ICE CO. SPOTLIGHT

The Spotlight will highlight topics spanning industry news, safety, product and equipment reviews, codes and much more! We look forward to a dialogue with you.

Light Up Your Holidays Safely

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Light Up Your Holidays Safely
 

Light up safely over the holidays:

  • Choose the right light for the job: light strings and other decorations are rated for indoor or outdoor use. Read the package instructions, and never exceed the recommended wattage.
  • Replace damaged electrical products (cords, plugs, ornaments).
  • Avoid plugging too many lights and decorations into an outlet. Overloaded circuits can overheat and start a fire. 
  • Use Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI) outlets when plugging in outdoors
  • Buy holiday decorations that have the mark of an accredited certification agency on the package. 
  • Once the package is opened, remember to check for the appropriate approval sticker appearing on the cord for products incorporating light strings. 

Extension Cords/Plugs:

  • Avoid overloading circuits with plugs and extension cords—this can create overheating and result in a fire. Fuses that frequently blow and circuits that trip can indicate too many items are connected to the circuit.
  • Never remove the third prong on plugs—this "grounding pin" prevents shock in the event of electrical equipment failure.
  • Plug outdoor electrical decorations into Ground Fault (GFCI)-protected outlets.
  • Don't run extension cords under carpets, through doorways, or in places where they can be damaged by furniture 
  • Keep outdoor connections above-ground and out of puddles; don't run them across driveways and/or walkways.

Installing Decorations:

  • No more than three light strings can be safely connected together in most cases—read manufactures instructions for directions. 
  • Make sure bulbs don't touch supply cords, wires, cloth, paper, or any material that's not part of the light string.
  • Use the proper clips for securing lights and decorations. Staples and nails can damage electrical cords.
  • Check for overhead power lines before using a ladder to put up decorations, or when you're hanging lights or decorations on trees.
  • Holiday decorations aren't designed for year-round use and can deteriorate over time. Take them down when the holidays are over.

Remember to:

  • Watch that children don’t put electrical decorations or cords in their mouths.
  • Keep an eye on pets that may chew or damage electrical cords.
  • Turn off holiday lights and decorations when you leave the house or go to bed.

What is an Arc Flash

Friday, October 23, 2015

What is Arc Flash?

An arc flash is an explosive burst of heat and light, caused by a sudden, uncontrolled electrical arc (or current passing through the air). Temperatures may reach as high as 35,000°F in just 1/1000 of a second, vaporizing metal, causing fatal burns, and generating a blast wave that can collapse workers’ lungs and rupture eardrums. Shrapnel, toxic gases, and intense UV rays can cause additional injuries. Arc flash accidents can kill in an instant, or cause a long, slow, and painful death. Even non-fatal injuries from an arc flash may require months or years of medical care and therapy.

What Happens in an Arc Flash?

An arc can begin whenever a conductive object gets too close to an exposed current source. Dropping tools, opening panels on deteriorated equipment, inserting or removing components from an energized system, and even a rodent infestation can provide an opportunity for an arc to begin.

If that arc has enough energy, it can continue to ionize the air around it. This ionization reduces the electrical resistance along the path of the arc, allowing the arc to draw even more current. As more and more energy flows through the arc, the process builds on itself, and in a moment the arc becomes an arc flash.

The primary source of injury in an arc flash is the burst of heat. Just like lightning, an arc flash releases an enormous amount of heat energy in a very short time. That heat also melts and vaporizes the materials around it, such as wiring and metal equipment panels, as well as drastically raising the temperature of the air nearby.

As this material heats up very quickly, it expands to create a pressure wave, just like thunder. That pressure wave can scatter the broken and melted fragments of equipment like a spray of bullets. Even after the immediate blast, the vaporized material can form a cloud of toxic vapor, mist, and dust. Arc flash is one of the more dramatic electrical accidents, and is often deadly where proper safety precautions have not been taken.

Steps for Arc Flash Safety

Preventing arc flash accidents or minimizing their impact requires a comprehensive safety program, involving both electrical workers and management. The following steps should be taken to ensure worker safety.

First, perform an electrical risk assessment. Use the guidelines in NFPA 70E and IEEE 1584 to identify and assess electrical shock and arc flash hazards throughout your facility.

Determine protective boundaries for electrical equipment. NFPA 70E recommends Limited and Restricted Approach Boundaries to protect workers from electric shock and a separate Arc Flash Boundary to protect them from burns in the event of an arc flash. Employees should keep outside these boundaries during ordinary work.

