Grilling Season and the Risk of More Fires U.S. Home Fires Involving Grills

According to reports put out by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the amount of home structure and outdoor fires involving grills (which include hibachis or barbecues) has been on the rise. Since the increase, it goes hand and hand that the direct property damage caused by fires involving grills is also on the rise. If we look at reports covering 2007 to 2011 and compare them to reports covering 2014 to 2018, you will notice that the amount of direct property damages have increased by $53 million dollars annually.

During 2014 to 2018, the US fire departments responded to an estimated average of 10,600 home structure and outdoor fires involving grills each year. These fires caused an average of 10 civilian deaths, 160 civilian injuries, and $149 million in direct property damage annually.

During 2007-2011, the US fire departments responded to an estimated average of 8,800 home1 fires involving grills, hibachis, or barbecues per year. These fires caused an average of of 10 civilian deaths, 140 reported civilian injuries, $96 million in direct property damage.

While nearly half of the people who grill do it year-round, July is the peak month for grill fires followed by May, June and August. Close to half of all injuries involving grills are due to thermal burns. In many grill fires, the grill had not been cleaned. To prevent fires, keep the grill clean. Leaks or breaks were also a factor in reported grill fires. In some cases, Ignition of something that could catch fire was too close to the grill or home structure fires were a result of the grill being too close to the house. Position the grill away from the home and from other things that can burn. It’s also good advice to have a fire-extinguished within reaching distance at all time. Cooking requires attention, and barbecuing is no exception.

Bon appetit, but be sure to do it safely.

Protecting Yourself on The Job Site During Flu Season

Here are a few tips to consider for protecting yourself and others while working on the job site during flu season. These tips don’t guarantee you won’t get sick, but they do reduce your chances and create a healthier work environment for everyone.

Start practicing these things regularly year-round for them to become routine, turn into good habits, and best practices for a healthier work environment. If you only do these things when you just learn about a flu outbreak, it might already be too late.

The goal is to help reduce interruptions to the work place and in doing so, you will be looking out for the well-being of other employees and your community (by doing your part in preventing further spread of the flu / virus).

While working onsite, consider and practice the following:

Stay home if you are sick and communicate your status.
Stay home if you are sick. Talk with your doctor about things you should be monitoring and discuss a reasonable date to return to work. Make sure you are communicating your current situation and your progress with your employee so that they can schedule projects appropriately. Review your sick leave policies from your employer and your state to reduce your fear of any reprisals. While home, limit your interactions with your roommate(s), family members, etc. Make sure you sanitize common areas in hopes of containing the flu / virus and avoid touching your nose, mouth, and eyes.

Do not share tools.
If it is necessary to share tools, wipe them down with a disinfectant wipe before handing them back. If you use a rag and alcohol to rub things down, make sure the rag has different colors on each side or mark one side to indicate a clean side to touch and a dirty side to wipe. After each day, the rag should be put aside to wash and a new rag used the following day.

Avoid job site water coolers.
Some public and private facilities have drinking fountains that also offer water bottle fill up stations. The water bottle fill up station has a sensor that detects your water bottle and starts pouring water. You don’t touch anything which reduces the spread of germs.

The only way to get water from a work site water cooler is by touching the push button to release water. Think about how many different crews can be working on a job site using that cooler and touching the release button. Bring your own water supply and plenty of it each day.

Leave doors open.
If possible, leave doors open to reduce touching the door knobs. This isn’t always possible so wiping down the handles throughout the day and washing your hands with either soap and water or a good hand sanitize will help.

Where gloves and face masks.
You may already be using cloves and face masks for safety reasons, but inspect them regularly for wear and tears. Replace them as soon as they need to be replaced and consider upgrading to stronger gloves and face masks.

Office workers.
Dedicate one office staff member to answer phone calls, collect mail, etc. and if possible, other staff members work from home (clean /disinfect the office and home office regularly).

Have supplies delivered rather than picking them up. Use other forms of payment rather than cash, such as; credit card, smart phone payment apps, etc.

