Bibliography- Lbirch

1. Brooke, C. (2011, November 08). Fire services on alert after smoke detector is blamed for causing TWO blazes. Retrieved April 05, 2018, from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2058922/Firefighters-forced-stop-handing-smoke-alarms-catches-alight-nearly-burns-house.html

Background: This article published by Daily Mail provides two cases in the United Kingdom where the smoke detectors actually caught fire. Fire investigators on the case say they are on the side of caution because of these incidents and are taking the situation very seriously. These detectors were installed professionally by fire services for a fire prevention safety campaign.

How I Used It: I used this article to show that there are cases of faulty detectors that do have the potential to start a fire and can cause harm. This also provides an example of an incident where smoke detectors do the complete opposite of what they are made to do. Even if detectors are professionally installed and are picked by fire services because of reliability they still have the risk of a fire.

2. Reports and statistics about smoke alarms. (n.d.). Retrieved April 18, 2018, from National Fire Protection Agency, https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/By-topic/Smoke-alarms/Reports-and-statistics-about-smoke-alarms

Background: This report focuses on the statistics of fatalities in fires and their relation to smoke detectors. This report by the National Fire Protection Association states “smoke alarms were present in slightly less than three-quarters (73%) of reported home fires and operated in roughly half (53%).” It also states that about three out of five respondents of a survey still use battery operated smoke detectors. Lastly, a main piece of evidence that can be used is that a power-failure, shut-off or disconnect was the leading failure reason for failures of hardwired only smoke alarms (46%).

How I Used It: This source was used to show statistics of fire-related deaths in houses. I used the fact that a home with smoke detectors are safer than homes that do not have them.

3. Lee, A., & Lee, D. (2005, October). Considerations For Installation Of Smoke Alarms On Residential Branch Circuits. Retrieved February 13, 2018 from   https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/acfismoke.pdf

Background: This report covers the facts of smoke detector in houses today, discussing there may be a problem with battery-only alarms because if one alarm detects smoke, only that one will sound. If there is a fire in a remote section of the house, the alarm may not be heard if you are far away from the alarm. One statement in this report shows that some fires start due to overheated wires in detectors from an overload on its current.

How I Used It: This was used by showing there can be some hazardous things in detectors we may not even think of. This can be the fact that with battery-operated detectors, only one detector will go off in an event of a fire while hard-wired fires all will activate. But one hazard a hard-wired detector may possess is the problem of overheated wires with can lead to electrical fires.

4. McGrath, E. (2017, July 11). What Causes Short Circuits?. Retrieved February 13, 2018 from https://www.thespruce.com/what-causes-short-circuits-4118973

Background: Short circuits can be caused by faulty installation of wires. When one wire carrying a current touches another wire, heat, and fire can be made. This is from an overload of current which the wire may not be able to handle.

How I Used It: I used this to show how a short-circuit may cause a smoke detector to catch on fire. Wires may be faulty and can produce extreme heat. I used this to show a professional is needed to safely install smoke detector systems, and if this is not done, the home may be at risk.

5. Cambell, R. (2017, March). Electrical Fires. Retrieved February 3, 2018, from https://www.nfpa.org/-/media/Files/News-and-Research/Fire-statistics/Major-Causes/osHomeElectricalFires.pdf

Background: This report shows statistics about electrical fires in homes. Electrical fires may be the route of detector failures and fires because of the wiring involved. Fire departments responded to over 45,000 reported structure fires which involved electrical failure or malfunction from 2010-2014.  Wiring and related equipment accounted for the great majority of home fires and losses involving electrical distribution and lighting equipment, which was 69% of fires.

How I Used It: I used this to relate detectors to electrical fires, and how common they are. I also used this to show that failure to install wiring correctly will result in a harmful or deadly scenario.

6. Krasnow, B. S. w. (1995, October 29). FIRE STARTS DURING ANNUAL SMOKE DETECTOR WARNING OFFICIALS URGE PEOPLE TO CHECK BATTERIES WHILE CHANGING CLOCKS. Retrieved February 13, 2018 from https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.rowan.edu/docview/394791605/abstract/4BF70D91880C41AFPQ/1?accountid=13605

Background: This article shows a time when a fire started in a house with no smoke detectors at all. The fire claimed the lives of four children, and if there were detectors in the house, the children may have been alerted and evacuated the house safely.

How I Used It: I used this to show how smoke detectors are a necessity and this shows a time they would have been very useful in a house. To use this to show why detectors are very important in homes.

7. Nichols, B. (2014, June 30). How 9-Volt Batteries Can be a Home Hazard. Retrieved February 13, 2018 from http://fireprotectiontesting.com/dangers-of-9-volt-batteries/ 

Background: This article written by Fire Protection Team gives is information about 9-volt batteries and how they can cause a fire. 9-volt batteries are used in detectors, but also as backups in hard-wired detectors. If a metal object, which can be as simple as a pen or paper clip touches a post of the battery, it may short the battery causing heat or fire. There have been fires due to batteries reported across the country and cause a concern to many.

