Fire Prevention Week (October 8-14, 2017) has been commemorated since 1922, making it the longest running public health observance in the U.S. The week always includes the date of October 9, in remembrance of the Great Chicago Fire that destroyed more than 17,400 structures, left 100,000 homeless, and killed 250.
While legend has it that “Mrs. O’Leary’s cow” started the blaze by knocking over a lantern in a barn, a Chicago Tribune reporter later admitted that he had made the story up. The real origin of the fire is still unknown, although there are a number of theories, including a meteorite.
Few fires today, if any, are started by careless bovine or falling space debris. Cooking equipment is by far the most common culprit, followed by heating equipment, electrical faults, intentional fires and smoking.
Is my water safe? That’s the question asked by many Americans these days. After a number of highly publicized water quality issues around the country, a recent Gallup poll showed that 63 percent of the population is concerned a “great deal” about water drinking quality, with many rating it a higher worry than air quality and climate change.
While the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maintains that America’s drinking water remains “among the safest in the world,” a recent report shows that it’s not without issues. In an extensive effort, News21 – an investigative journalism project backed by the Carnegie Corporation and the James L. Knight Foundation – analyzed 680,000 EPA violations from the last 10 years to discover if U.S.-based water treatment facilities were falling short of protecting the nation’s water supply. The findings weren’t good. Continue reading
For U.S. residents along the Atlantic or Gulf of Mexico coast, hurricane season officially began June 1. If the latest projections prove to be true, this year will see an above average number of storms. In fact, Tropical Storm Arlene kicked things off a little early on April 20, and there have been four other tropical storms since then.
As we enter peak season, what should coastal residents know about the 2017 hurricane season? Here’s a run down of important predictions and changes. Continue reading
Anne-Marie and her partner spent the better part of a year looking for a dream home in Longmont, CO that fit their budget.
They had a property under contract when they discovered that a former occupant had been a methamphetamine smoker. It was then discovered (through independent testing) that the former occupant was not only smoking meth, but cooking it also. The property’s Housefax Report shows this activity (but to our surprise, the DEA website does not.)
Professional meth lab cleanup contractors estimate that about 90% of meth labs are never discovered, and their tenants will likely never know about their homes’ toxicity. Clean up costs can easily exceed $30,000 to make the home healthy again. But even a cleaned up meth lab can pose serious health risks.
So how can you protect you and your family from this growing epidemic? Always run a Housefax Report first on a property you’re interested in buying or renting. Here are a few other things you need to know….
With Memorial Day almost here and summer just around the corner, chances are you’ll be firing up your outdoor grill soon (if you haven’t already!). In fact, May is National Barbecue Month so there’s no excuse not to break out the charcoal or flip that igniter!
Although humans have been cooking food over an open flame since practically the day after fire was invented, it wasn’t until the 1940s that it caught on in the U.S. as a backyard fun-omena. Early open-air cooking was a challenge, though, as the only grills available at the time – brazier grills – weren’t designed for consistency or safety. Continue reading
It’s said that April showers bring May flowers. But for many residents of the Midwest, record rainstorms that began the last week of April unfortunately brought historic flooding. Parts of Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Arkansas and Louisiana received 10 to 15 inches of rain in 7 days, causing rivers to overrun banks and levees and endanger both lives and property.
Flooding near Pocahontas, AR (Photo credit: CourierNews)
The flood waters caused evacuation of residential and business areas, closed parts of Interstates 44 and 55, and shut down a 14-mile stretch of the Mississippi River. And the storm continued to travel, resulting in flash flood watches for parts of Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Arkansas, Indiana and Ohio. Ten deaths have been attributed to the flooding. Continue reading
Only Housefax Reports Contain 16M Fire Incidents Occurring Before 1999
A house fire, no matter how small or localized, has the ability to impact the whole house, with cascading effects that can linger for a long time. Potential homebuyers need to know if the house they are considering purchasing has had any damage related to a fire including electrical, smoke, water and even mold —not all of which is visible. (Check out the infograph below for more alarming house fire stats.) Continue reading
A pet can make any house feel like a home. Whether they’re running to greet you or lounging by your side, the companionship of a pet – furry, feathered, or scaled – is an amazing experience. As pet owners, it’s our job to keep our pets safe at home, something that’s not always easy to do. In honor of National Pet Day on April 11, we’re sharing five tips for pet safety. Continue reading
Congratulations! You made the big decision to sell your home. You’ve spent your weekends getting your treasure ready for the big day when it finally hits the market.
You’ll soon open your doors to dozens, if not hundreds of wonderful people. Unfortunately, it may also attract less desirable visitors. Your real estate agent understands this and will take precautions on your behalf. As a home seller though, there are things you can do as well.
Here’s a great Home Seller Safety Tips infographic from the California Association of Realtors followed by six additional home seller safety tips:
Image courtesy of California Associate of Realtors
A few residents of a small Wyoming town recently received some bad news. A study with volunteer participants showed higher than normal levels – as much as 10 times the national average – of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) present in participants’ bodies. VOCs have been linked to a number of health issues including problems breathing, rashes, headaches, nosebleeds, and even more serious ailments including cancer and reproductive disorders.
VOCs can come from a variety of sources. However, researchers behind this particular study are concerned about the possibility of VOC-contaminated air and drinking water from nearby natural gas operations. In March, a study by Stanford University researchers found evidence that the fracking operations near the town “have had clear impact to underground sources of drinking water.”
“Fracking” – short for hydraulic fracturing, a process of injecting pressurized water and sand into shale deposits to create fractures that make it easier to extract oil, natural gas, or even water – has been used since the late 1940s. In recent years, the process has come under increased scrutiny by environmental groups that claim fracking produces far-ranging negative consequences, both to the environment and to people who live in the areas where fracking occurs. Continue reading