MHABC reaffirms safety of manufactured homes, need for annual Maintenance

January 13th 2012
MHABC reaffirms safety of manufactured homes, need for annual Maintenance

Residents of manufactured homes are being reassured their homes are safe, especially when they're properly maintained. The Manufactured Housing Association of B.C. (MHABC) says well-maintained older manufactured homes are safe and current manufactured homes are even safer.

"We want to provide assurances to all residents of manufactured homes that their homes are safe and have become even more so over the last decades," said MHABC President Terry Weicker.

Weicker said the MHABC supports a call by the Public Safety and Solicitor General's Ministry for owners of older manufactured homes to pay special attention to the heating and electrical installations in their residences.

"As a home ages, equipment wears out, requiring more attention to maintenance and ultimately the replacement of critical components", said Weicker. "As with any type of home, heating and electrical installations must be maintained on an on-going basis to ensure long-term safety".

The Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General issued an information bulletin on Jan. 5 on fire safety in manufactured homes following a series of fatal fires during the Holiday Season.

"The members of the Manufactured Housing Association of B.C. express our sympathies to the families that suffered the loss of family members in the fires occurring during the Christmas and New Year's periods", said Weicker.

Between Dec. 29, 2011 and Jan. 2, 2012, seven B.C. residents lost their lives in five separate fires. Three of those fires and five of the deaths occurred in mobile homes or travel trailers being used as living accommodation. The B.C. Coroners Service and the Office of the Fire Commissioner continue to investigate the fires. Their specific causes have yet to be determined.

Weicker said the Coroner and Fire Commissioner have done a good job of identifying the steps to be taken to reduce fire risk in all types of homes, including regular electrical and heating inspections and avoiding the use of space heaters.

The MHABC represents the manufacturers, dealers, suppliers and transporters of manufactured and modular homes in BC with members throughout the province, the Prairie provinces and Northwest United States.

MHABC Executive Director Gord Rattray said that since the early 1970's, construction practices have evolved dramatically with the involvement of the Canadian Standards Association in developing standards for the construction of manufactured and modular homes.

"Evolution in the use of fire resistant wall board, installation of more robust electrical systems and technologically advanced heating and fire detection systems have resulted in very safe homes", Rattray said.

"Modern manufactured homes are head and shoulders above what was constructed decades ago, but at the same time, this should not detract from the safety of the older homes that were built to the highest standards of the day".

Rattray said the MHABC supports the Fire Commissioner's focus on older homes in the Information Bulletin. He said measures that will reduce the risk of fires in all residences (including manufactured homes) include:

- Annual inspection of furnaces by qualified technicians
- Call in an experienced electrician if you notice changes in the way a switch or plug operates
- Never overload electrical circuits
- Checks smoke detectors frequently to ensure they're operating properly
- Ensure easy access to strategically placed fire extinguishers

Weicker said the MHABC continues to work with government regulators and the industry to find ways to ensure manufactured homes continue to meet the highest safety standards.

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Smoke Detectors

Approved-type properly installed and maintained smoke detectors are critical life saving devices. While a smoke detector will not prevent or extinguish a fire, it can save your life. Smoke detectors are designed to warn of fire danger in time to allow for escape or call for help. The ear-piercing alarm of the smoke detector may provide you and your family with the precious extra minutes that you need to escape, especially at night (when most fires occur).

When installing smoke detectors, take the following steps:

  • Install at least one smoke detector in the hall leading to the bedrooms
  • Consider installing additional smoke detectors, especially if your home has more than one level
  • Make sure smoke detectors are of a type approved by Underwriters Laboratories of Canada or other recognized testing laboratory
  • If your detectors are battery operated, check the batteries often to make sure the units are operational.

    Carbon Monoxide Detectors

    Install one or more carbon monoxide alarms in your home that are certified to the latest Canadian Standards Association (CSA) standards. Products with CSA 6.19-01 on the packaging have been tested to the latest standard published in March 2001. The package will also show a replacement date.