How I Used It: I used this article by showing batteries also have a role in detectors and the possibility they can start fires also. I also used this to show how easy it would be to short a battery, causing extensive heat and creates the potential to start a fire.

8. BU-304a: Safety Concerns with Li-ion. (2018, January 4). Retrieved February 27, 2018, from http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/safety_concerns_with_li_ion 

Background: This article is written to inform the readers about the possible safety concerns of lithium-Ion batteries. These lithium-ion batteries may cause harm to your home, and even possibly yourself in used incorrectly or installed improperly.

How I Used It: I used this article because lithium-ion batteries are used in smoke detectors, and I show this can be another possible way a smoke detector can cause a fire. these batteries can start a fire in other appliances or devices, they could start a fire in smoke detectors also.

9. Common Causes of Electrical Fires. (2012, December). Retrieved February 27, 2018, from http://cmrris.com/news-manufacturing-details/20/common-causes-of-electrical-fires.html

Background: This article is about how electrical fire can start. They can start from physically damaged wires, overloaded circuits, high temperatures, and from other improper uses.

How I Used It: I use this to show how many ways electrical fires can start and relate back to detectors. If a detector is not installed correctly or not installed by a professional, all of these things have a high chance of happening.

10. Home Electrical Fires. (2015, February 4). Retrieved February 27, 2018, from http://www.esfi.org/resource/home-electrical-fires-184

Background: ESFI gives us statistics about home electrical fires and gives the reader electrical and fire safety tips.

How I Used It: I use this by stating the fact about electrical distribution equipment is the third leading cause of house fires, accounting for 51,000 fires and nearly 500 deaths. I use this to show how harmful faulty electrical equipment may be.

11. Lee, A. (2002, June 28). Preliminary Test Results on Lithium Batteries Used In Resident Smoke Alarms. Retrieved February 27, 2018, from https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/lithiumfinal.PDF

Background: This publification gives the reader background on tests done on households with lithium-battries smoke alarms. The things found in these tests show that many households did not have working smoke detectors at all, including some households that had them with no batteries inside.

How I Used It: I used this to show how deadly a home can be if no detectors are inside a house at all. When there are no smoke detectors inside a home, the risk of death from smoke inhalation increases dramatically.

 

Research-LBirch

People around the world live in a very dangerous, harmful world with many things that can go wrong. One safe thing people never notice they have, yet can potentially turn dangerous is smoke detectors. Detectors, whether it is for smoke, heat, or carbon monoxide are one of the most common household appliances. These appliances go unnoticed every day and are not even thought to be harmful or potentially dangerous. The beeping pieces of plastic on the ceiling could turn into a hazard if not cared for or installed properly. Detectors do have many benefits, but only if properly used and maintained. Smoke detectors save many lives annually, but detectors do have dangers that it is trying to prevent in the first place. They have the risk of not alerting when there is a threat of fire or smoke, or worse could start a fire because of improper maintenance, such as the wrong battery being placed inside, bad or old wiring, or simply a manufacturing mistake.

No one can deny smoke detectors are simple but valuable objects for preventing fatal house fires. But smoke detectors don’t always prevent the tragic loss of life. Battery-operated detectors work only when they have fresh, functioning batteries inside. Hard-wired detectors operate only if they’re properly installed and have a constant energy source. Short-circuits in wired models—a more common problem than we like to think—can actually spark fires. Homeowners commonly install detectors incorrectly, or install them correctly but fail to maintain them. Even the best detector cannot do its job correctly if it’s poorly installed or maintained.

It cannot be argued that smoke detectors are a necessity in your home, considering fire departments and fire protection agencies carefully and professionally handle and hand them out. But the risk starts if the installation of the product is not efficient and installed properly. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s “Considerations For Installation Of Smoke Alarms On Residential Branch Circuits”, the proper installation of a detector is essential in order to decrease the risk of fires starting from detectors. Shortages, overheating wires and overloaded circuits are all ways a fire can start at any time if the installation is not done by a qualified professional.

Wires overheating due to excess current in the detector is one of the main issues that can cause an electrical fire. In a shocking report by Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), all home electrical fires account for an estimated 51,000 fires each year, which accounts for nine percent of all house fires. Electrical distribution systems, including the power source cable into the home, the circuit breaker boxes, and the wires supplying current to all electrical fixtures, are the third leading cause of home structure fires. Therefore, it bears investigating how wired smoke detectors might contribute to a fire catastrophe. An article published by CRM Risk lists many ways wiring can start a fire. Physical damage to wires leading to smoke detectors can cause fire at the device; even correct installations can also become damaged or deteriorate with age; overloaded circuits, especially those mishandled amateur home installers, or that use with large fuses and circuit breakers can result in overheated wires, the breakdown of insulation and eventual short circuits. All are intensified by an overuse of electrical devices, leading to the sad but inevitable conclusion that “more smoke detectors make a home fire more likely.”

