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“House Fires Caused By Storage of 9 Volt, AA Batteries In Junk Drawers & Other Places Rising”

* If You Know of a Fire Incident in Your Town Caused by 9 Volt, AA or AAA Battery Storage in a Home, Please Note it in the comments Section of this Post! Thank You!

Click here for the recent Hastings, Nebraska House Fire on January 16, 2017

If you are storing loose 9 volt or AA or other batteries in a kitchen drawer or a “junk” drawer in your home, watch how you store them. Above all don’t store them loose and rolling around with other metal items, like small tools, paper clips, nails and more of the lovely mix of things we keep in our junk drawers. You also don’t want them loose and rolling around in other items like a camera case, luggage, etc.

All you need to have happened is for a metal object like steel wool or a paper clip short out across the top of a 9-volt battery and ignite paper or other easily ignited materials and you’ll have a potential disaster in your home. As indicated in the YouTube Video below, it doesn’t take much to heat a metallic object or cause a spark in order to start a fire. *Please Do Not Do This At Home*

What to do with a 9 Volt Battery

I teach safety to the public, common sense tells most of us what to do in situations that could become life threatening. I speak to 50-60 people at a time about fire safety in the home on a monthly basis. I get the same reaction from every group when I hold up a 9-volt battery and announce that it is a fire hazard and it could burn down your house.

They all kinda look at me funny, as if to ask, “Did you just say a 9-volt battery could burn down my house?” That look is almost comical.

Q: Where do you store your batteries?

A: Throw them in  in a “junk” drawer

I then hold up a brillo pad. (just one example)

Q: What do you do with the batteries when you are done with them?

A: Throw them in the trash.

A 9-volt battery (see video) is a fire hazard because the positive and negative posts are on top, right next to one another. If this comes in contact with anything metal (aluminum foil, brillo, etc…) it will spark, and if there is a fuel for this spark you will have a fire. (fire needs heat, fuel and oxygen to burn) To test this theory, put a 9-volt battery or a couple of AA batteries in your pocket with some loose change or your key chain full of keys, (use common sense) this will bring on a whole new meaning to the words, Hot Pants.

When you dispose of this type of battery (positive and negative on top) Make sure it is safely wrapped in electrical tape or something to keep it separated from anything else that may come in contact with it. A small box or zip lock bag if kept in a junk drawer should suffice.  I have seen in some stores now that the manufacturers are now packaging them with plastic caps. If you need to purchase a 9-volt battery try to find those that are packaged in this manner.

Try to be just as diligent with AA or AAA batteries. Keep them in their original packaging if stored in a “junk drawer”. Don’t let them roll around freely with all the other wonderful miscellaneous items we unknowingly toss in the drawer and don’t think twice about it.

 

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“New NFPA Video Underscores Long-Lasting Realities Of Home Fire Survivors”

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On average, there are nearly 13,000 civilian fire injuries attributed to home fires each year.

In cooperation with the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors, NFPA has produced a new video underscoring the painful aftermath of these injuries. Burn care specialists from the William Randolph Hearst Burn Center, one of the premier burn care hospitals in the U.S., detail the frequency of home fire injuries and painstaking recovery of burn survivors. Their stories help underscore the arduous recovery and procedures survivors endure post-fire.

The video is the latest produced for NFPA’s Faces of Fire Campaign, a component of NFPA’s Fire Sprinkler Initiative that helps humanize North America’s home fire problem and highlights the necessity of fire sprinklers in new homes. We will be releasing a second video from our interviews with the William Randolph Hearst Burn Center specialists in the next few weeks and will alert you when it’s available.

Please help us spread the word about this important video by: 
Sharing the video link directly on social media

Embedding the video directly on a web page [use this code: http://a%20class=]

Source: NFPA Xchange By:  Fred Durso on Jan 4, 2017

“Oakland Warehouse Dance Party Fire a Rare Disaster, But Troubling Trend Continues”

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In this age of modern building construction and fire codes, large loss-of-life fires in assembly occupancies just aren’t supposed to happen. But, for some reason, they continue to. I noticed a trend following The Station fire; I thought to myself, “Seems like it’s been about ten years since we’ve seen a fire like this.” I was close; it was 13 years.

