SAVING LIVES: CREIA Inspectors on the Front Lines of Homeowner Safety
July 2009, (Palm Springs, Calif.) — This is the first in a five part series of home safety from home inspectors to home owners. As the premier home inspection association in state, California Real Estate Inspection Association (CREIA) members are intimately familiar with safety hazards found every day during an inspection. This first subject, Fire Safety, will be followed by Electrical Hazards, Appliance Safety and Recalls, Pool Safety and finally Trip and Fall Hazards.
The most important, and also the least expensive item in your home are smoke detectors. These small devices detect smoke and notify occupants with a loud and piercing alarm. CREIA recommends that smoke detectors be installed on the ceiling (or within 12” of the highest part of a wall adjacent to the ceiling) of every floor level and in every bedroom.
In addition to smoke detectors, a permanently installed fire sprinkler system help to extinguish a fire once that fire starts. These systems are generally required on larger homes and in rural areas and may be required on all homes by the building department as a part of that building department’s safety standards. Like the name hints, fire sprinklers spray higher pressure water onto an active fire located in range of a sprinkler head. These systems are considerably more expensive to install in a home as compared to smoke detectors but the price may be offset by home insurance rate reductions; talk to your insurance agent for details.
Making a fire escape plan and practicing that plan costs nothing and may be the single most important thing you can do for you and your family’s safety. For those who live in a two story house, having a roll-up fire escape ladder in each occupied bedroom may mean the difference between life and death. For those with small children, teach your children how to open the window as part of an in-home fire drill. Also, place bedroom furniture close to or directly under windows to make it easier for small children and the elderly to get to a window in case of a fire.
Make sure to retain the services of a qualified, professional home inspector by using a Certified CREIA Inspector member to do a thorough, independent visual examination of the physical structure and systems of a home. Since 1976, CREIA, a non-profit voluntary membership organization has been providing education, training, and support services to the real estate inspection industry and to the public. Inspectors must adhere to CREIA's Code of Ethics and follow the Standards of Practice developed by the association. These Standards of Practice have been recognized by the State of California, and are considered the source for Home Inspector Standard of Care by the real estate and legal communities.
CREIA requires its members to successfully pass a comprehensive written examination of property systems and complete 30 hours of continuing education each year. Members can accumulate credits through various sources of education including monthly chapter meetings, conferences, and other approved activities. CREIA keeps records to ensure that members are complying with the requirements. Educational topics cover a variety of technical subjects including updates and advances affecting the profession of real estate inspection.
CREIA is dedicated to consumer protection and education. To locate a qualified CREIA inspector near you click here or call CREIA at (800) 388-8443.
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