize their fire hazard. Although proper maintenance, cleaning, and care should reduce the chance of a chimney fire, it’s always smart to be prepared. To use wood stove and fireplaces safely:


Be sure the fireplace or stove is installed properly. Wood stoves should have adequate clearance (36) 3 feet from combustible surfaces, and proper floor support and protection.

· Replace the batteries in your home’s smoke and carbon monoxide detectors at least annually. Check your fire extinguishers on a regular basis and recharge or replace them if necessary.

· Have the chimney inspected and cleaned annually. The Ponderosa/Pinion Pine wood found in our area can create a lot of soot, ashes and creosote that build up in the chimney. When this residue gets hot it can easily catch fire.

· Wood stoves should be of good quality, solid construction and design, and should be UL (Underwriter’s Laboratory) listed.

· Do not use flammable liquids to start or accelerate any fire.

· Keep a glass or metal screen in front of the fireplace opening, to prevent embers or sparks from jumping out, unwanted material from going in, and help prevent the possibility of burns to occupants.

· Never burn charcoal indoors. Burning charcoal can give off lethal amounts of carbon monoxide.

· Keep flammable materials away from your fireplace mantel. A spark from the fireplace could easily ignite these materials.

· Before you go to sleep, be sure your fireplace fire is out. NEVER close your damper with hot ashes in the fireplace. A closed damper will help the fire to heat up again and will force toxic carbon monoxide into the house.

· If synthetic logs are used, follow the directions on the package. NEVER break a synthetic log apart to quicken the fire or use more than one log at a time. They often burn unevenly, releasing higher levels of carbon monoxide.


o Call the Fire Department by dialing 911.

o Never try to remove burning logs from your fireplace. Use water or a fire extinguisher to put them out. Fire extinguisher is best. Be careful with putting water on the fire. On one hand, the steam created with a glass or two of water may put out the fire – or at least cool it down significantly. However, there is a possibility that the sudden cooling could crack any glass door/screen, or cause damage to mortar or other components. Ask a certified fireplace inspector or consult your factory stove / fireplace manual.

o If you suspect a chimney fire, get everyone out of the house immediately and call the fire department. If you can do so safely, put out any fire in the stove or fireplace and close the damper. (Some fast-burning chimney fires produce dense smoke and flames shooting out the top of the chimney, often accompanied by a rumbling sound inside the chimney. Slow-burning chimney fires are much harder to detect but can also cause serious damage to the chimney and, possibly, to the house.)

o If you suspect that you have had a chimney fire, do not use the fireplace again until a chimney sweep has checked it for any hidden damage.


Portable electric heaters manufactured after 1991 include many new performance requirements to enhance safety. For portable electric heaters that may present a fire hazard when tipped over, a tip-over switch will turn the heater off until it is turned upright again. New heaters also include indicator lights to let users know that the heater is plugged in or is turned on. Some manufacturers have included technically innovative safety controls such as infrared or proximity sensors, which can turn a heater off when objects come too close, or when children or pets are near. These kinds of controls may prevent burn injuries to children who might play too near a heater, or reduce the risk of ignition of combustible materials that could contact the heater.

· Use heaters on the floor. Never place heaters on furniture, since they may fall, dislodging or breaking parts in the heater, which could result in a fire or shock hazard.

· Unless certified for that purpose, do not use heaters in wet or moist places, such as bathrooms; corrosion or other damage to parts in the heater may lead to a fire or shock hazard.

· Do not hide cords under rugs or carpets. Placing anything on top of the cord could cause the cord to overheat, and can cause a fire.

· Do not use an extension cord unless absolutely necessary. Using a light-duty, household extension cord with high-wattage appliances can start a fire. If you must use an extension cord, it must be marked #14 or #12 A WG; this tells the thickness or gauge of the wire in the cord. (The smaller the number, the greater the thickness of the wire.) For example, a cord sold as an air conditioner extension cord will have these heavy wires. Do not use a cord marked #16 or #18 AWG. Only use extension cords bearing the label of an independent testing laboratory such a U.L. or E.T.L.