Short circuits are a common cause of fires, whether it is from the main power source or the detector itself. According to Elizabeth McGrath’s “What Causes Short Circuits“, a short circuit occurs when part of a wire carrying current touches another wire or part of the circuit and gives the electricity a path of less resistance. For example, if a wire with faulty insulation becomes exposed and touches any type of metal, such as a metal light switch, current can flow along the light switch and result in a shock. Short circuits will produce more heat in a circuit and result in burns and electrical fires. In detectors, faulty installation can cause frayed or exposed wires, leading to a burst of energy through the circuit. This burst of energy creates a current into the detector, leading to heat which it cannot handle.

Something else that can actually cause a fire is the batteries used to power the detectors. But in many incidences, an ordinary item that may be found in the “junk drawer” of a house may have a higher risk of catching fire than you think. Fire Protection Team writes that if a metal object touches the posts of the batteries, the battery may short circuit, which creates enough heat to start a fire. There have been reports of this across the country of these batteries actually starting a fire, and enough that homeowners are launching a campaign to provide awareness of this unexpected hazard. In an article by Battery Universitythe author discusses safety concerns of lithium batteries and times where they have failed. “In 2006, a one-in-200,000 breakdown triggered a recall of almost six million lithium-ion packs. Sony, the maker of the lithium-ion cells in question, points out that on rare occasion microscopic metal particles may come into contact with other parts of the battery cell, leading to a short circuit within the cell…” These types of batteries, lithium ions, are the same being used in the detectors in houses today. Non-certified batteries, like the Sony ones, are a concern to many detector makers because they are not the intended battery of use.

One shocking example of this was in the town of Apex, North Carolina when a man was sent to the hospital after the battery inside of the smoke detector got so hot, it exploded and shot battery acid in his face. Raleigh’s news station WRAL reports that Greg Emel was changing a battery after it started to sound in the middle of the night and switched to a low battery chirp. Emel took the battery out but it was too late. Even more shocking than just this one story is that people all over the country have reported exploding batteries in a model of First Alert smoke alarms manufactured before October 2000. In this situation, like many others, a battery was being used that the detector was not intended to have inside. On the inside of Emel’s smoke detector, a sticker recommends a  Duracell battery, which is the exact one that exploded. First Alert posted a “recommendation” on its website a year ago, saying only specific models of Everready batteries should be used. It says other batteries “may bulge or open” inside the alarm. The makers of the detector do not seem they know the correct battery that should be used. Whether this was an off-brand battery in use or even a trusted one like the Duracell battery, the detector reacted negatively and exploded from the heat, causing an injury that could have been worse, like a fire.

This one terrifying event proves detectors are not “fireproof” even if the best plan is used. Chris Brooke from the Daily Mail reports that in 2011 in Humberside, England, the national fire service conducted a nationwide fire prevention campaign to reduce home fires. Of all competing competitors, the trusted Fire Angel ST 620 detector was supplied because of its “ground-breaking” smoke detection technology and its 10-year power pack. It was also supplied because of its quality and reliability to fire and rescue services for this campaign. This detector is now on alert after one caught fire in a home after ideal and professional installation. Despite the high quality and reliability of the detector, this fired occurred after the low battery chirp sounded, then spontaneously bursting into flames. Mrs. Gray, the homeowner said if her daughter Victoria not been at home to quell the flames, or worse, had she been sleeping in the house, a much worse tragedy might have occurred. The installation campaign has been suspended, which is no comfort to the fire professionals, who know full well how precarious are the homes they haven’t served, with their cheaper, less reliable detectors, poorly located, amateurishly installed by inexperienced homeowners. Chris Blacksell, Humberside’s Director of Safety, was forced to admit: “We have contacted every fire service in the country to find out if there have been any other incidents involving detectors [and] have decided to not fit that type of detector until our investigation is complete.”

Poor maintenance and upkeep of detectors can be a major role in a family’s fire safety. It should be added that in hard-wired detectors, batteries are still used as a backup. So if electricity is lost in a household and that backup battery is dead, there will be no way of knowing if there is smoke in a house or not. A deadly example of this is in an article written by Bruce Krasnow, titled “Fire Starts During Annual Smoke Detector Warning…“, which states that a fire started in a house that did not have smoke detectors at all. If there had been any smoke detectors installed, the lives of four children would not have been lost. Fire investigators said that the fire was smoldering long before it ignited, and if a detector was present, the four children would have been alerted and would have been able to get out safely. It is a tragic story that did not need to happen if a smoke detector was properly installed in the home.

The biggest risk a homeowner can take is not having a detector in their house at all. An alarming statistic by the National Fire Protection Agency states, “Three of every five home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.” If there was a detector in any of those homes, the occupants may have been alerted, had time to react, and exit the house. However, the NFPA also reports that in home fires in which the smoke alarms were present but did not operate, 46% of the smoke alarms had missing or disconnected batteries. That is no longer a detector error, but a homeowner error. No matter how professional an electrician may be or how professionally placed of the detector is, if the homeowner does not care for the detector tragedy is bound to happen. If there had been family had been inside of the house, possibly sleeping, the horror of escaping a house fire would have been a reality.