Identify equipment and components that present a significant risk of arc flash. The NFPA identifies the following types of frequently-affected equipment:

  • Switchboards
  • Panelboards
  • Industrial control panels
  • Meter socket enclosures
  • Motor control centers

Next, ensure all potential arc flash hazards are properly labeled. Warning labels that inform workers of potential hazards are a key part of arc flash prevention. The National Electric Code (NEC) Article 110.16 addresses arc flash protection, stating that affected equipment  ”shall be field marked to warn of potential arc flash hazards...." In addition, NFPA 70E requires that arc flash labels contain information specific to each piece of equipment, detailing the exact hazards that are present.

Pre-printed arc flash labels can be used, although pre-printed labels must be modified in the field to include the required information. A better option is to print custom arc flash labels on-site. Specialized software can track and organize the information for each label, such as available incident energy, approach distances, and required Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Labels should be kept legible and up-to-date, since arc flash hazard levels can change any time your electrical system is modified.

Finally, make sure that workers are adequately trained. Any employees who will work on electrical equipment need to be aware of the dangers of arc flash, understand the warning labels and signs, and know how to select and use the appropriate PPE.


Get Prepared for Fall

Thursday, September 17, 2015

It may be only September, but the leaves are changing here in Oregon. This has me thinking about all the things I need to do around the house to get ready before the cold weather settles in. Even if in your neck of the woods, you are still enjoying warm sunny weather (lucky you), you'll benefit from preparing for the winter weather that is only a few months away.

                      

1. Clean Out the Gutters

All the leaves and grime that you neglected while you were out swimming, hiking, or riding your bicycle this summer have built up in your gutters. If left full of debris, clogged gutters and drains can form ice dams that prevent your drainage systems from working properly. This can lead to water seeping into your home, which can lead to all sorts of issues and extra energy costs. Save yourself the hassle of repairing a leak by simply cleaning your gutters and drains now. When you do, run water through the gutters to check for misalignments that could also cause water damage.

2. Keep the Outside Air Out and the Inside Air In

Warm air will escape out of any cracks and can make your heating system work harder and cost you more to heat your home.  Use caulk to seal cracks and openings between stationary house components like a door frame and weather stripping to seal components that move like an operable window.

3. Show Some TLC to Your Furnace

Your furnace may be a distant memory since you last powered it on, but before the cold weather descends and you must reluctantly switch it on, give it some TLC. Clean your furnace annually each autumn. Sediment build-up can cause your system to work less efficiently or potentially become a fire-hazard. Cleaning your system and getting it inspected will reduce the risks.

During the winter try to change your filter regularly; a dirty filter will decrease air flow and energy-efficiency. And if your furnace is ready to be replaced, buy an energy-efficient model. It will save you money and energy each month!

4. Get Your Ducts in a Row

Your ducts are often times out of sight, out of mind, tucked away in the attic or basement, but a home with central heating can lose about 20% of the air that moves through the duct system. Make sure your ducts are in order by properly sealing and insulating them. Tightly sealed and insulated ducts can potentially reduce your annual energy bills by $120 or more! 


Home Electrical Safety

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Tips for Home Electrical Safety

U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated annual average of 47,820 reported home structure fires involving electrical failure or malfunction 2007-2011. These fires resulted in 455 civilian deaths, 1,518 civilian injuries and $1.5 billion in direct property damage.

With that being said, it is very important to make sure all of your electrical appliances, extension cords, light bulbs and other equipment is in good working condition.

Always ensure you replace or repair appliances that are damaged. Cracked cords, broken plugs and any burning smell from the appliance need to be looked into immediately. If you are leaving your home for a significantly long period of time, it is a good idea to turn-off and unplug heavy duty appliances such as ovens, A/C, heaters etc.

Unplug unused appliances and stow cords safely out of reach of pets, young children or hazardous situations.

Always follow appliance instructions carefully, and do not attempt amateur repairs or upgrades.

Do not staple or nail cords in position at any time; if the cord does not remain where desired, use tape or twist ties to secure it.

Cords should not be placed beneath rugs where they can become a trip hazard or where frays will not be noticeable. Furthermore, covering a cord will prevent it from keeping as cool as possible.

Do not overload outlets with multiple adapters or power strips; relocate cords instead.

 

Lastly, use bulbs that have the correct wattage requirements for each fixture. Using a higher wattage bulb can cause the fixture to overheat.




