June, 2007
News in Brief
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors

FEMA Web site offers wealth of information


During this time of the year, the national weather forecast may include reports of floods, hurricanes, tornados, wildfires and thunderstorms, all recognized as potential disasters by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Visit www.fema.gov for information on the history of flooding in a specific location; what to do before, during and after a hurricane; how to build a safe room to be prepared for tornados; how to protect yourself against a wildfire; and why thunderstorms are considered dangerous.

Facts About Lightning

Because every thunderstorm produces lightning, and lightning can be lethal, the following facts should serve as a reminder to home inspectors to get off the roof if there is any sign of a storm.

• Lightning’s unpredictability increases the risk to individuals and property.

• Lightning often strikes outside of heavy rain and may occur as far as 10 miles away from any rainfall.

• “Heat lightning” is actually lightning from a thunderstorm too far away for thunder to be heard. However, the storm may be moving in your direction!

• Most lightning deaths and injuries occur when people are caught outdoors in the summer months during the afternoon and evening.

• Your chances of being struck by lightning are estimated to be 1 in 600,000, but could be reduced even further by following safety precautions.

Lightning-strike victims carry no electrical charge and should be attended to immediately.

Share information on Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs) and mercury

Frequently asked questions about CFLs and mercury are answered in a fact sheet now available for free from Energy Star, a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy.
Download the fact sheet and distribute it to your clients to answer their questions, including,

• Why should people use CFLs?

• Do CFLs contain mercury?

• What precautions should I take when using CFLs in my home?

And more.

Visit www.energystar.gov, click on Products and look for “Lighting” in the left-hand column. On the Lighting page, the fact sheet is available as a PDF in the right-hand column.

According to the fact sheet, the EPA is continually reviewing its cleanup and disposal recommendations for CFLs to ensure that the agency presents the most up-to-date information for consumers and businesses.

Retired ASHI Member publishes do-it-yourself home repair book 

Henri de Marne has a long and distinguished career as a housing consultant and building inspector. For 32 years, he has answered questions from homeowners in the nationally syndicated newspaper column “First Aid for the Ailing House.” Now, this guru of home repair has packed his knowledge and enthusiasm into his new book, About the House: How to Maintain, Repair, Upgrade and Enjoy Your Home.

The softcover handbook assembles questions and answers about nearly every aspect of maintaining a house. For more information, visit the publisher’s Web site, www.upperaccess.com.