The safest home is protected by detectors using fresh, intact, certified batteries that are regularly inspected. According to Arthur Lee’s report for the U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission, detector makers have made many improvements for these devices in recent years. Detectors can now be found with the battery life of up to 10 years. Cable Organized discusses maintenance of detectors to ensure they perform correctly in the worst situations. You must clean all detectors of dust and contaminant build-up at least twice a year. You must also replace all detectors at least every 10 years, and change batteries yearly while testing them monthly. A rule of thumb to replace batteries are doing it every time you turn your clocks back for daylight savings time. These are all the best ways to prevent any unwanted false alarms, or worse, no detection of a fire in a house. Along with these safety professional safety tips, new and improved detectors are always coming onto the market, usually advancing with technology. In an article by Haramis Electric, these detectors will alert emergency services automatically if a smoke detector is activated in a home. Also, if a homeowner is away from the house, an alert will still be sent to the police dispatch before the fire can spread. 

All the new technology being created creates a better way to prevent overheating or shortage of a detector while detecting smoke efficiently. McGrath states that a short circuit will cause a household breaker to trip, allowing you to see something was shorted out. But there are still some risks and dangers even with this technology and advancing improvements. Internal shortages can happen within a ceiling, which is harder to spot and can lead to a fire if it is not noticed fast enough. As the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission states, there are some techniques being used to cut down electrical fires. Fuses are now being put in place so if overheating does occur, a fuse will be set off, not allowing any more current to go through the circuit. Overheating would be hard to catch, but a small fuse does make it easier to prevent any fires from starting from a detector.

A system of smoke detectors can seem so simple to most homeowners. A professional comes and installs the system, leading to a safe and effective smoke detector system. But these systems are much more than just a bunch of meaningless beeping circles on your ceiling. These detectors go unnoticed because they only mean something when they are going off. Homeowners are interested when they start to go off because of the danger that may be in their house. Some homeowners, however, will not even budge because they might believe it is a false alarm. False alarms are all too common, either because of the batteries inside are starting to die or a detector problem. As a firefighter, most calls our department receives are false alarms triggered because of a dead battery, and after arrival, all occupants are still in the home. I often think, “What if there is a fire?” or “What if all occupants are still inside and they do not realize the risk?” It is a very scary question all fire responders have upon arrival of a call.

A homeowner already worries that fire may break out in their home at any time. To add to the owner’s worries, a safety device is known to alert many of a possible blaze may turn into a time bomb. The wrong wiring or the wrong battery could possibly turn this safety device into a fiery piece of plastic. People should not need to worry about this device along with the many other safety concerns in a home. This seems strange to think about and no one would think that a device used to alert individuals of a fire, could be the reason there is a fire in the first place. As a firefighter, I, like many others, would not think a smoke detector could turn into a ball of flame, even after professional installation, and all the best ways to ensure a safe electrical system. We all see that blinking red light and hear that loud beep, but we never do think it could possibly turn into an inferno on someone.

Refrences

Advantages/Disadvantages of Smart Smoke Detectors. (2016, September 08). Retrieved March 19, 2018, from http://www.haramiselectric.com/blog/advantagesdisadvantages-smart-smoke-detectors/

Brooke, C. (2011, November 08). Fire services on alert after smoke detector is blamed for causing TWO blazes. Retrieved February 13, 2018 from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2058922/Firefighters-forced-stop-handing-smoke-alarms-catches-alight-nearly-burns-house.html 

BU-304a: Safety Concerns with Li-ion. (2018, January 4). Retrieved February 27, 2018, from http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/safety_concerns_with_li_ion 

Common Causes of Electrical Fires. (2012, December). Retrieved February 27, 2018, from http://cmrris.com/news-manufacturing-details/20/common-causes-of-electrical-fires.html

Home Electrical Fires. (2015, February 4). Retrieved February 27, 2018, from http://www.esfi.org/resource/home-electrical-fires-184

How to Maintain Smoke Alarms. (n.d.). Retrieved April 18, 2018, from Cable Organizer, https://www.cableorganizer.com/articles/smoke-alarm-maintenance.html

Krasnow, B. S. w. (1995, October 29). FIRE STARTS DURING ANNUAL SMOKE DETECTOR WARNING OFFICIALS URGE PEOPLE TO CHECK BATTERIES WHILE CHANGING CLOCKS. Retrieved February 13, 2018 from https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.rowan.edu/docview/394791605/abstract/4BF70D91880C41AFPQ/1?accountid=13605

Lee, A., & Lee, D. (2005, October). Considerations For Installation Of Smoke Alarms On Residential Branch Circuits. Retrieved February 13, 2018 from   https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/acfismoke.pdf

