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fire 132 articles

Twice as many fires reported on Thanksgiving Day from 2006-08

Unless you’re a turkey, you probably don’t think of Thanksgiving as a dangerous holiday, but according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the special day is fraught with fire hazards. In each year from 2006 to 2008, 4,300 Thanksgiving Day fires erupted in the United States, causing 10 deaths, 50 injuries, and $30 million in property loss, says a new Thanksgiving Day fire report released by the FEMA’s U.S. Fire Administration (USFA). The rate of fire and injury nearly doubled on Thanksgiving Day compared to all other days of the year in 2006, 2007, and 2008. That’s because many ... Read More

minimize risk of truck fire with trucking association’s guidelines

Last week we reported that the American Trucking Association’s Technology and Maintenance Council (TMC) established a task force to investigate the causes of commercial truck fires and prescribe possible solutions. The issue has taken on a special urgency because truck fires today tend to be much more intense than they were when cabs sported utilitarian interiors that were less conducive to heat and flame. Modern cab and sleeper trim, new composites and flammable glues invite the small spark of an electrical short or the heat of two crossed wires to ignite a fire and engulf all parts of the truck ... Read More

Task Force studies why truck fires are more intense, recommends solutions

The American Trucking Associations’ Technology and Maintenance Council (TMC) has established a Task Force to investigate the causes of commercial motor vehicle fires and to identify measures to prevent them. According to one electrical expert and Council contributor, Bruce Purkey of Purkey’s Fleet Electric, truck fires are especially dangerous in today’s trucks for reasons that aren’t entirely clear. “I don’t know if there are more truck fires today or just that, now, they are catastrophic when they happen,” Purkey told Heavy Duty Trucking magazine. “It used to be that when a fire happened, you’d burn up some wires and paint, ... Read More

Home improvement books recalled for incorrect electrical wiring info

While most safety recalls involve products with defects that may cause direct physical harm to consumers, this week the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced a recall of books that give bad advice and may cause consumers to hurt themselves. The CPSC says that nearly a million home improvement books of various titles published by Oxmoor House of Birmingham, Alabama, contain faulty instructions for electrical wiring. Technical diagrams and wiring instructions in the books could lead consumers to incorrectly install or repair electrical wiring, posing risk of electrical shock and fire hazard to consumers. Although no injuries have been reported ... Read More

Defective cords on medical devices may cause serious injury, death

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is investigating certain types of medical devices made by Hospira Inc. and Abbott Nutrition after 122 reports of sparking, charring and fires from the power cords used with the devices. The announcement follows a recall announcement and FDA warning last August on some medical devices made by Hospira Inc. because of faulty electrical cords that could lead to serious injury or death. The companies’ investigations of these reports determined that the power cords prongs may crack and fail at or inside the plug. The potential risks from these power cord failures include electrical shock, ... Read More

Chrysler, GM bankruptcy deals strip victims of legal recourse

Dozens of accident victims and their lawyers made their way to Washington, DC, and the halls of Capitol Hill last week, urging lawmakers and the Obama administration to protect their ability to pursue medical claims against Chrysler and General Motors. In a May 31 ruling, U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Arthur Gonzalez overruled objections lodged by the Ad Hoc Committee of Consumer-Victims of Chrysler LLC and other consumer groups when he approved the sale of Chrysler to Italy’s Fiat, free and clear of outstanding legal claims against the U.S. car manufacturer. Gonzalez effectively ruled that only liabilities that promote Fiat’s commercial ... Read More

Kentucky investigators urge nursing homes to ban cell phones

Members of the staff at Bluegrass Care and Rehabilitation Center in Lexington, Kentucky, didn’t think their joke would get out of hand. They would attach sexually explicit song lyrics to photos of residents taken with their cell phone cameras and send them as text messages to other employees. “We were just having fun,” an employee told state investigators. “Everybody was on the cell phone 24/7.” The Inspector General’s Office of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services didn’t see the humor in the incidents and has requested Kentucky facilities to prevent the same such use of cell phones among staff. ... Read More

Seat belts on commercial buses, a new NHTSA regulation

Passenger seat belts will soon be a requirement on commercial buses – a measure that the National Transportation Safety Board has long advocated but didn’t have the authority to enforce. Yesterday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which has the legal authority to establish transportation safety standards, told Congress that it will require commercial motor coaches to have safety belts for their passengers. The new safety requirement comes after a series of fatal bus crashes that received national publicity. After analyzing the events surrounding a 2008 Utah bus rollover in which nine people died and 43 were injured, the NTSB ... Read More

Nursing home staff fired for taking inappropriate photos of residents

Several staff members at a Kentucky nursing home were fired recently after an investigation found that employees had taken inappropriate photos and made audio recordings of residents at the facility, attached them to songs with sexual lyrics, and circulated them to other employees at the nursing home, according to the Lexington (Kentucky) Herald-Leader. Interviews with Bluegrass Care and Rehabilitation Center in Lexington Kentucky staff including aides, licensed staff and housekeepers revealed that no one recognized the photos and recordings as abuse and as a result did not report the incident to management. The nursing home received a Type A citation ... Read More

Ford memo: the smoking gun

The Ford Pinto is a car that became notoriously associated with fuel-fed crash fires in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when the compact vehicle showed a propensity for catching fire when involved in even low-speed crashes. In 1977, a Ford Memo revealed that the company was aware of design problems with the Pinto that made it more susceptible to crash-related fires, but that it had deemed the overall benefits of redesigning the automobile – which included preventing an average of 180 deaths each year – to be not worth the cost – an estimated $11 per automobile. Company documents ... Read More