· Be sure the plug fits snugly in the outlet. Since a loose plug can overheat, have a qualified repairman replace the worn-out plug or outlet. Since heaters draw lots of power, the cord and plug may feel warm. If the plug feels hot, unplug the heater and have a qualified repairman check for problems. If the heater and its plug are found to be working properly, have the outlet replaced. Using a heater with a hot cord or plug could start a fire.

· If a heater is used on an outlet protected by a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) and the GFCI trips, do not assume the GFCI is broken. Because GFCIs protect the location where leakage currents can cause a severe shock, stop using the heater and have it checked, even it if seems to be working properly.

· Broken heaters should be checked and repaired by a qualified appliance service center. Do not attempt to repair, adjust or replace parts in the heater yourself.



Be sure all furnace controls and emergency shutoffs are in a proper working condition.

· Leave furnace repairs to qualified specialists. Do not attempt repairs yourself unless you are qualified.

· Inspect the walls and ceiling near the furnace and along the chimney line. If the wall is hot or discolored, additional pipe insulation or clearance may be required.

· Check the flue pipe and pipe seams. Are they well supported; free of holes, and cracks? Soot along or around seams may be an indicator of a leak.

· Is the chimney solid, with cracks or loose bricks? All unused flue openings should be sealed with solid masonry.

· Keep trash and other combustibles away from the heating system.


· Never discard hot ashes inside or near the home. Place them in a metal container outside and well away from the house.

· Never use a range or an oven as a supplemental heating device. Not only is it a safety hazard, it can be a source of potentially toxic fumes.

· If you use and electric heater, be sure not to overload the circuit. Only use extension cords which have the necessary rating to carry the amp load. TIP: Choose an extension cord the same size or larger than the appliance electrical cord.

· Avoid using electrical space heaters in bathrooms, or other areas where they may come in contact with water.

· Frozen water pipes? Never try to thaw them with a blow torch or other open flame, (otherwise the pipe could conduct the heat and ignite the wall structure inside the wall space). Use hot water or a UL labeled device such as a hand held dryer for thawing.

· If there is a fire hydrant near your home you can assist the fire department by keeping the hydrant clear of snow so in the event it is needed, it can be located.


· Be sure every level of your home has a working smoke alarm, and be sure to check and clean it on a monthly basis.

· Plan and practice a home escape plan with your family.

· Keep at least one dry-powder operative, ABC-type fire extinguisher in the home at all times.

· Keep space heaters at least 3 feet from any flammables.

· If your clothing does catch fire, dont run! Drop down immediately, cover face with hands, and roll to smother the flames. Teach your family how to do this. STOP, DROP and ROLL!!


Information provided from the National Safety Council, CPSC and NFPA

Today’s post comes to us courtesy of Ken Oswald, Safety and Security Manager for Plateau

Firefighter Injuries lowest in past 20 years

A new report by the NFPA (National Fire Protection Agency) details the numbers for firefighters in 2010 and the news is good news because 2010 saw a 8.0% decrease in firefighter injuries.

Other numbers reported…

Overview of 2010 Firefighter Injuries

• 71,875 firefighter injuries occurred in the line of duty in 2010, a decrease of 8.0%.

• In addition to injuries, there were 11,200 exposures to infectious diseases, and 25,700 exposures to hazardous conditions.

• 32,675 or 45.4% of all firefighter injuries occurred during fireground operations. An estimated 13,355 occurred at nonfire emergency incidents, 4,380 while responding/returning from an incident, 7,275 during training activities, and 14,190 occurred during other on duty activities.

• The Northeast reported a higher number of fireground injuries per 100 fires than other regions of the country.

• The major types of injuries received during fireground operations were: strain, sprain, muscular pain (52.8%); wound, cut, bleeding, bruise (14.2%); burns (5.9%). Strains, sprains, and muscular pain accounted for 59.0% of all nonfireground injuries.

• The leading causes of fireground injuries were overexertion, strain (25.7%) and fall, slip, jump (22.5%).

