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Author: Sarah Owen

Iowa Knows: Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives

Iowa Knows: Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives

The number of fire deaths that occur each year nationwide is widely published. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Fire Loss in the United States During 2011 report, civilian home fire deaths have decreased 58% from 6,015 in 1978 to 2,520 in 2011. That is why the installation and use of smoke alarms are promoted by fire and life safety experts around the world. Iowa State Fire Marshal (SFM) Ray Reynolds knows this, as he has consistently demonstrated since assuming Read more [...]
Danger Lurking in Schools?

Danger Lurking in Schools?

Yesterday, an elementary school in Atlanta, GA was evacuated due to a carbon monoxide (CO) leak that apparently resulted from a faulty furnace. CO levels spiked to 1,700 parts per million, far exceeding levels at which CO alarms and detectors would have triggered. News reports indicate that 43 children and 10 adults were sent to local hospitals to be evaluated for CO poisoning after experiencing common symptoms of CO, including headaches, nausea, and stomachaches. The school did not have CO detectors Read more [...]
"HIMYM" May Get Laughs, but Sets Bad Example for Fire Safety

"HIMYM" May Get Laughs, but Sets Bad Example for Fire Safety

Now, it is obvious that not everyone intuitively knows that this week (October 7-13) is Fire Prevention Week, but the CBS hit comedy "How I Met Your Mother" goofed big time in last night's episode ("Nannies"). For folks tuning in to laugh at the latest relationship escapades of Ted, Barney, Marshall, Lily and Robin, there were plenty of entertaining moments to be had. What was not funny, however, was Marshall removing the batteries from several smoke detectors to Read more [...]
The Increasing Relevance of a Formerly Little-Noticed Agency

The Increasing Relevance of a Formerly Little-Noticed Agency

It has been nearly four years since enactment of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA; Public Law 110-314), landmark legislation to enhance the authority and resources of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), and nearly one year since enactment of HR 2715 (Public Law 112-28), legislation to "fix" some of the problems inherent in CPSIA. In that time, the CPSC has gone from a little-noticed agency to one that is in the thick of things, promulgating Read more [...]
Good for Worker Safety…What’s OSHA’s Excuse?

Good for Worker Safety…What’s OSHA’s Excuse?

In his comments on the recent publication of the final rule modernizing the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), Dr. David Michaels, head of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA),  said that workers not only have a “right to know” the chemical hazards confronting them in the workplace, but with the changes to HCS, now have the ability to understand these hazards and how to address them.  If a worker’s “right to understand” hazards is Read more [...]
Congressional Review Act: Great Idea, Limited Success

Congressional Review Act: Great Idea, Limited Success

The Congressional Review Act (Public Law 104-121), enacted in 1996 as part of the "Contract with America," allows Congress to review, by means of an expedited legislative process, new federal regulations issued by government agencies. In addition, the law provides a mechanism whereby Congress can overrule a regulation by passage of a joint resolution. Measures of disapproval cannot be filibustered in the Senate, so they can be cleared with simple majority votes in each chamber of Congress. Read more [...]
States vs. the Silent Killer

States vs. the Silent Killer

"States push to catch winter's silent killer with carbon monoxide alarms" -- so said the front page of USA Today yesterday (November 29). This article brings much welcome national attention to a critical life safety issue: the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning. To date, over 30 states have enacted laws or codes requiring the installation of carbon monoxide (CO) detection devices in various residential occupancies. To see if your state is one of them, please click here. Why? Read more [...]
Protect Your Family From Fire

Protect Your Family From Fire

This week (October 9-15) is Fire Prevention Week, and life safety advocates across the nation are reminding Americans to "Protect Your Family From Fire!" First established in 1922 to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 that killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, and destroyed more than 17,400 structures, Fire Prevention Week has been observed every year since during the Sunday through Saturday period in which October 9 (the day the Chicago Fire did most of Read more [...]
Jobs, Jobs, Who’s Got the Jobs?

Jobs, Jobs, Who’s Got the Jobs?

As Congress prepares to return from its summer recess and President Obama rolls up his sleeves after a vacation in Martha's Vineyard, there is one question on people's minds. What are they going to do about JOBS? Without a doubt, Americans remain very concerned about the nation's current economic conditions and jobs (or lack thereof). And they are looking to Washington for leadership, not continued bipartisan sniping. While the private sector will, as it always has, lead the renewed Read more [...]
The Other Dangers of Irene

The Other Dangers of Irene

The name "Irene" derives from the Greek word eirene, which means "peace." But from what meteorologists at the National Weather Service and others are telling us, Hurricane Irene (poised to bully her way up the East Coast this weekend) is anything but peaceful. Warning and watches have been posted up and down the eastern seaboard, and evacuations along the coast and other low-lying levels have commenced. And while preparing for flooding and wind damage is certainly critical Read more [...]