The trend started with the Beverly Hills Supper Club fire in Southgate, KY, which killed 165 people in 1977. Thirteen years later, in 1990, 87 people died in a fire at the Bronx, NY Happy Land social club. Another thirteen years later, in 2003, The Station nightclub fire in West Warwick, RI, killed 100.

And here we are, thirteen years later, counting the dead in an electronic dance music party fire at a warehouse turned artist collective/residence/performance space in Oakland, CA known as “Ghost Ship;” the death toll currently stands at 36 and is expected to rise.

NFPA president Jim Pauley spoke to the New York Times about the role fire codes have played in making fires, such as the one that occurred Friday night, rare occurrences. There is no question that codes have come a long way over the last 40 or so years, and if they’re followed, the probability that a fire will have such devastating consequences is low. Today’s codes, like NFPA 101, require automatic sprinkler systems, fire alarm systems, and multiple, protected means of egress from large assembly spaces. (News outlets report the Oakland warehouse was not sprinklered, and means of egress from the second-floor assembly space was limited to a single stair; it is still very early in the investigation.)

So the question we, as fire protection and life safety professionals, must ask is, “Are we doing enough to prevent these tragedies?” Do the codes, as they stand today, provide a “reasonable” level of protection? If we do nothing, is it reasonable to expect that in thirteen years we will see another tragedy like the one this past weekend? Maybe it will be eight years, maybe eleven, but I think the answer is, “most likely.” The alternative is to do “something.” I don’t know what that “something” is. Do we pile more requirements onto the codes, effectively penalizing those who diligently comply with the requirements already on the books? And how effective would new requirements be? If building owners aren’t complying with today’s requirements, should we expect them to comply with new ones? What about enforcement? I know very well the budget constraints faced by municipal fire departments. State and local fire prevention agencies do tremendous work with their limited resources. It’s probably not reasonable to expect code enforcers to catch every illegal large assembly gathering.

The answer eludes me. And it’s troubling. I recently became the staff liaison for NFPA’s Technical Committee on Assembly Occupancies, so this hits close to home. It’s my hope to get the conversation going so we can put an end to this trend. Or we can carry on, status-quo. If we do, history suggests we’ll see another large loss-of-life assembly occupancy fire. Probably in about 13 years, around 2029. I hope I’m wrong.

Source: by Gregory Harrington NFPA xChange

“CPSC, NFL Star Team Up on New 2016 July 4th Fireworks Safety Video”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – At a fireworks safety event today on the National Mall, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Chairman Elliot F. Kaye unveiled a new public service announcement (PSA) featuring New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. Pierre-Paul suffered a severe hand injury on July 4, 2015, from a firework-related incident at his home. In the new PSA, Pierre-Paul and Chairman Kaye deliver a powerful message about the importance of children never handling fireworks, all consumers staying away from professional-grade fireworks and safely using consumer fireworks.

While Pierre-Paul was attempting to relight a firework, the device exploded in his hand before he could react. He lost an index finger and part of his thumb, and was required to have reconstructive surgery to save his middle finger. Since the tragic incident, Pierre-Paul has pledged to warn others about fireworks dangers. Because 70 percent of all injuries with fireworks occur during the 30 days surrounding July 4th, CPSC and Pierre-Paul are teaming up to get the message out before, during and after the holiday.

“Anyone doubting the danger fireworks can pose need only look at JPP’s hand and listen to his story,” said Chairman Kaye.  “JPP’s personal experience and connection with fans and families nationwide will bring much needed attention to these dangers and, ultimately, help prevent deaths and injuries from fireworks. CPSC has new data indicating that there were 11 deaths and nearly 12,000 ER-treated injuries from fireworks in 2015–the highest number in 15 years.  With more states relaxing their laws and allowing more types of fireworks to be purchased and used by consumers, we need to do more to prevent kids and adults from being rushed to the hospital like JPP experienced.”

