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Home Fire Prevention...
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Candy8865
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Thu Feb 09, 2006 10:55 pm      Reply with quote
Tonight I handled another residential fire (and then wonder why my skin is in the state it is!). This type of fire is far too common and completely preventable.

Luckily, none of the occupants were injured. 1 fireman was injured when an internal staircase collapsed (his injuries are not severe, he'll be back to work within a month). The family lost everything.

Cause of the fire? Clothes dryer.

I posted about this in the household tips thread. I started a new thread to hopefully ensure you all read this and make sure you eliminate this risk. I already do this because I have seen too many fires like this and don't want to be the next one. This information was reinterated to me by the Fire Investigator on scene today.

At least 2x per year, pull the dryer away from the wall, remove the vent from the dryer to the exterior wall. CLEAN it out!! You will be shocked to see how much lint, junk etc goes from the dryer drum into that vent. This buildup causes the dryer to overheat, thus eventually starting a fire. Additionally, once a month, pull the lint trap and scrub the screen with a nail or old toothbrush and some dish soap to clear the buildup from fabric softners and dryer sheets.

Both of these measures will not only prevent a dryer fire due to build up, but will also save money as the machine will run more efficiently.

While I'm at it, please remember to check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure they are in proper working order.

*Taking off her Fire Marshalls hat now....

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ajax
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Fri Feb 10, 2006 5:39 am      Reply with quote
Thank you.....this is a great reminder. I'll have husband help me pull it out when he gets home.

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tiger_tim
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Fri Feb 10, 2006 5:54 am      Reply with quote
[quote="Candy8865"]At least 2x per year, pull the dryer away from the wall, remove the vent from the dryer to the exterior wall. CLEAN it out!! ....... pull the lint trap and scrub the screen with a nail or old toothbrush and some dish soap to clear the buildup from fabric softners and dryer sheets.

Question is that an American thing? Your driers are hooked up to an exterior wall? WOW!

The units here are just free standing and have a triple filter.. no wait, quadrouple filter system.. disposable fiber filter, then a washable mesh, then a felt layer and all that pulls off for cleaning... and behind that there is anothr layer of mesh filter that have never had any dust or lint on it in my machine.

Come to think of it, my mum's old unit in OZ is freestanding and just has filters attached to the door I think. Man, that unit is OLD.
Ruth
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Fri Feb 10, 2006 7:41 am      Reply with quote
I just wish we had room for a washing machine, let alone a dryer... Drool

Important information though Candy, thanx. It must be so terrible to loose everything.

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rosebud
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Fri Feb 10, 2006 8:46 am      Reply with quote
The dryer I have here in the UK I am sure you would all find hilarious, the ventilation pipe when in use gets shoved out the cat flap!!!

My Cousins ex girlfriend was always nearly setting his house on fire with straightening irons, she would forget to unplug them and just toss them on the bed, he was nervous wreck every time he left the house!!!

Candy I really do applaud you for the job you do, keep up the good work Very Happy

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Shelley01
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Fri Feb 10, 2006 11:27 am      Reply with quote
Thanks for the reminder Candy!!!

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carekate
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Fri Feb 10, 2006 11:29 am      Reply with quote
tiger_tim wrote:
The units here are just free standing and have a triple filter.. no wait, quadrouple filter system.. disposable fiber filter, then a washable mesh, then a felt layer and all that pulls off for cleaning... and behind that there is anothr layer of mesh filter that have never had any dust or lint on it in my machine.
You have to remember that America is kinda behind the times! I remember at least 10 years ago I saw a documentary on how the Japanese deal with their waste disposal, that they have some sort of “crematorium” for the garbage whereby they burn it and – get this – the do it in a way that doesn’t harm the environment.

Over here, we still put all our trash in landfills. AND – for major metropolises like NYC – they will actually “outsource” their garbage: they actually hire barges and ships to haul the trash from New York down to a landfill in some other state on the other side of the country! Can you imagine? Embarassed And if the landfill in that other state runs out of room, THEY – get this – haul their trash to some other landfill in another city or state!!!

And we won’t even talk about our over-dependence on oil and the US carmakers persistent refusal, until just recently, to actively explore the technology to use other types of more earth-friendly fuels in our automobiles even though we’ve known for decades that eventually the oil is going to run out and/or we’re going to pollute our world so badly that we’ll have no other choice but find ways to be “green.”

Uh-oh, I think I’m very off into the realm of political discussion so I’ll shut the h*ll up now before Magda or Casper’s Mum come and put a gag in my mouth and/or bind my hands so I can no longer type on the keyboard!!! Wink Very Happy

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m.april
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Fri Feb 10, 2006 1:53 pm      Reply with quote
Thank you for the warning, Candy. This scenario makes me nervous -- we have 7 apts. in our bldg., each with its own compact washer/dryer. We only have the vents cleaned once a year, and haven't ever noticed a huge buildup of lint. However, laundering brand new bathroom towels renders tons of lint, so I worry about this all of the time! Frankly, it's this very kind of thing that's making me tire of being a landlady.

It's always dismaying to learn about innovation/technology in other countries. Appliances here in the states really leave something to be desired. I wish we had dryers that didn't have to be vented, like tiger tim mentioned. Also, I bet there are smaller sizes available there too, just like in Europe. American appliances are generally huge by comparison, and it's very hard to find QUALITY compact items. BTW, I ditto everything carekate just said.

I can add that another common source of residential fires is the prolific use of candles these days. Any fireman will tell you how incendiary they are. The only fire we've ever had in our bldg. was caused by a tenant (interior decorator) who started one with a candle. Afterwards, I discovered she had them all over the place! And to add insult to injury, OUR insurance ended up covering the damage, not hers. Luckily, there's a firehouse 3 blocks away -- they got here in an instant (the dumbf**k tenant/decorator came knocking on my door instead of calling 911 right away). I was never so scared!!! My paraplegic (CP) brother also lives in our bldg., so we have detectors all over the place. But it doesn't take long for smoke to build up and permeate a structure -- that's what most of the damage was to our property. It really makes my blood boil to think of the jeopardy that silly woman put us in.

