June, 2016
Feature
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors



Garage Door Safety

CAROL DIKELSKY





I
f you attended InspectionWorld® in 2015 or 2016, you might have met Todd Wilkinson, Field Manager and Safety Ambassador at LiftMaster, the leading domestic manufacturer of garage door openers. When I recently talked with Wilkinson, he outlined LiftMaster’s annual push to focus attention on Garage Door Safety Month every June. Specifically, he described the benefits of scheduling a safety training session for a group of home inspectors in your region and conveyed the importance of educating homeowners about garage door safety. He also spotlighted some trends that home inspectors might be seeing in the field.  

Set up a Training Session for Your Group
Wilkinson said, “LiftMaster is proud to collaborate with ASHI, and we are always eager to help plan and lead educational training events with local chapters. With home inspectors working on the front line with homeowners, they can benefit from receiving training that delves into detailed information on this important topic. By training home inspectors, we’ve tapped into an excellent audience—professionals who need and want to learn the safety content we provide.”

In fact, in 2015, LiftMaster representatives trained more than 2,000 ASHI members who attended more than 30 sessions at chapter events. Wilkinson added, “Even though we’ve reached so many home inspectors, we feel like we’ve only scratched the surface. We hope to build on last year’s momentum and present even more training sessions throughout 2016. Our goal is to lead at least 50 garage safety training sessions and reach at least 3,000 ASHI members this year.” Open up the Garage Door to Showcase Safety in June An Interview with Todd Wilkinson, by Carol Dikelsky LiftMaster training representatives appreciate the enthusiasm that home inspectors bring to learning about the mechanics of garage doors and door-opening systems. In turn, home inspectors appreciate getting the most up-to-date information about safety and standards that they can apply on the job.

Wilkinson said, “I’ve personally presented sessions at an ASHI chapter event in Arizona as well as at InspectionWorld® 2016 in San Diego. We always get positive feedback from home inspectors who are keen to learn more or get a refresher about a critical piece of equipment that they see in nearly every home. Sessions last approximately one hour, and we allow time for questions and answers."

For more information or to schedule a training session for a local chapter or event, email safetyambassadors@liftmaster.com.

Use the Red Tag Safety Program
According to LiftMaster’s website, “The garage door is typically the largest moving object in the home and serves as the main access point for 70% of homeowners. However, one in 15 garage doors may lack the latest safety features, may not be operating safely or may not meet federal safety standards. This means millions of garages across the United States could require additional attention from a professional.”

Wilkinson said, “Our Red Tag Safety program highlights safety issues and emphasizes the need to replace garage door openers that were manufactured before 1993 when safety sensors were first mandated. The reality is that there are still millions of outdated and unsafe garage door units out there, and home inspectors are among those who see them all the time.” 

The Red Tag Safety program makes it easy for inspectors to spread the word that outdated garage doors and systems should be replaced. By having Red Tag Safety educational materials on hand, home inspectors can give important information to their clients. These resources are available free of charge. To receive them, register at www.liftmaster.com/homeinspectors.

Wilkinson said, “Home inspectors are in garages daily, and their familiarity with how garage door systems work as part of a home makes them excellent representatives for promoting safety. At LiftMaster, we feel that the more eyes that are out there looking for old pieces of equipment, the more outdated and unsafe garage doors will go out of circulation. This enables us to get safe equipment installed, providing homeowners with the peace of mind that comes with having a garage door they can count on.”

By registering for LiftMaster’s Red Tag Safety program, you’ll have access to the following useful materials:

  • a sample script that can help you introduce the topic with clients
  • copies of a “Did You Know?” fact sheet that you can give to your clients
  • an overview of the mandate UL 325 (Standard for Door, Drapery, Gate, Louver, and Window Operators and Systems)
  • Red Tag Kits that include Red Tags that inspectors can place on a garage door to alert the homeowner that it is unsafe. Every Red Tag comes with a LiftMaster rebate that homeowners can use toward purchasing a new garage door opener.

Participating in the program can boost your business’ value to clients by reinforcing your role of educating homeowners about the importance of garage safety that can keep their families safe.

Know About New Safety Features
LiftMaster offers a wide selection of models and every type is equipped with the latest safety features. Battery-backup models such as Elite Series 8500 and Elite Series 8550W (which is Wi-Fi–enabled) are among the current hot items. Also, a mobile app called MyQ which works with a smart device and Internet connection, enables homeowners to operate a garage door opener or check the status of an open or closed garage door anytime from anywhere in the world. This feature offers yet another dimension of safety—that of having more awareness and control over who can access the garage (which often is used as an entrance into the home) and when that access can occur.

Wilkinson said, “We hope that by sharing our information with home inspectors that they will not only caution clients to replace outdated units, but also be able to mention new safety features that might interest homeowners when it’s appropriate. Our products have all the latest safety features.”

Todd Wilkinson is 23-year employee with LiftMaster. Twenty of those years were within the sales organization, covering Southern California, Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico. For the last three years, he has been managing LiftMaster’s national team of Safety Ambassadors. Aside from working with home inspectors, Todd’s team works hand in hand with a nationwide network of LiftMaster dealers and distributors, educating them on best safety practices for all three of LiftMaster’s product lines, including both residential and commercial garage door operators, as well as a line of gate operators.