ERIE Supports Those In Need With Smoke Detectors
The amount of time a person has to escape a fire is down to less than 5 minutes
“They don’t make’em like they use to” is a saying that rings true for a lot of things. In terms of fire safety, it applies as well. Dating back as far as the 1960’s, a person had up to 20 minutes to escape a house when fire broke out because of the slower burning materials used in home construction.
Today, because home construction incorporates of a lot of plastics and vinyl, the amount of time a person has to escape a fire is down to less than 5 minutes. So, it stands to reason that the importance of having a smoke alarm that can activate within seconds of a fire starting becomes of the utmost importance.
Over the past decade, the Erie Bureau of Fire Prevention & Investigation supplied city homeowners who needed smoke alarms with free ones through a federal grant. The grant covered 8,000 alarms back in 2013.
After a similar grant was approved in 2017, the city purchased another 4,000 smoke detectors for distribution to city homeowners in need. A portion of those were distributed to those with hearing impairments. Hearing-impaired detectors include strobe lights as alerts or vibrating sensors that could be placed under a mattress or a pillow.
These distributions have been a part of an Erie Bureau of Fire project in partnership with the Erie County Department of Health. The project, called “Protect the Place You Call Home,” began in 2006 as a way of identifying city residences without alarms. At the time the project started, about half of the houses visited by city firefighters didn’t have alarms, didn’t have enough alarms or had alarms that didn’t work. The Erie Bureau of Fire has given out about 22,000 smoke alarms since 2006.
Free smoke detectors are available in Erie and the surrounding areas through the American Red Cross of Northwestern Pennsylvania. If you are in need of an alarm, please call the Red Cross at (814) 240-7667 and provide your name, phone number and address. A volunteer crew will be sent to assess your home and provide and install alarms.
For fire, smoke or soot damage restoration, call SERVPRO of West Erie County at (814) 806-1987. We provide 24-hour emergency services and can help to make it “Like it never even happened.”
Electrical Wiring and Old Houses
Knob and Tube Wiring
We think of the wiring in our home as the arteries of power that feeds everything electrical in the household. Do you wonder if parts of it can become damaged or deteriorate over time? Can it present a serious fire or shock hazard? Any of these questions can be answered by an experienced professional. Only an experienced professional can answer to the condition of your old wiring and if your power panel can handle the electrical load of your home.
There are a few things to keep in mind to help with the beginning assessment of old wiring.
- Identify old wiring: Knob and Tube is the oldest type of wiring and we have seen this in some of the older homes we have serviced in Erie, PA. These systems date back to pre1940. Knob and Tube may lack grounding that is needed for safety. You can keep Knob and Tube wiring according to the National Electrical Code (NEC) but you must follow local codes when adding to or changing.
- Knob and Tube becomes dangerous when the wiring insulation wears away. There can be a problem when alterations weren’t performed properly and to code. And, there can also be issues with covering it with building insulation. All these can be potential fire hazards.
If you have concerns about your wiring, contact a professional electrician. If you have a fire, contact the professional fire restoration specialists, SERVPRO of West Erie County.
National Burn Awareness Week
National Burn Awareness Week is February 5th through the 11th.
For homeowners, putting out a fire can be worse than the fire itself. The first 48 hours after a fire damage can make the difference between restoring versus replacing your property and personal belongings.
What You Can Do Until Help Arrives
- Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from spreading and additional damage from occurring.
- Place clean towels or old linens on rugs and high traffic areas and upholstery.
- Coat chrome faucets, trim and appliances with petroleum jelly or oil.
- Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpet.
- Do not wash any walls or painted surfaces.
- Do not shampoo carpet or upholstery.
- Do not clean any electrical equipment.
- Do not send clothing to a dry cleaner since improper cleaning may set smoke odor.
For more information, The American Burn Association (ABA) offers many different prevention resources.