McGrath, E. (2017, July 11). What Causes Short Circuits?. Retrieved February 13, 2018 from https://www.thespruce.com/what-causes-short-circuits-4118973

Reports and statistics about smoke alarms. (n.d.). Retrieved April 18, 2018, from National Fire Protection Agency, https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/By-topic/Smoke-alarms/Reports-and-statistics-about-smoke-alarms

Visual Rewrite- Lbirch

Friendship & Mental Health

0:00-0:01

The screen opens with orange words “The Awkward Silence Presents,” most likely the production team. Behind this is some sort of small, furry animal that is stuffed standing on a small log or branch. This stuffed animal, maybe a possum, is most likely sitting on a table and is used as some sort of decoration. This addition seems funny in a sense because it is something a little strange. The possum takes away the seriousness for a time. We can assume this does not take place in present time, because taxidermy is not very popular now. Next to this animal is a picture of a boy in a metallic frame, reminding me of something I may see in my grandparents living room from when my dad was still a kid. To the left of the table where the animal and picture is, there is a tall lamp, which is on, with a green base leading to the lamp shade. Further in the shot is a stone fireplace, which we cannot tell is on or not. There are other decorations on the fireplace.

By the wood paneling in the room behind the animal and picture, this could be a living room of a cabin or home in the woods. This could also be in the mountains because I have not seen a living room of a house look like this. We can conclude this may take place in the 60’s because of the oddities we would not see in a modern home.

0:01-0:04

This scene begins with the words “How to know if you should reach out to a friend.” in yellow letters. We can understand that this may be the message of this ad, receiving help from a friend when in need. We can conclude this scene is taken in the same place as the last one because of the wooden wall paneling of the room. On the walls of the room are two pictures or paintings of outdoors scenes. These pictures remind me of a cabin I once stayed in when I was a kid. In the center of the screen is a man, possibly in his 20’s, sitting with his one ankle on the knee of his other leg. This man is in a tan chair that somewhat resembles a shell. He is wearing a brown turtleneck with tan pants that almost resemble the color of the chair and is wearing shoes, but no socks. His style seems out of date and humorous in a way. It does not seem dressy, but more casual. Maybe this man does not really care how he dresses. Next to the chair is a small table with two more statues or ceramic decorations, and a magazine or comic book. One is some sort of bird, maybe a swan, and the other is what looks like a unicorn.

In the background on the left side of the screen is a dark brown cabinet or table. It is two doors for possibly books. I think maybe books are in there because there is a stack of books on top of this table with a glass duck on top. Maybe the man in this frame has a collection of these magazines. Next to the books is some sort of glass or ceramic statue or decoration, and also another smaller light with a wood base and a shade with a light brown and tan pattern.

Directly behind the man is a tall black box (maybe a speaker), sitting on top of a brown table which matches the other one in the room. Next to the box is a medium size fish tank, maybe 10 gallons, and looks well-kept. There are also more books and also vinyl records or maybe magazines or comics. It is hard to tell from the distance.

The first three or four seconds show this ad has a humorous approach to it, still focusing on the main serious issue. We can conclude this man may be a little “weird”, collecting and keeping strange items. This room could be his definition of a man-cave, or maybe even an office or living room.

0:04-0:05

In this scene, the camera zooms in closer to the man sitting in the chair, so now it is only is upper body in the center of the screen. All that’s left on the sides is the ceramic statue, lamp, and the black box behind the chair. We assume he is now the main focus of this video.

0:05-0:13

The next seven or eight seconds, there are quick scenes of 7 different people who are all talking, but we do not know what about.

The first person is a young black female, maybe in her 20’s, without a shirt on. She looks to be laying down in a bed with white sheets. Her hair is curly, but does not look messy. The second is a black male, also without his shirt on. He may be sweaty because of the light reflecting off of his skin. These two may be in the same room or scene. We cannot tell what is behind the man because the camera is focused on him.

The next scene is quick and there is a women, maybe in her thirties, and she talks for less than a second. The background seems to be a messy room, but is hard to make out because the camera is focused on her.

The next is a younger woman again, early twenties, with straight hair and narrow face. Behind her are golden lettered balloons, but are not focused on enough to tell what they spell out.

The next scene is a young man laying down in a bed with white sheets and a white pillow. He does not have a shirt on. The man after this has the same background as the black man in the second scene. So maybe they are both connected?

The next short scene in of a man with curly hair with gold lettered balloons in the background, like the other woman. These two may be connected also.

After each person is seen, all people repeat one more time, with no changes in background. They all appear to talk, but cannot be heard what is being said. The director of this may include all of these different people to send a message that everyone may have something in common, no matter skin color or gender. We can assume some of these people are in the same room because of the backrounds, but it is not clear if they are significant with each other.

0:13-0:16

After the people are show, the scene goes back to the man sitting in the room, zoomed out to its original position. Everything is in the same place and the man is talking, using his hands to possibly get his point across. This man may be each of the other peoples’ friend, representing he is that person they can talk to. He should not be confused with a shrink, more of a friendly figure.