In CPSC’s new fireworks report, 9 of the 11 deaths involved reloadable aerial devices, a professional grade fireworks device that can quickly result in tragedy, when used incorrectly. In 2015, the deadliest fireworks incidents most often involved males older than 20. Young adults between the ages of 15 and 19 accounted for the highest rate of injuries, followed by children 5 to 9 years of age. About 65 percent of all injuries involved burns from devices such as sparklers, bottle rockets and firecrackers.

Consumers who decide to purchase consumer fireworks are urged to follow these safety steps:

  • Make sure consumer fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them. (View Fact Sheet)
  • Never use or make professional grade fireworks.
  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks, including sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees°F─hot enough to melt some metals.
  • Do not buy fireworks that are packaged in brown paper, which is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays.
  • Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Move to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy, in case of fire or other mishap.
  • Never try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Soak them with water and throw them away.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Light fireworks one at a time, then move away from them quickly.
  • After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding the device to prevent a trash fire.

Fireworks Information Center

Fireworks Injuries

fireworks injury infographicFireworks are synonymous with our celebration of Independence Day. Yet, the thrill of fireworks can also bring pain. 230 people on average go the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries in the month around the July 4th holiday.

“U.S. Chemical Safety Board Releases New Safety Video, “Dangerously Close: Explosion in West, Texas,” Detailing Report Findings and Recommendations on 2013 Fatal West Fertilizer Company Explosion and Fire “

January 29, 2016, Washington, DC – Today the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) released a safety video into the fatal April 17, 2013, fire and explosion at the West Fertilizer Company in West, Texas, which resulted in 15 fatalities, more than 260 injuries, and widespread community damage. The deadly fire and explosion occurred when about thirty tons of fertilizer grade ammonium nitrate (FGAN) exploded after being heated by a fire at the storage and distribution facility.

The CSB’s newly released 12-minute safety video entitled, “Dangerously Close: Explosion in West, Texas,” includes a 3D animation of the fire and explosion as well as interviews with CSB investigators and Chairperson Vanessa Allen Sutherland. The video can be viewed above or on the CSB’s website and YouTube.

Chairperson Sutherland said, “This tragic accident should not have happened. We hope that this video, by sharing lessons learned from our West Fertilizer Company investigation, will help raise awareness of the hazards of fertilizer grade ammonium nitrate so that a similar accident can be avoided in the future.”

The CSB’s investigation found that several factors contributed to the severity of the explosion, including poor hazard awareness and fact that nearby homes and business were built in close proximity to the West Fertilizer Company over the years prior to the accident. The video explains that there was a stockpile of 40 to 60 tons of ammonium nitrate stored at the facility in plywood bins on the night of the explosion. And although FGAN is stable under normal conditions, it can violently detonate when exposed to contaminants in a fire.

In the video, Team Lead Johnnie Banks says, “We found that as the city of West crept closer and closer to the facility, the surrounding community was not made aware of the serious explosion hazard in their midst. And the West Fertilizer Company underestimated the danger of storing fertilizer grade ammonium nitrate in ordinary combustible structures.”

The CSB investigation concludes that this lack of awareness was due to several factors, including gaps in federal regulatory coverage of ammonium nitrate storage facilities. The video details safety recommendations made to OSHA and the EPA to strengthen their regulations to protect the public from hazards posed by FGAN.

Finally, the video explains how inadequate emergency planning contributed to the tragic accident. The CSB found that the West Volunteer Fire Department was not required to perform pre-incident planning for an ammonium nitrate-related emergency, nor were the volunteer firefighters required to attend training on responding to fires involving hazardous chemicals. As a result, the CSB made several safety recommendations to various stakeholders, including the EPA, to better inform and train emergency responders on the hazards of FGAN and other hazardous chemicals.

Chairperson Vanessa Allen Sutherland said, “The CSB’s goal is to ensure that no one else be killed or injured due to a lack of awareness of hazardous chemicals in their communities. If adopted, the Board’s recommendations can help prevent disasters like the one in West, Texas.”