Independent Electrical Contractor (IEC) Competition 2014

Thursday, December 18, 2014

During the independent electrical contractor (IEC) competition, apprentices were evaluated on various aspects of the material covered during their on-the-job and classroom training, including:

1. A written exam to evaluate their knowledge of electrical theory, code, materials, and installation practices;

2. Preparation of a motor logic diagram based on a written description of a field application;

3. Accurate installation of electrical distribution and control circuitry utilizing customer supplied materials, circuit descriptions, specification, and control diagrams, (known as a "wire-off," this portion of the competition took place on the show floor during Electric Expo);

4. Demonstrate skills in bending electrical metallic tubing on the show floor during the Electric Expo;

5. Demonstrate troubleshooting skills by accurately diagnosing a fault in a common piece of electrical equipment on the show floor during the Electric Expo.

 

 

Our very own Matt Odenthal took the 2nd place trophy, a bag full of tools and prizes along with a check for $2,000.00 at the Independent Electrical Contractor Competition In Baltimore last October,

The Stayton Oregon man started his electrical career after his deployment to Iraq in 2010.  Matt has been working residential, industrial, and commercial jobs the last four years.  

Matt explained, "I find that my experience from farming during high school and 9 years in the Oregon National Guard helps me every day in my work".  Matt recently re-enlisted in the Oregon National Guard.

With instructors such as Ken Filips and Tim Boyd, apprenticeship lab instructor, Matt gained the edge over many of the other apprentices to walk away with the 2nd place win!!

We are so excited and proud of Matt.  He will go far and we here at IEC Oregon are proud that we can be a witness to all the successes in his future.

Congratulations again Matt!


Smoke Alarm Safety

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

 

Clear the air with these smoke alarm facts!

 

Did you know?

Three out of every five home fire deaths happen in homes where there are no smoke alarms present, or no working smoke alarms. Most home fire deaths occur because people are sleeping when a fire breaks out.

 

Why take the chance?

By having a working smoke alarm, the chances that it will wake up the occupants of the home and allow them to get out safely, is greatly increased! Prepare your home against the dangers of smoke inhalation with the right equipment, proper installation and an exit plan. 

 

 

Types of Smoke Detectors

There are many smoke alarm brands, but which is the best? All of these brands fall under two basic types: ionization and photoelectric. Each one detects a different type of fire – but since no one can predict what type of fire may start, the USFA recommends that every home install both types of alarms or a dual sensor smoke alarm.

 

A dual sensor alarm contains both photoelectric and ionization sensors. There are even smoke alarms equipped with strobe lights and vibrations to alert those who are unable to hear a standard alarm. 

 

 

 

 

Where To Place Smoke Alarms

Be sure to place an alarm everywhere that needs protection – every floor! Each bedroom and hallway outside of the bedrooms needs a smoke alarm on the ceiling. The manufacturer’s instructions will offer more assistance on the best place to put your alarm. Know when to call in an expert - only qualified electricians should install hardwired smoke alarms. 

 

 

 

 

Create Exit Plans

Finally, take the time to create and learn exit plans with the whole family. Every room should have an exit plan – the quickest and safest way to get outside. Be sure to practice these exit plans, especially if you have younger children! This will help them to remember the exit strategies in case of an emergency.

 

Keep it safe and remember to make Summer 2014 memorable!


Summer Hazards

Friday, June 06, 2014



Summer vacation is upon us and there will be children out and about, enjoying their break from school. In this blog we are going to take a break from our usual topics to touch on some summer hazards that children may come across and what parents should look for in order to keep their children safe!

We touched on drowning along with electrical shock in our last blog, so we are going to focus on four more hazards to be on the lookout for.



Bicycle Injuries

Broken bones are the most common injuries that come from falling from a bicycle, but without proper safety equipment, some injuries can be fatal. Over 26,000 traumatic brain injuries happen each year from children falling from bicycles while not wearing a proper helmet. Head injuries are life threatening and can be deadly. These traumatic injuries can happen in your own driveway so make sure your child has a proper fitting helmet and don’t allow them to ride on the street until they are in their pre-teen/early teen years and properly understand the rules of the road.



Falling

Children falling from playground equipment, trampolines or in the house, account for over 2.8 million injuries per year and 4% of child deaths. Make sure that all windows have proper screens and be sure to have proper supervision when children are playing on any equipment, especially supervision on younger children and toddlers. Be sure that no children are climbing higher than 4 feet without proper assistance and that all playground equipment has proper cushioning and there are no exposed sharp edges or bolts.



Burns

Children can get burns from campfires, cooking or fireworks. In your home, make sure to have stove guards, smoke alarms and do not have home fireworks, go and watch ones run by professionals. Burns cause almost 9% unintentional deaths in children.