Take the stairs when possible and avoid elevators. Even though most elevators are ventilated, a cough can spread fast especially in a small closed space. You also want to reduce touching common buttons to call for the elevator and select your floor.

Other Considerations
Get up to date information from reliable sources like the CDC and your state health department. Share useful information and tips and make sure you are not communicating wrong information.

A touchy subject is vaccinations, but something to consider.

Consider how you should be greeting people (smile, hand wave, elbow bump, fist bump, handshakes, hug, kiss, etc).

Try not to stand to close to people during conversation and cough into your elbows.

Wash your hands regularly throughout the day with soap and water or a good hand sanitize product.

Stay hydrated, preferably with water.

Nearly 40% of Christmas Tree Home Fires Occur in January

The gifts have been opened, the ornaments are starting to sag, and the fallen pine needles are multiplying daily. These are clear signs that it’s time to remove the Christmas tree and other holiday decorations from your home. The longer they’re in your home, the more they dry out, making them a significant fire hazard.

NFPA statistics show that nearly 40 percent of home fires that begin with Christmas trees occur in January. Although these fires aren’t common, when they do occur, they’re more likely to be serious. On average, one of every 40 reported home structure Christmas tree fires resulted in a death, as compared to an average of one death per 142 total reported home structure fires.

While many people choose to keep their Christmas trees and holiday decorations up for a few weeks after the holidays, the continued use of seasonal lighting and dried out trees after the holidays presents increased fire risks.

The Secret Service Could Learn from Alarm and Security Professionals

When a man successfully climbed over a fence and then ran directly inside our nations most secure house unimpeded.

According to an article in Security Sales & Integration magazine, a man claiming to be an Iraq War veteran successfully climbed over the fence and then ran directly inside the White House unimpeded, simply defies the criticality regarding foreseeability of this threat. It should have been immediately intercepted and neutralized using advanced electronic security, physical security and law enforcement tactics.

The author asks, “Shouldn’t the White House doors have automatically locked, assuming magnetic locks were in place, as soon as alarms signaled a breach of the fence and/or a breach on the property itself? And who has been charged with the duty to service, maintain and if required, replace outdated security system technologies which are no longer reliably operating at the White House?”

To read the entire article, click here!

WHY I WRITE A BLOG

My grandfathers were small business owners / entrepreneurs and prime examples of the pursuit of the American Dream. My father, my biggest influence, at a very early age began his own electrical contracting company. Following in my father’s footsteps I proceeded to get an electrical engineering degree. Being part of a family tradition where much of the dinner talk regularly revolved around business, I developed a passion and have become a lifelong student of business. I chose a career in electrical distribution and for nearly 40 years I have been operating companies that support small contractors.

I launched the Contractors Business Blog as a space where I can share tips, tricks, ideas, and helpful articles I come across in my travels, that are not necessarily industry or technically specific, but may help make your business or venture successful. I may also, from time to time, share experiences or observations regarding success stories or struggles of contractors that I have witnessed or experienced directly. I hope you find this information useful and I welcome your feedback.

Enjoy the Read!

Security Game Changers

Security’s most recent game changers are system integration and Web-based applications. Beside the details embedded in much emerging technology, security leaders should keep a sharp eye on “game changers.”

Just yesterday, the game changer was the concept of an application or “app” store pioneered by Apple and its iPhone. These apps extend the use of a smart device and allowed users to do more with less hardware. It pushed the security professions forward as security products integrated with smart phones and other smart devices.

When internet protocol or IP was a new concept we all had to adapt to security video, access control, communications and power being delivered over Ethernet. It change things. Then, came the introduction of virtualization. Ethernet and virtualization were ways to deliver the same product in a faster, more reliable, and overall better way and it brought us to places we have not been before.

Security products that are game changers enhance the value of the work that we do which typically leads to increased sales. It opens doors and allows us the ability to impress our existing customers and create new business relationships, specifically with key stakeholders.

You don’t have to change the way you do things for each game changing moment, but not acknowledging the benefits of them can stunt your business.