The chart below is the most encouraging news, showing the slow but steady decline firefighter injuries since 1981

“It’s Fire Prevention Week. Protect your Family from Fire!”

Commemorating a conflagration
Fire Prevention Week was established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire, the tragic 1871 conflagration that killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than 2,000 acres. The fire began on October 8, but continued into and did most of its damage on October 9, 1871.

According to popular legend, the fire broke out after a cow – belonging to Mrs. Catherine O’Leary – kicked over a lamp, setting first the barn, then the whole city on fire. Chances are you’ve heard some version of this story yourself; people have been blaming the Great Chicago Fire on the cow and Mrs. O’Leary, for more than 130 years. But recent research by Chicago historian Robert Cromie has helped to debunk this version of events.

The ‘Moo’ myth

Like any good story, the ‘case of the cow’ has some truth to it. The great fire almost certainly started near the barn where Mrs. O’Leary kept her five milking cows. But there is no proof that O’Leary was in the barn when the fire broke out – or that a jumpy cow sparked the blaze. Mrs. O’Leary herself swore that she’d been in bed early that night, and that the cows were also tucked in for the evening.

But if a cow wasn’t to blame for the huge fire, what was? Over the years, journalists and historians have offered plenty of theories. Some blamed the blaze on a couple of neighborhood boys who were near the barn sneaking cigarettes. Others believed that a neighbor of the O’Leary’s may have started the fire. Some people have speculated that a fiery meteorite may have fallen to earth on October 8, starting several fires that day – in Michigan and Wisconsin, as well as in Chicago.

In 1920, President Woodrow Wilson issued the first National Fire Prevention Day proclamation, and since 1922, Fire Prevention Week has been observed on the Sunday through Saturday period in which October 9 falls. According to the National Archives and Records Administration’s Library Information Center, Fire Prevention Week is the longest running public health and safety observance on record. The President of the United States has signed a proclamation proclaiming a national observance during that week every year since 1925.

Stay Fire Smart! Don’t Get Burned
During National Fire Prevention Week, attention is focused on promoting fire safety and prevention, however we should practice fire safety all year long. Many potential fire hazards go undetected because people simply do not take steps to fireproof their home.

Fire’s can happen anywhere at any time.

It’s human nature to think bad things only happen to “the other person,” but the fact is that bad things can happen to good people. Everyone thinks they’ll never have a fire, but the figures tell a different story. In fact, the chances are that you will experience at least one home fire in your lifetime – a fire serious enough to call 911.




Simple things like testing the water before putting a child in the bath may sound like common sense. Wearing short or close-fitting sleeves when cooking on the stovetop may show foresight. This and other simple actions may be all it takes to prevent devastating burns. Many bedroom fires are caused by misuse or poor maintenance of electrical devices, careless use of candles, smoking in bed, and children playing with matches and lighters.


Most potential hazards can be addressed with a little common sense. For example, be sure to keep flammable items like bedding, clothes and curtains at least three feet away from portable heaters or lit candles, and never smoke in bed. Also, items like appliances or electric blankets should not be operated if they have frayed power cords, and electrical outlets should never be overloaded.


Each year more than 3,600 Americans die in fires – the worst fire record in the modern, industrialized world. About two-thirds of these fire-related deaths happen at home, and many of them during the night while victims sleep. Those statistics are sobering and ENMR•Plateau wants all employees to know they can help protect themselves and their loved ones from fire with 10 easy steps.


  1. Make sure everyone in the family understands the dangers of fire. Remember to stay low below door knob level when getting out of the smoke. If you have a towel/washcloth to cover your face and breath through it should help with some smoke inhalation. Additionally, Use the back of your hand to feel if the door knobs are hot indicating fire burning on the other side.
  2. DON’T PLAY WITH MATCHES!   Teach kids that matches, lighters, lighter fluid, gasoline and candles are tools, not toys. If you suspect that a child is playing with fire, check under beds and in closets for telltale signs like burned matches. Matches and lighters should be stored in a secure drawer.