The CSB is an independent federal agency charged with investigating serious chemical accidents. The agency’s board members are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. CSB investigations look into all aspects of chemical accidents, including physical causes such as equipment failure as well as inadequacies in regulations, industry standards, and safety management systems. The Board does not issue citations or fines but makes safety recommendations to companies, industry organizations, labor groups, and regulatory agencies such as OSHA and EPA. Please visit our website, www.csb.gov

For more information, contact Communications Manager Hillary Cohen at public@csb.gov or by phone at 202.446.8095.

 

“CSB Names Poor Design and Failure to Test Dust Collection System Among Causes of U.S. Ink New Jersey Flash Fire that Burned Seven Workers in 2012; OSHA Again Urged to Issue New Combustible Dust Regulations”

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OSHA Again Urged to Issue New Combustible Dust Regulations  

East Rutherford, New Jersey, January 15, 2015—The flash fire that burned seven workers, one seriously, at a U.S. Ink plant in New Jersey in 2012 resulted from the accumulation of combustible dust inside a poorly designed dust collection system that had been put into operation only four days before the accident, an View of Dust Collector at US Ink investigation by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) has found.

In a report released today and scheduled to be presented for board consideration at a CSB public meeting in East Rutherford this evening, the investigation team concludes that the system was so flawed it only took a day to accumulate enough combustible dust and hydrocarbons in the duct work to overheat, ignite spontaneously, cause an explosion in the rooftop dust collector, and send back a fiery flash that enveloped seven workers.

U.S. Ink is a subsidiary of Sun Chemical, a global graphic arts corporation which has some 9,000 employees worldwide. U.S. Ink manufactures black and color-based inks at seven U.S. locations including East Rutherford. A key step in the ink production process is mixing fine particulate solids, such as pigments and binders, with liquid oils in agitated tanks.

CSB Chairperson Rafael Moure-Eraso said, “The findings presented in the CSB report under consideration show that neither U.S. Ink nor its international parent company, Sun Chemical, performed a thorough hazard analysis, study, or testing of the system before it was commissioned in early October 2012. The original design was changed, the original company engineer retired prior to completion of the project, and no testing was done in the days before the operation of the black-ink pre-mixing room production was started up.”

The CSB found that the ductwork conveyed combustible, condensable vapors above each of three tanks in the mixing room, combining with combustible particles of dust of carbon black and Gilsonite used in the production of black ink.

Investigation Supervisor Johnnie Banks said, “The closed system air flow was insufficient to keep dust and sludge from accumulating inside the air ducts.  But to make matters worse, the new dust collector design included three vacuuming hoses which were attached to the closed-system ductwork, used to pick up accumulated dust, dirt and other material from the facility’s floor and other level surfaces as a ‘housekeeping’ measure.  The addition of these contaminants to the system ductwork doomed it to be plugged within days of startup.”

The report describes a dramatic series of events that took place within minutes on October 9, 2012.  About 1 p.m., an operator was loading powdered Gilsonite, a combustible carbon-containing mineral, into the bag dump station near the pre-mixing room when he heard what he called a strange, squealing sound.  He checked some gauges in the control room, and as he was leaving he saw a flash fire originating from the bag dump where he had just been working.  He left to notify his supervisor.  At about that same time, other workers heard a loud thump that shook the building.

In response to the flash from the bag dump station and the thump, workers congregated at the entrance to the pre-mix room.  One worker spotted flames coming from one of the tanks.  He obtained a fire extinguisher but before he could use it, he saw an orange fireball erupt and advance toward him.  He squeezed the handle on the extinguisher as he jumped from some stairs, just as the flames engulfed him and six other employees who were standing in the doorway.

The CSB determined that overheating and spontaneous ignition which likely caused the initial flash fire at the bag dump was followed by ignition of accumulated sludge-like material and powdery dust mixture of Gilsonite and carbon black in the duct work above tank 306.  Meantime, the dust collection system, which had not been turned off, continued to move burning material up toward the dust collector on the building’s roof, where a sharp pressure rise indicated an imminent explosion. This was contained by explosion suppression equipment, but the resulting pressure reversed the air flow, back to the pre-mix room, where a second flash fire occurred, engulfing the workers.