0:16-0:21

The camera zooms back into the man sitting in the chair, like the second scene.

0:16-0:31

The scene changes to the fish tank that was behind the man in the chair, and three fish are swimming around together. The director could have possibly used this scene to show that everyone does have someone else, even if this is shown by fish swimming together.

Definition Rewrite- Lbirch

Detectors Causing Harm

People around the world live in a very dangerous, harmful world with many things that can go wrong. One of the most dangerous things people have that are potentially dangerous is smoke detectors. Detectors, whether it is for smoke, heat, or carbon monoxide, go unnoticed every day and are not even thought to be harmful or potentially dangerous. The beeping pieces of plastic on your ceiling could turn into a hazard if not cared for or thought about daily. Detectors do have many benefits if properly used, and can save many lives annually. But detectors do have dangers that it is trying to prevent. They have the risk of not alerting when there is a threat of fire or smoke, or could start a fire itself.

It may seem like these detectors are a benefit, considering fire departments and fire protection agencies hand them out. But the risk starts if the installation of the product is not efficient and installed properly. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s “Considerations For Installation Of Smoke Alarms On Residential Branch Circuits,” the proper installation of a detector is essential in order to decrease the risk of fires starting from detectors. Shortages, overheating wires and overloaded circuits can start a fire at any time if the installation is not done correctly. Wires overheating due to excess current in the detector is one of the main issues that does cause electrical fires.

As the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission also states, there are some techniques being used to cut down electrical fires. Fuses are now being put in place so if overheating does occur, a fuse will be set off, not allowing any more current to go through the circuit. Overheating would be hard to catch, but a small fuse does make it easier to prevent any fires from starting from your detectors.

Short circuits are a common cause of fires, which a detector can do. According to Elizabeth McGrath’s “What Causes Short Circuits,” a short circuit occurs when part of a wire carrying current touches another wire or part of the circuit and gives the electricity a path of less resistance. For example, if a wire with faulty insulation becomes exposed and touches a metal light switch, current can flow along the light switch and result in a shock. Short circuits will produce more heat in a circuit and result in burns and electrical fires.

Something else that can actually cause a fire is the batteries used to power the detectors. But in many incidences, an ordinary item that may be found in your “junk drawer” may have a higher risk of catching fire than you think. Fire Protection Team writes that if a metal object touches the posts of the batteries, the battery may short circuit, which creates enough heat to start a fire. There have been reports of this across the country of these batteries actually starting a fire, and enough that homeowners are launching a campaign to provide awareness of this unexpected hazard.

But new technology creates a better way to prevent this also. McGrath states that a short circuit will cause your household breaker to trip, allowing you to see something was shorted out. But there are still some risks and dangers even with this technology and advancing improvements. Internal shortages can happen within your ceiling, which is harder to spot and can lead to a fire if it is not noticed fast enough.

This one terrifying event proves detectors are not “fireproof” even if the best plan is used. Chris Brooke from the Daily Mail reports that in 2011 in Humberside, England, the national fire service conducted a nationwide fire prevention campaign to reduce home fires. Of all competing competitors, the trusted Fire Angel ST 620 detector was supplied because of its “ground-breaking” smoke detection technology and its 10-year power pack. It was also supplied because of its quality and reliability to fire and rescue services for this campaign. This detector is now on alert after one caught fire in a home after ideal and professional installation. Despite the high quality and reliability of the detector, this fired occurred after the low battery chirp sounded, then spontaneously bursting into flames. Mrs. Gray, the homeowner said if her daughter Victoria not been at home to quell the flames, or worse, had she been sleeping in the house, a much worse tragedy might have occurred. The installation campaign has been suspended, which is no comfort to the fire professionals, who know full well how precarious are the homes they haven’t served, with their cheaper, less reliable detectors, poorly located, amateurishly installed by inexperienced homeowners. Chris Blacksell, Humberside’s Director of Safety, was forced to admit: “We have contacted every fire service in the country to find out if there have been any other incidents involving detectors [and] have decided to not fit that type of detector until our investigation is complete.”

Poor maintenance and upkeep of detectors can be a major role in your family’s fire safety. What some do not know is that even hardwired detectors have a battery which is used for backup purposes. If electricity is lost in your household and that backup battery is dead, there will be no way of knowing if there is smoke in your house or not.

A deadly example of this is in an article written by Bruce Krasnow, titled “Fire Starts During Annual Smoke Detector Warning…,” which states that a fire started in a house that did not have smoke detectors at all. If there had been any smoke detectors installed, the lives of four children would not have been lost. Fire investigators said that the fire was smoldering long before it ignited, and if a detector was present, the four children would have been alerted and would have been able to get out safely. It is a tragic story that did not need to happen if a smoke detector was properly installed in the home.

This seems strange to think about. No one would think that a device used to alert individuals that there is fire, could be the reason the fire starts in the first place. As a firefighter, I would not think this at all because of the positives I see, and what many others see also. We all see that blinking red light and hear that loud beep, but never do think about if it is doing more bad than good.