  3. Limit the use of extension cords; make sure the cord can carry the power load it is being used with.

  4. Develop a home fire escape plan; let your kids help to identify two ways to escape from each room.

  5. Practice your fire escape plan; a good time is when you test your smoke detectors monthly.

  6. Change those smoke detector/CO2 batteries, remember “Change your clocks, change your batteries” (Nov 6th, 2011 Daylight Savings Ends).

  7. Avoid clutter in the home or office, keep fire escape exits clear. You don’t want to have to navigate through cluttered halls when trying to escape an emergency.

  8. Portable heaters should be kept away from all combustible items and have a minimum 3 feet clearance when in use.

  9. Never store combustibles near hot water heaters or in a furnace room.

  10. Have an ABC type fire extinguisher charged, serviceable and in an easy access area (preferably the kitchen).

Fire extinguishers are divided into four categories, based on different types of fires. Each fire extinguisher also has a numerical rating that serves as a guide for the amount of fire the extinguisher can handle. The higher the number, the more fire-fighting power. The following is a quick guide to help choose the right type of extinguisher.
Fire Extinguisher

* Class A extinguishers are for ordinary combustible materials such as paper, wood, cardboard, and most plastics. The numerical rating on these types of extinguishers indicates the amount of water it holds and the amount of fire it can extinguish.

 These are the symbols seen on a Class A extinguisher.
* Class B fires involve flammable or combustible liquids such as gasoline, kerosene, grease and oil. The numerical rating for class B extinguishers indicates the approximate number of square feet of fire it can extinguish.
* Class C fires involve electrical equipment, such as appliances, wiring, circuit breakers and outlets. Never use water to extinguish class C fires – the risk of electrical shock is far too great! Class C extinguishers do not have a numerical rating. The C classification means the extinguishing agent is non-conductive.
* Class D fire extinguishers are commonly found in a chemical laboratory. They are for fires that involve combustible metals, such as magnesium, titanium, potassium and sodium. These types of extinguishers also have no numerical rating, nor are they given a multi-purpose rating – they are designed for class D fires only.

Some fires may involve a combination of these classifications. Your fire extinguishers should have ABC ratings on them.

*Class K (kitchen) fires, was added to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 10 Standard for Portable Fire Extinguishers in 1998.

Here are the most common types of fire extinguishers:

* Water extinguishers or APW extinguishers (air-pressurized water) are suitable for class A fires only. Never use a water extinguisher on grease fires, electrical fires or class D fires – the flames will spread and make the fire bigger! Water extinguishers are filled with water and pressurized with oxygen. Again – water extinguishers can be very dangerous in the wrong type of situation. Only fight the fire if you’re certain it contains ordinary combustible materials only.
* Dry chemical extinguishers come in a variety of types and are suitable for a combination of class A, B and C fires. These are filled with foam or powder and pressurized with nitrogen.
o BC – This is the regular type of dry chemical extinguisher. It is filled with sodium bicarbonate or potassium bicarbonate. The BC variety leaves a mildly corrosive residue which must be cleaned immediately to prevent any damage to materials.
o ABC- This is the multipurpose dry chemical extinguisher. The ABC type is filled with monoammonium phosphate, a yellow powder that leaves a sticky residue that may be damaging to electrical appliances such as a computer

Dry chemical extinguishers have an advantage over CO2 extinguishers since they leave a non-flammable substance on the extinguished material, reducing the likelihood of re-ignition.
How To Use A Portable Fire Extinguisher

Remember the term PASS when you go to use a portable fire extinguisher.


P =
Pull the pin.

A =
Aim extinguisher nozzle at the base of the flames.

S = Squeeze trigger while holding the extinguisher upright.

S =
Sweep the extinguisher from side to side, covering the area of the fire with extinguisher contents.


In Case Of Fire

Report It! – Report the fire
no matter what size of the fire.
CALL 911.

Fight It! – If a fire is small, and you have a safe exit, you may try to fight it after you report it.

Escape It! – If the fire is large escape is your best choice.