Investigation Supervisor Banks said, “The new system was not thoroughly commissioned.  There was no confirmation of whether the system would work as configured, missing opportunities to find potential hazards.  The design flaws were not revealed until the dust explosion.”

The report’s safety management analysis points to a lack of oversight by company engineers of the work done by installation contractors. The company chose not to perform a process hazard analysis or management of change analysis – required by company policy for the installation of new processing equipment – because it determined it was merely replacing a previous dust collection system in kind.  However, the new system in fact was of an entirely different design.

Considering the emergency response following the flash fire and dust collector explosion, CSB Investigators found that while workers had received training in emergency response situations, they did not follow those procedures, because U.S. Ink had not developed and implemented an effective hazard communication and response plan.  A fire coordinator was designated to use the public address system to announce a fire and also pull the alarm box. But because the system was not shut down immediately after the first flash fire, he was among the injured and could not perform his duties.

The CSB report’s regulatory analysis highlights the need for a national general industry combustible dust standard which the agency has long recommended that OSHA promulgate, putting in on the CSB’s “Most Wanted” list in 2013, following years of urging action as dust explosions continued to occur in industry.  The report, if adopted by the board, would reiterate the CSB’s original recommendation to OSHA, and also recommend OSHA broaden the industries it includes in its current National Emphasis Program on mitigating dust hazards, to include printing ink manufacturers.

Chairperson Moure-Eraso said, “Although OSHA’s investigation of this accident deemed it a combustible dust explosion, it did not issue any dust-related citations, doubtless hampered by the fact that there is no comprehensive combustible dust regulatory standard.  In U.S. Ink’s case – and thousands of other facilities with combustible dust – an OSHA standard would likely have required compliance with National Fire Protection Association codes that speak directly to such critical factors as dust containment and collection, hazard analysis, testing, ventilation, air flow, and fire suppression.”

The CSB report notes that the volume of air flow and the air velocity in the company’s dust collection system was significantly below industry recommendations – which, in the absence of a federal combustible dust regulation, are essentially voluntary.  The report states the ductwork design did not comply in several respects with guidelines set by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) Industrial Ventilation Manual.  Nor did the system’s design, the CSB said, comply with the voluntary requirements of NFPA 91, which states: “All ductwork shall be sized to provide the air volume and air velocity necessary to keep the duct interior clean and free of residual material.”

Chairperson Moure-Eraso said, “A national combustible dust standard would include requirements to conform to what are now largely voluntary industry guidelines and would go far in preventing these dust explosions.”

The report cites gaps in New Jersey’s regulatory system, noting the state’s Uniform Construction Code Act has adopted the International Building Code (which references NFPA dust standards) but has also exempted “manufacturing, production and process equipment.”  A proposed CSB recommendation to New Jersey’s Department of Community Affairs calls on the regulatory agency to revise the state’s administrative code to remove this exemption so that dust handling equipment would be designed to meet national fire code requirements.  The state is also urged to implement training for local code officials as local jurisdictions enforce the code, and to promulgate a regulation that requires all occupancies handling hazardous materials to inform the local enforcement agency of any type of construction or installation of equipment at an industrial or manufacturing facility.

Chairperson Moure-Eraso said, “Events leading to this accident began even before the earliest planning stages, when the company failed to properly oversee the design, construction and testing of a potentially hazardous system.  The victims have suffered the consequences.  We hope our recommendations are adopted so that these terrifying industrial dust explosion accidents will stop.”

The CSB is an independent federal agency charged with investigating industrial chemical accidents. The agency’s board members are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. CSB investigations look into all aspects of chemical accidents, including physical causes such as equipment failure as well as inadequacies in regulations, industry standards, and safety management systems.

The Board does not issue citations or fines but does make safety recommendations to plants, industry organizations, labor groups, and regulatory agencies such as OSHA and EPA. Visit our website, www.csb.gov.