Poisoning

Medications, cleaners, cosmetics and citronella oil are all examples of poisons that children can get into and cause harmful reactions or death. Over 300 children are treated for poisoning each day and at least 2 of them die. Poisoning causes 3.9% of deaths in children. Be sure to keep chemicals out of sight and look for any chemicals within reach. Be sure to keep the Poison Control Center number by your phone.  1 – 800 – 222 – 1222

 

Don’t let your child become one of these statistics. Supervision is KEY.

Be safe, have fun and enjoy the summer!


Summer Fun

Saturday, May 31, 2014


The WARMER it gets the CLOSER it gets...


And you KNOW what that means.....





June, July & August are packed full with fun water activities, family vacations, and some much needed R&R!!


Water activities are great ways you can cool off and keep active during these next few months, which makes this is the perfect time to remind our fellow readers about the simple tips that we all easily forget on the long wait to summertime.




SAFETY BY THE WATER,

 SAFETY IN THE WATER,

AND NEAR THE WATER, 

SAVES LIVES!!!



"TEN people die EVERYDAY from drowning!!! One in five of those people are CHILDREN ages fourteen and younger. Drowning ranks 5th among the leading causes of unintentional injury deaths in the United States." -Centers for Disease Control and Prevention




A less common, but incredibly deadly danger when it comes to swimming, is electrical shock. Pool lights can have faulty wiring or can have products that are not properly grounded. If a person is not killed immediately from the shock, they can be rendered immobile and unable to call for help, resulting in drowning.




When looking for electrical hazards, keep in mind:

-          Underwater lighting/faulty wiring

-          Aging or neglected wiring

-          Underground pumps, washers or vacuums

-          Electrical products near a pool that could potentially fall in (IE. Radios)


Always be ALERT & ACTIVE during all water activities. It can make the difference!!


(Interested in more facts regarding Water-related injuries in the United States? Check out this articleUnintentional Drowning: Get the Facts)

Make pool safety a priority in 2014!


Lighting

Monday, May 26, 2014

Remember having a nightlight as a child? The light that kept away the monsters in the closet or under the bed? Outdoor lighting is essentially the “nightlight” for adults.

 

Outdoor lighting is an important safety feature of your home, but it doesn’t mean you should be spending an arm and a leg on your energy bill! By using energy efficient light bulbs and utilizing solar lighting where possible, you’re able to reduce your energy bill while still keeping your home and family safe.

 

Why Have Outdoor Lighting?


There’s a pretty simple answer. Safety. Outdoor lighting allows you to safely walk around your home at night, see pathways and walkways, be able to know who’s at the door before you open it and it lights up decks, patios and pool areas so you know who may be lurking around your home. Outdoor lighting is a criminal deterrent because it is so easy for someone to notice a criminal running around in the light and call the police.

 

Save Money


By using solar lighting wherever possible, this allows you to cut down on the amount of money you are spending on your electrical bill. If you are unable to use solar due to lack of sun lit areas, you can use energy efficient light bulbs and set up automated lights to cut back on wasted energy.  

Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL) use up to 75% less electricity than standard light bulbs and last up to 10 times longer than your regular lights. There are specially designed CFL lights for outdoor use so be sure to read the packages and get the best light bulb you need!


Placement of Outdoor Lighting



Direct light where it is needed to cut back on wasted lighting and you won’t need to light your home up like a Christmas tree. Always have lights stationed at the top and bottom of stairwells. Light pathways and walkways from the street to your front door, especially around shrubs to rid of any shadows. 




Memorial Day Weekend

Thursday, May 22, 2014

It's that time, Memorial Day Weekend!!!!!


Most of us enjoy this weekend grilling out with friends and family.

Memorial Day is celebrated to recognize all of the fallen military members. We all enjoy celebrating in remembrance. 

As with every summer activity, it's important to remember safety precaustions before you head out!


Don't forget the SUNSCREEN!

Are you unsure of which SPF to use and how much? 

It's important to know which SPF to use with regards to how long you are in the sun and how fare your skin is.

Also, don't forget your sunglasses and/or hats to protect your eyes and to add additional shade from the sun! 


It's important to clean your grill/smoker before you start cooking. You should treat your outdoor grill the same way you treat your indoor stove. You probably wipe it down your after every time you cook. If you treat your grill this way it will last a lot longer. Every time it is used it should be cleaned at leafs a little bit. 

Grates must be cleaned after each use or before the next time you use it. You can use a stiff wire brush for cleaning. This will take away the left overfold from the previous session and make cooking easier. 

Also, separate your raw meat from your vegetables and all of your sides to keep it from being contaminated. 

After your meat is done being cooked double check with your meat thermometer to avoid any risks!


FOOD SAFETY is extremely important! Click here for a great article from Oregon Live for even more information on grilling safety!

Have a Safe and Happy Memorial Day Weekend!



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