Don’t Get Burned by Your Electronics

May 28, 2010

BATON ROUGE, La., May 28 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — May is National Electrical Safety Month, a timely reminder to note that the average family powers dozens of electronic devices in their household (computers, printers, game consoles, televisions, monitors), a significant increase compared to 20 years ago.

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Deaths from fires and burns are the fifth most common cause of unintentional injury deaths and the third leading cause of fatal home injuries in the United States. Although the number of fatalities and injuries caused by residential fires has declined gradually over the past several decades, the United States’ mortality rate from fires ranks seventh among the 25 developed countries of which statistics are available. Many residential fire-related deaths remain preventable and continue to pose a significant public health problem.

Flame retardant chemicals are used to coat the components of electronic devices, giving escape times of up to 15 times longer. In the event of a fire, the difference between two minutes and 25 minutes can mean saved lives and property.

When it comes to fire safety in the home, most people focus on the kitchen and smoke detectors. However, five out of ten home fire deaths occur in households with smoke alarms. The many electronic devices located in our homes, including the family room and home office, deserve their own fire safety audit.

Here are four tips that are easy to implement and will enhance the fire safety of the electronic devices in your home:

1. Electrical outlets: Make sure an electrical outlet is properly grounded and has the sufficient power rating. A surge protector provides a safe and reliable connector to the wall outlet and can handle the demands of any electronic device. The models with multiple outlets can accommodate computer-related paraphernalia, such as CPU, monitor, printer and speakers. DO NOT use a standard extension cord suitable for a vacuum cleaner to connect electronic devices to the wall outlet.

2. Computer: When you walk away from your PC for an extended period, turn off the monitor. Because monitors generate high voltage internally, they may potentially start an electric fire or trigger an explosion in a combustible environment. There’s a small button, usually in the lower right hand corner of the screen’s frame to click the monitor off; you can click it on again when you return and resume using the computer.

3. Television and entertainment centers: If your TV sits in a cabinet or on any wooden furniture, make sure there is sufficient space around the set for air to circulate. Similarly, keep cloths, newspapers and other potentially flammable items away from all vents on the TV set.

4. Fire extinguisher: A dry chemical fire extinguisher is appropriate for electrical fires, so purchase one and keep it safely stored nearby. If you do use it, be careful to clean up all the powder afterwards. The powder that has been discharged can cause a short circuit in electronic equipment.

You can learn more about fire safety related to electronics in the home and office from Susan Landry, Advisor for Fire Safety & Advocacy at Albemarle, a global manufacturer of flame retardants for more than 40 years and creator of GreenArmor(TM), a new eco-friendly fire safety solution.

About Susan Landry

A respected expert on flame retardants, Landry has received fourteen patents related to these products and has presented numerous papers and presentations on flame retardants. She recently authored a chapter (“Changing Chemical Regulations and Demands”) in the American Chemical Society book entitled “Fire Retardancy of Polymeric Materials, 2nd Edition”. Landry has served on an assessment panel in the Building & Fire Research Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology and is a member of the Society of Plastic Engineers, Society of Fire Protection Engineers and Society of Automotive Engineers.

The blog Fire Safety for All compiles information, resources and safety tips to help prevent fires and injuries in the home and workplace including a home fire safety check list.

About Albemarle

Albemarle Corporation, headquartered in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is a leading global developer, manufacturer, and marketer of highly-engineered specialty chemicals for consumer electronics, petroleum refining, utilities, packaging, construction, automotive/transportation, pharmaceuticals, crop protection, food-safety and custom chemistry services. The Company is committed to global sustainability and is advancing its eco-practices and solutions in its three business segments, Polymer Solutions, Catalysts and Fine Chemicals. Corporate Responsibility Magazine recently selected Albemarle to its prestigious “100 Best Corporate Citizens” list for 2010. Albemarle employs approximately 4,000 people and serves customers in approximately 100 countries. To learn more, visit www.albemarle.com.

Earthwise(TM) is a division of Albemarle Corporation.

“Safe Harbor” Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: Statements in this press release regarding Albemarle Corporation’s business that are not historical facts are “forward-looking statements” that involve risks and uncertainties. For a discussion of such risks and uncertainties, which could cause actual results to differ from those contained in the forward-looking statements, see “Risk Factors” in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K.”

SOURCE Albemarle Corporation

Source: newswire

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