For more information, contact Communications Manager Hillary Cohen, cell 202-446-8094 or Sandy Gilmour, Public Affairs, cell 202-251-5496.

“The Dangers of Combustible Dust” – Infographic

Dangers of Combustible Dust

Aerodyne Environmental announces its newest infographic regarding the dangers from dust in industrial dust environments. The infographic address how an industrial dust-collection system can preserve worker health and even save lives.

The dangers of dust often remain as unseen as the small particles themselves. Not only are health hazards associated with dust but poor dust control can also impact quality. Many of these uncollected dust particles are explosive and can create a safety hazard.

In fact, there have been 350 industrial facility explosions traced to inadequate dust collection since 1980. The infographic describes how companies can increase the safety of their manufacturing process with  industrial dust-collection systems.

To view the infographic, visit www.dustcollectorhq.com/infographics/dust-collection-dangers.html.

 

“More Proof That Battery Storage in Junk Drawers Leads to Home Fires”

 

SALT LAKE CITY — Who would have thought that those batteries rolling around in your kitchen junk drawer might burn your house down?

It happened to a Colorado family, and that wasn’t the first time.

Few people routinely give batteries the respect they deserve. Batteries get tossed into junk drawers where they roll around with all sorts of things like keys, paper clips, loose notes, and paper scraps.

But given the right circumstances, those junk drawers can become tinder boxes waiting to ignite.

Dave Miller said he lost everything when a fire ripped through his Fort Collins, Colo. home. Just days later, he shot video to explain what happened. He had swapped out the 9-volt batteries in his smoke alarms, placing the old ones in a paper bag for recycling.

“Two weeks later, when I set a laundry basket next to these, it bumped the bag. Two batteries touched each other, shorted the terminals, and that’s what burned down my house,” he explained.

Miller said the revelation came after a long day with a fire investigator trying to track down the fire’s source.

“We couldn’t come up with anything, and I finally mentioned the only thing I had up there was a bag with a couple of 9-volt batteries in it. He went, ‘Wait a minute. I’ve seen this before.’ And he told me he had seen other fires started by 9 volts. It just astounded me. I had no idea,” Miller said.

Miller said he took the fire hard, because he felt responsible.

“I’m the recycle nut. I’m the one who put the batteries out there, so I just felt like I had let my family down,” he said.

Austin Dransfield of Interstate Batteries said, “If these batteries are in there with some sort of metal, and these batteries get connected together in any way, they will short out and cause an extreme amount of heat,” he said.

He said all batteries have a positive and negative terminal. If a paper clip or a key or another battery should touch those two terminals, it creates a flow of electricity. It only takes minutes, as Dransfield showed us with keys and a 9-volt battery, for that flow to generate significant heat.

“With a junk drawer, you have all sorts of stuff in there. If anything is in there, you can catch fire with anything in that drawer,” he explained.

Jasen Asay of the Salt Lake City Fire Department said it’s unusual for batteries to combust, but it’s a definite possibility. He said all batteries present some risk, but 9 volts are more troublesome for a simple reason.

“Nine-volt batteries have the positive and negative ports right there on the top of the battery,” he said.

Miller said since the fire, he’s turned his experience into a positive by getting the word out through his fire safety videos and public speaking. Still, he encounters skeptics.

“People have come up to me and said, ‘Don’t worry. I’m always very careful with my car batteries.’ It’s not a car battery. I’m talking about the little 9-volt batteries,” he said.

“Given the perfect storm, they can produce a spark,” Asay said.

He recommends storing any battery in the original packaging, and not letting it roll around. “If you have a battery and don’t need to use it yet, there’s really no use in taking it out of the packaging,” he said.

For loose batteries, both Asay and Dransfield said the solution is simple: Take a piece of electrical tape and cover the ends so if they do touch, a short will not be created.

“We even here, when we’re recycling them, we actually have to tape the contacts just to prevent any sort of chance of shorting out and causing a fire,” Dransfield said.

Miller now keeps a roll of electrical tape anywhere he keeps batteries.

Source: Bill Gephardt & KSL TV – Utah

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