I'm sorry to hear of the fireman's injury -- I hope he's recovering.
Candy8865
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Fri Feb 10, 2006 11:24 pm      Reply with quote
Sorry about the building issue. A lesson I learned VERY quickly on this job was I NEVER EVER EVER will own rental property! What a nightmare. The tenants have more rights than the property owner, it's horrible.

And what a moron, come knock on your door 1st? Typical, this is why I will always be gainfully employed. People in general are stupid. How most get up and dressed without calling for police assistance is beyond me. Ugh, this is not the forum for that conversation, lol.

There are so many common houselhold items we interact with everyday with little or no thought that are potentially hazardous (i.e. candles). All you can do is keep diligent with the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors....hmmm, oh and maybe give an IQ test while they fill out their credit apps!!

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fierce
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Sat Feb 11, 2006 4:14 pm      Reply with quote
Candy,

Hope the injured fireman is coping well.

I was wondering if you can tell me if you have come across any fires being started with those Glad plug in oil scent things(or whatever brand). I have been hearing alot about them causing house fires. I would never use them. but i do know people that do. They seem to think that it is just rumor.
Candy8865
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Sat Feb 11, 2006 10:38 pm      Reply with quote
fierce wrote:
Candy,

Hope the injured fireman is coping well.

I was wondering if you can tell me if you have come across any fires being started with those Glad plug in oil scent things(or whatever brand). I have been hearing alot about them causing house fires. I would never use them. but i do know people that do. They seem to think that it is just rumor.


It is a rumor.

The URL for this page is http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/household/glade.asp

Urban Legends Reference Pages © 1995-2006
by Barbara and David P. Mikkelson

I use them all the time. Smile

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phredd4
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Sat Feb 11, 2006 11:38 pm      Reply with quote
Candy,

I too applaud you for the work you do. My husband is in the coal mining industry and is also the captain of his company's mine rescue unit here in WV. As you already must know, he's been very active since the first of the year. He is emotionally drained as well as physically drained. I just don't know how you do it day after day.
Candy8865
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Sun Feb 12, 2006 10:04 am      Reply with quote
Bless Hubby, that is a really tough job. My heart and prayers to him, you & all those poor families.

You actually go through the same anxiety as a spouse of Police or Fire, just hope for them to come home in the same condition they left. Not an easy job either.

It's funny, and he'll probably tell you the same. The physical aspect isn't that big a deal. It's the emotional/mental aspect that REALLY takes it toll. May take months after a particular harrowing ordeal to finally surface, and when it does all bets are off. No telling how you're going to act/feel. Going through it myself still. Once the dust settles (so to speak) prepare yourself that he may start acting of out character. Knowing someone is there to support and listen to you is crucial in healing. Again, not an easy job for you.

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amnis
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Sun Feb 12, 2006 5:16 pm      Reply with quote
Candy, bless you- you are amazing!

After seeing this post I really want to add to it by recommending that if you have a built-in ceiling fan/heater in your bathroom to check when it was installed and make sure it is insulated properly. We just lost our home (well, my parents' but I wasn't completely moved out as I just finished up school) and all of our possessions to a house fire . Luckily nobody was hurt!!!! Thankfully, we were all out of town! The only thing that really keeps me sane about it all is knowing that if my disabled mom had been home, that given the circumstances of the fire and her situation, she would not have made it. I am SO close to my mom... she's my best friend... I couldn't imagine losing her to something like this. And if losing everything material wise isn't one thing it's another dealing with the after effects of it. Trying to take an inventory of everything is such a headache but even more so is battling the insurance company to pay for what is rightfully yours! My parents have paid insurance premiums for years and then when it is time for the insurance company to do what it is my parents paid for it's like pulling teeth!

Anyway, about the fan/heater... the fire was started by the upstairs bathroom ceiling fan/heater. It was older (the house was built in the 60s and my parents bought the house about 7 years ago and have been slowly trying to update it) so when it was installed there weren't any restrictions or codes to follow and thus was not insulated. NOW, these types of units are insulated to prevent fire risks. The fan in our bathroom was exposed to the upper attic. The fire marshall said that the wood structure of the attic was exposed to years of heat and thus became very dry. The day the fire happened the wood combusted and started the rest of the house on fire. There must have been an electric malfunction because the heater was not left on... my dad made sure of this before leaving the day before (he works in another city 150 miles away during the week).

The whole ironic thing about this is that my parents bought the house from a retired fire marshall!!!! But it almost doesn't surprise me that he didn't check the heater fan unit because over the years we kept discovering things he had messed up on in the house when he was updating it plus we found an area where there was dry rot which he had covered up and not disclosed in the signing papers. We even paid an inspector before buying the house and he missed it!

My advice is to have your built-in heater fan units checked and replaced as necessary.

m.april- I totally understand how frustrating rentals can be. My parent's also own a few rentals (4 but one is under total reconstruction after extensive damage from previous tenants) which I helped them with when I stopped out of school to go home and help my mom. There are so many forms you have to have tenants sign to protect yourself. And they DO have more rights than the owner- its crazy! To a landlord, a dream tenant is one who has common sense, who is quiet, respectful (which encompasses many things), who pays his/her rent on time, and who is pleasant to talk to. My dad swears that as soon as he can afford it, he's turning the units over to a rental management agency. The ideal tenant is too hard to come by these days it seems.

One last thing, I third what Carekate said. I wish I could say more...

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