References

Brooke, C. (2011, November 08). Fire services on alert after smoke detector is blamed for causing TWO blazes. Retrieved February 13, 2018 from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2058922/Firefighters-forced-stop-handing-smoke-alarms-catches-alight-nearly-burns-house.html 

Krasnow, B. S. w. (1995, October 29). FIRE STARTS DURING ANNUAL SMOKE DETECTOR WARNING OFFICIALS URGE PEOPLE TO CHECK BATTERIES WHILE CHANGING CLOCKS. Retrieved February 13, 2018 from https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.rowan.edu/docview/394791605/abstract/4BF70D91880C41AFPQ/1?accountid=13605

Lee, A., & Lee, D. (2005, October). Considerations For Installation Of Smoke Alarms On Residential Branch Circuits. Retrieved February 13, 2018 from   https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/acfismoke.pdf

McGrath, E. (2017, July 11). What Causes Short Circuits?. Retrieved February 13, 2018 from https://www.thespruce.com/what-causes-short-circuits-4118973

Nichols, B. (2014, June 30). How 9-Volt Batteries Can be a Home Hazard. Retrieved February 13, 2018 from http://fireprotectiontesting.com/dangers-of-9-volt-batteries/ 

Causal Rewrite

Electrical distribution systems, including the power source cable into the home, the circuit breaker boxes, and the wires supplying current to all electrical fixtures, are the third leading cause of home structure fires. Therefore, it bears investigating how wired smoke detectors might contribute to a fire catastrophe. An article published by CRM Risk lists many ways wiring can start a fire. Physical damage to wires leading to smoke detectors can cause fire at the device; even correct installations can also become damaged or deteriorate with age; overloaded circuits, especially those mishandled amateur home installers, or that use with large fuses and circuit breakers can result in overheated wires, the breakdown of insulation and eventual short circuits. All are intensified by an overuse of electrical devices, leading to the sad but inevitable conclusion that “more smoke detectors makes a home fire more likely.”

Causal Rewrite-Lbirch

Smoke Detectors: The Source of Fire

Smoke detectors are an essential tool for your household safety, just like your home’s security system. Detectors play a huge role in fire safety, alerting an occupant when there is smoke in a building or house and allowing them enough time to exit without harm. Detectors seem to be easy to install, and are thought to require little to no care or attention. But with that belief, most detectors can become faulty and do not operate, or can even lead to a risk of starting a fire itself. Shorted wires or bad batteries can all be leading causes of these detectors catching fire, and both of these people do not check regularly. Without the appropriate maintenance of the detectors in your home, it is possible that the thing that alerts you of a fire is actually the cause of the fire.

The biggest risk a homeowner can take is not having a detector in their house at all. An alarming statistic by the National Fire Protection Agency states, “Three of every five home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.” They also state that there were no smoke alarms in more than a third of household fire deaths. In an article by Battery Universitythe author discusses safety concerns of lithium batteries and times where they have failed. “In 2006, a one-in-200,000 breakdown triggered a recall of almost six million lithium-ion packs. Sony, the maker of the lithium-ion cells in question, points out that on rare occasion microscopic metal particles may come into contact with other parts of the battery cell, leading to a short circuit within the cell…” These types of batteries, lithium ions, are the same being used in the detectors in houses today. Non-certified batteries, like the Sony ones, are a concern to many detector makers because they are not the intended battery of use.

The safest home is protected by detectors using fresh, intact, certified batteries that are regularly inspected. According to Arthur Lee’s report for the U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission, detector makers have made many improvements for these devices in recent years. Detectors can now be found with the battery life of up to 10 years. Cable Organized discusses maintenance of detectors to ensure they perform correctly in the worst situations. You must clean all detectors of dust and contaminant build-up at least twice a year. You must also replace all detectors at least every 10 years, and change batteries yearly while testing them monthly. These are all the best ways to prevent any unwanted false alarms, or worse, no detection of a house fire. On the other side of battery-operated detectors are hard-wired detectors. As it should be noted, hard-wired detectors also use batteries, but only as a backup power source. The main source of power, however, uses wires. According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI)home electrical fires account for an estimated 51,000 fires each year in the United States.

Electrical distribution systems, including the power source cable into the home, the circuit breaker boxes, and the wires supplying current to all electrical fixtures, are the third leading cause of home structure fires. Therefore, it bears investigating how wired smoke detectors might contribute to a fire catastrophe. An article published by CRM Risk lists many ways wiring can start a fire. Physical damage to wires leading to smoke detectors can cause fire at the device; even correct installations can also become damaged or deteriorate with age; overloaded circuits, especially those mishandled amateur home installers, or that use with large fuses and circuit breakers can result in overheated wires, the breakdown of insulation and eventual short circuits. All are intensified by an overuse of electrical devices, leading to the sad but inevitable conclusion that “more smoke detectors make a home fire more likely.”