Many fires start in the kitchen, usually due to distraction. Stove top cooking is a serious activity and requires full attention. Don’t put something on the stove and leave to watch television. Keep dish towels, pot holders and decorations at least a foot away from the stovetop. Even though they may not be on the burner, radiated heat can cause them to ignite. Keep an oversized pot lid available. Should a fire occur in the cooking pot, place the lid over the pot, turn off the heat, and don’t remove the lid for at least 15 minutes.


If a fire does occur and your clothing happens to catch fire, you should remember the “Stop, Drop, and Roll” technique. This could prevent serious burns to you or a family member.

Fire safety is not difficult. It only requires awareness and common sense to keep families and homes safe from fire. Please remember to make sure your cigarettes are fully extinguished before leaving the area. By taking preventive measures can keep a family from becoming a fire statistic.



Today’s blog post is courtesy of
Ken Oswald

Safety and Security Manager for ENMR·Plateau


Understanding the Hazard Identification System

At the very core of safety is being aware of the danger that you might be exposed to; when we are dealing with chemicals that isn’t always easy to do. Because of this, the NFPA came up with a labeling system years ago that is intended to identify the four possible hazards associated with chemicals. The result was the color-coded diamond seen below.


The blue square is intended to identify the health threat level with an assigned value of 0 to 4 as defined below.

Numerical Value

Type of possible injury


Material that on exposure under fire conditions would offer no hazard beyond that of ordinary combustible material.


Material that on exposure would cause irritation but only minor residual injury.


Material that on intense or continued but not chronic exposure could cause temporary incapacitation or possible residual injury.


Material that on short exposure could cause serious temporary or residual injury.


Material that on very short exposure could cause death or major residual injury.


The Red Square is intended to identify the flammability of the chemical with an assigned value of 0 to 4 as defined below.

Numerical Value

Degree of flammability


Material will not burn


Material must be pre-heated before ignition can occur


Material must be moderately heated or exposed to relatively high ambient temperature before ignition can occur


Liquids and solids that can be ignited under almost all ambient temperature conditions


Materials that will rapidly or completely vaporize at atmospheric pressure and normal ambient temperature, or that are readily dispersed in air and that will burn readily


The Yellow Square is intended to identify the reactivity of the chemical with an assigned value of 0 to 4 as defined below.

Numerical Value

Degree of Reactivity


Material that in itself is normally stable, even under fire exposure conditions, and is not reactive with water.


Material that in itself is normally stable, but which can become unstable at elevated temperatures and pressures


Material that readily undergoes violent chemical change at elevated temperatures and pressures or which reacts violently with water or which may form explosive mixtures with water


Material that in itself is capable of detonation or explosive decomposition or reaction but requires a strong initiating source or which must be heated under confinement before initiation or which reacts explosively with water


Material that in itself is readily capable of detonation or of explosive decomposition or reaction at normal temperatures and pressures


Finally, the White Square is intended to identify the nature of the precaution to be taken as well as the Personal Protective Equipment required for adequate protection. Symbols and abbreviation are used in this square rather than numbers. The symbols and abbreviations are shown and identified below

Symbols specified in National Fire Codes, section 704

Material shows unusual reactivity with water (i.e. don’t put water on it).


Material possesses oxidizing properties

Other symbols commonly used


Material is an acid


Material is a base (alkaline)


Material is corrosive

Material is radioactive


PPE Symbols used:





Safety Glasses Required


Safety Glasses and Gloves Required


Safety Glasses, Gloves and Apron Required


Faceshield, Gloves and Apron Required


Safety Glasses, Gloves and Dust Respirator Required


Safety Glasses, Gloves, Apron and Dust Respirator Required


Safety Glasses, Gloves and Vapor Respirator Required


Splash Goggles, Glove, Apron and Vapor Respirator Required


Safety Glasses, Gloves and Dust and Vapor Respirator Required


Splash Goggles, Gloves, Apron and Dust and Vapor Respirator Required


Air Line Hood or Mask, Gloves, Full Suit and Boots Required



Ask supervisor or safety specialist for handling instructions


Links for further research: