All across the United States, Canada, and beyond, deeply controversial “smart meters” for electricity have been catching on fire and even exploding, sparking a major scandal that in at least one Canadian province has forced authorities to start removing all of the more than 100,000 devices. In Oregon, utility officials also announced that tens of thousands of smart meters were being replaced following numerous reports of fires. With the manufacturer saying the problems are systemic in the industry, experts predict more disasters to come as governments continue foisting the “smart grid” on the world in the face of growing opposition.
With the latest news of fires and explosions, it now seems to critics and politicians that in the frantic rush to impose the "smart" electric meters in defiance of public resistance, serious safety concerns were pushed aside — along with growing fears about the health and privacy implications surrounding the technology. With the latest news about the potentially deadly consequences, officials across the continent are scrambling for answers, and taxpayers are likely to be stuck with a massive bill.
Opinions on this subject will vary.
This recall involves Giggles International Animated Sing-Along Monkey toys. The monkey is made of brown and beige plush material and is about 9 inches tall. The toy is designed to hold a song book titled "5 Little Monkeys" and to sing the song when activated. A red music note is on the bottom of the monkey's right foot and the face of a child with its hands covering its eyes are on the bottom of the money's left foot. Recalled sing-along monkeys were manufactured between 6/7/2014 and 7/5/2014 and have batch code GP1410028. The manufacture date in the M/D/YYYY format and batch code are printed on the bottom of a white fabric label attached near the base of the monkey's tail. The monkey toys came in a tan colored box with words "Animated Sing-Along Monkey," "Sing along with me!" and "I play peek-a-boo with you!" on the front. The age advisory "For ages 3+" and the warning that batteries are included are also on the front of the box.
See the full details at CPSC.
The recall involves PowerPact J-frame molded case circuit breakers with thermal-magnetic trip units. The circuit breakers are made of black plastic and have a three-position breaker handle that indicates whether the breaker is off, on or tripped. The recalled circuit breakers are rated for 150 to 250 amps, have interruption ratings of D, G, J, L and R. They were manufactured in two pole and three pole configurations with either lug-in/lug-out or plug-in (I-Line) style connectors.
Brand name “Schneider Electric” or “Square D” is on a yellow sticker above the breaker handle and on the top of a label on the side of the circuit breaker. A label on the front of the circuit breaker to the left of the breaker handle has the catalog number at the top. The number also appears on a label on the side of the breaker. Schneider Electric catalog numbers begin with “NJ” and Square D catalog numbers begin with “J.”
A label on the front of the circuit breaker to the right of the breaker handle has the date code in the lower right corner. Recalled circuit breakers were manufactured from March 26, 2014 through September 26, 2014 and have date codes 14131 through 14395. The date codes are in the YYWWD format (example: 14131 = year 2014, week 13, day of the work week 1/ Monday).
In the new issue of NFPA Journal®, President Jim Shannon said the Association will focus on the leading causes of home fires, including cooking. "We also need to continue to push hard for home fire sprinklers. That's still a large priority for NFPA, and we plan to work very aggressively in 2014 on our residential sprinkler initiative," he said.
Fire Protection Research Foundation report: "Development of Standardized Cooking Fires for Evaluation of Prevention Technologies: Data Analysis"Authors: Joshua Dinaburg, Daniel Gottuk – Hughes Associates, Inc.
Beginning in 2010, the Foundation began a program to review the potential effectiveness of various technologies potentially capable of preventing cooking range top fires. A workshop conducted as part of that project considered the emergence of commercial products on the market and identified the need to develop standardized tests and criteria to evaluate the performance and effectiveness of such devices. This report summarizes and analyzes the results of two live fire test series conducted to form the basis for such a test protocol.
Cooking-equipment related fires are a leading cause of U.S. fire loss. Beginning in the mid 1980’s, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Consumer Product Safety Commission, and home appliance industry undertook a comprehensive review of strategies to mitigate death, injury and property loss from cooking fires. All strategies were engineering strategies defined by a condition to be detected (e.g., overheat of pan or food in pan, absence of person actively engaged in cooking process, early-stage fire on stovetop) and an action to be taken (e.g., shut off cooking heat, sound alarm, suppress fire). As part of this study, a comprehensive review of existing technologies was done.
In 2010, the Foundation conducted a study supported by NIST to develop this action plan. The study focused particularly on prevention technologies suitable for use on or with home cooking appliances. and consisted of a literature and technology review; the development of an enhanced technology evaluation methodology based on an in-depth review of cooking fire statistics; and the evaluation of currently available technologies using this methodology. The project culminated with a one day workshop of 35 leaders from the kitchen appliance, fire service, and user communities who met to review the above findings and identify gaps in information. The highest priority action item identified at that workshop toward implementation of commercially available cooking fire mitigation technologies was: "Develop standard fire scenarios and create test methods and performance criteria which can feed into standards development"
This report presents the results of a follow on project sponsored by NIST to gather data towards this goal.
Download the report. (PDF, 2 MB)
Kia Motors America (Kia) is recalling certain model year 2014 Kia Forte vehicles manufactured December 5, 2012, to April 17, 2014. In the affected vehicles, the cooling fan resistor may overheat and melt.
See full details at NHTSA
Trivia Questions of the Month
The trivia questions are not only fun but informative. Who doesn't like learning something new, right?
Trivia question for August
The first propulsion means for fire pumps, whether they were hand or steamed powered, consisted of human beings pulling the pump. Fire crews from the early 1900s were carried around by people, the apparatus had little room for personnel, they moved slowly and when they arrived at the scene, the firefighters were often too tired to do anything. Luckily, in most cases, the fires died out before they even arrived, so there was little left for them to do.
Towards mid-1800s, and the age of steam, the introduction of the paid firefighters made room for horses to be largely put to use and pull the fire pumps. This improved the response time of the fire brigades, but still didn't solve the firefighter transport issue. People literally ran to the fires and, despite the fact that the pump was already there; they had some resting to do before getting to it. The introduction of running boards and back steps, tail boards, later solved this problem as well.
The continuing development in fire-fighting technologies and equipment made life a lot harder for the horses. The increase in weight of the fire engine slowly turned the horses as ineffective as the people were before them. Often, after half a mile or so, the travel speed would decrease dramatically. This called for a new means of propelling the engines.
Enter the self-propelled fire equipment. The first self-propelled, steam powered fire engine in the US came to be in 1841 and it was built in New York. Strangely enough, it didn't catch on. Firefighters considered such a propulsion solution dangerous and unreliable. It took decades before the steam powered fire engines really caught on.
However, the reign of the steam didn't last long. Despite the fact that steam powered fire engines were still in use, here and there, up until the 1920’s, motorized fire trucks became more and more common by the early 1900’s. Horse-drawn or steam powered engines started being turned into motorized fire engines. By 1913, Ahrens-Fox Manufacturing Company from Cincinnati was the leading company when it came to the conversion. From 1911, Mack Trucks began producing fire trucks, slowly becoming the most famous manufacturer in this field.
Many take the motorized fire equipment we use today for granted. Yes it is big and shiny and very impressive, BUT, when was the first motorized fire engine used and where was it used? What was the first fire department in California to become motorized?
I could ask that you trust to memory, but I know many will go to their computer for help. Good luck.
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