Structure fires are already a concern for homeowners and to add to their worries, a safety device that has been known to help may turn into a time bomb. The wrong wiring or a bad battery could possibly turn this safety device into a fiery piece of plastic. People should not need to worry about this device along with the many other things in a home. But you may need to be concerned about even the most object, like a smoke detector.

 

References

BU-304a: Safety Concerns with Li-ion. (2018, January 4). Retrieved February 27, 2018, from http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/safety_concerns_with_li_ion 

Common Causes of Electrical Fires. (2012, December). Retrieved February 27, 2018, from http://cmrris.com/news-manufacturing-details/20/common-causes-of-electrical-fires.html

Home Electrical Fires. (2015, February 4). Retrieved February 27, 2018, from http://www.esfi.org/resource/home-electrical-fires-184

How to Maintain Smoke Alarms. (n.d.). Retrieved April 18, 2018, from Cable Organizer, https://www.cableorganizer.com/articles/smoke-alarm-maintenance.html

Lee, A. (2002, June 28). Preliminary Test Results on Lithium Batteries Used In Resident Smoke Alarms. Retrieved February 27, 2018, from https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/lithiumfinal.PDF

Reports and statistics about smoke alarms. (n.d.). Retrieved April 18, 2018, from National Fire Protection Agency, https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/By-topic/Smoke-alarms/Reports-and-statistics-about-smoke-alarms

Reflective- LBirch

Core Value 1. My work demonstrates that I used a variety of social and interactive practices that involve recursive stages of exploration, discovery, conceptualization, and development.

This class has given me the opportunity to learn about topics and material that I would not always think about in everyday life. All essays written in this course used Core Value One by receiving help from Professor Hodges. This class also gave me the chance to write multiple versions of each essay based on the comments given by Professor Hodges. When writing the definition argument essay, the professor gave me in-depth feedback on the first and second drafts. Another example would be for the Safer Saws assignment, the class discussed multiple videos and articles that were read and given. This taught me to look at claims and possibly find evidence they may have. As the class continues, I will be able to use this core value to improve my writing and research.

Core Value 2. My work demonstrates that I read critically, and that I placed texts into conversation with one another to create meaning by synthesizing ideas from various discourse communities. 

By using Core Value Two, I learned to interpret the meaning of an argument and the message the writer may be sending. All sources used in my essays were read and closely analyzed in order to understand the information presented. Some information seemed questionable or did not have evidence to be reliable. In the PTSD claims assignment, the one source used was viewed and read to clarify the real meaning of each claim. I learned to look beyond what was actually written in order to understand the argument the author presented. Multiple sources were read, and some were not used in any essays because they did not have the valuable information needed. As various sources of information were viewed, whether they were in books or online articles, a vast amount of content was analyzed to give me needed information on a topic I was not knowledgeable in.

Core Value 3. My work demonstrates that I rhetorically analyzed the purpose, audience, and contexts of my own writing and other texts and visual arguments.

A very early piece of work that was done to analyze the purpose texts was the summaries assignment. The texts read in this assignment were two counterintuitive arguments that had different meanings. Each was looked at in a different way, but the writers for both had their own side to a topic. For example, the author of the free heroin article has their side on this topic. This author showed the side of why institutions giving heroin users free heroin would be valuable. On the opposite side, an article about this may argue why it would not be valuable. I also read an article for this assignment about end of life care and how it was counterintuitive. This author argued spending money on end of life care was worth it, and should not be something you debate to spend on. With this assignment, I learned there may be many different sides to one story.

Core Value 4: My work demonstrates that I have met the expectations of academic writing by locating, evaluating, and incorporating illustrations and evidence to support my own ideas and interpretations.

In my visual rhetoric assignment, I needed to show my understanding of a PSA video without any audio. Visual cues and ideas are used to demonstrate the meaning of this video. The evidence I used was only based on the visuals of each frame of the video, and I showed I supported my ideas by writing based on what I saw. For example, the room in the video seemed strange; a stuffed raccoon was on the table, odd ceramic statues were around the room, etc. I used this evidence to determine the tone of the video and what the person may be saying. Another example of this core value being used was in my rebuttal essay. The sources read and used for this article supported my argument that smoke detectors actually cause fires. The sources used in this essay show evidence of how this could possibly happen and times fires did start because of them. Finding sources seemed challenging at first. After time, evidence started to accumulate that supported my argument and helped support my own ideas better.

Core Value 5. My work demonstrates that I respect my ethical responsibility to represent complex ideas fairly and to the sources of my information with appropriate citation. 

The white paper that was started at the beginning of the semester compiles all of my sources and articles used throughout the class. Credit is given to the authors of each source and is cited with all correct information. In all essays written this semester, citations were needed in order to appropriately use this information and materials. I summarize what the authors state, but continuously credit where I get my information from. Throughout my research paper, all information used received in-text citations, and also in a Reference section in the end. No text read should be used in one’s own writing without the appropriate citations (website received from, author’s name, date published, and date used).