Woman caring a concealed handgun near her car

Personal Safety Tips for Realtors

On: September 6, 2016
Being a real estate agent can be a fun but dangerous profession. Part of your job is to meet strangers in isolated locations at odd hours of the day. You put yourself at risk every day (without realizing it) by doing “everyday” tasks that may seem harmless. Personal Safety Instructor, Preston Taylor has a few safety tips for you.

Perception is reality

If you look squared away, organized, confident and on task, those around you will take note. The bad guy normally wants an easy target, a sheep not a sheep dog. Be the sheep dog. Remember what you wear, drive, etc… can lead the offender to believe your rich even if you only have 20 bucks in the checking account, the fancy car, jewelry and latest smart phone can portray that you have money.

Sexy Red High Heel Shoes. Isolated on white.Are you Dressed for Battle?

Before heading out for the day or to your first showing take inventory of what your wearing. If you had to defend yourself, or run (perhaps from a burning car or building) would your clothing and shoes allow you to do so? 4 inch heels may really finish off your outfit but, are they ideal to do battle in? Think of getting dressed like putting your seat belt on before driving. You have no intention of getting into an accident, you do it just in case. Oh, and because it’s the law.

The Code Word Is “Coffee”

Someone should always be expecting you. Whether its returning home from work, returning or arriving at a showing, or returning from a meeting, someone should be expecting you. Please get into the habit of having safety mechanisms in place if you’re late or don't show. The sooner loved ones and law enforcement know your missing and that this behavior is completely out of the norm for you, the sooner an attempt to locate you can begin. A simple text, phone call or email to let those waiting know all is good is crucial. Have a code word for trouble in case you cannot speak freely.

Fitness is Key

Maintain or establish at least a moderate level of fitness. Although there are several components to personal safety, your ability to run, climb stairs and have upper body strength as well as some flexibility can pay off huge if you need to fight off a bad guy. You do not need to be in the gym daily but if you cannot remember the last time you did a push up or got your heart rate up for any amount of time change this. Start with little steps, slowly, building every week or so.

Being Prepared Unrecognizable people running on treadmills in a gym.

Consider taking a self-defense class or exploring a martial art. Do your homework on the instructor/instructors, what is his or her back ground and level of training? If they are more concerned with telling you about themselves and how amazing they are, perhaps you should look elsewhere.  Ask around and read reviews. I'd be happy to offer my opinion on what to look for and what to avoid.

Read Between the Lines

Body language is huge in the realm of personal safety. Learn to look for signs of stress by those you are dealing with. Does their body reflect the words coming out of their mouth? Buying a house can be stressful, but looking for a home generally is a positive/fun experience and should not elicit stress. I highly recommend the book What Every Body is Saying. This has a lot of good info on body language by an expert in the field. I have personally attended a seminar where the author, Dr. Navaro spoke, his talks and the subject are truly fascinating. This skill set can also help you read your client better and understand if they are truly interested in the property your showing or otherwise.

Man in white protective suite and mask in attic moving lead paint

Lead Paint Safety: Proper Disposal of Waste

On: September 5, 2016
After successfully renovating an area with lead paint and conducting a proper cleanup, one of the final steps is to dispose of the waste. There are a few steps to properly ensure that the waste is carefully disposed of.

At the Work Site

Always collect, bag and seal all waste at the work site and in the work area. All waste should be sealed in a plastic bag with a “gooseneck seal” and then duct taped. With a HEPA vacuum, vacuum the exterior of the waste bag, or wipe it down before removing it from the work area. Do not carry the waste bag to another location without properly sealing it first.

What is Considered Lead Paint Waste?

  • Protective sheeting
  • HEPA Filters
  • Paint Chips
  • Dust
  • Used mop heads (though we never suggest the use of a mop)
  • Used hard floor wet cleaning cloths
  • Used protective clothing
  • And more.

Waste Disposal Guidelines

According to Federal Law, when renovating in Housing or Residential areas, waste must be disposed as normal household waste. In non-residential child-occupied facilities, if waste exceeds 220 lbs. of actual lead, you must treat it as hazardous waste. A T-clip test must be conducted to determine whether or not you have 220 lbs. of lead paint.

Who needs a Lead Paint Renovator Certification?

Anyone who works on pre-1978 homes or child-occupied facilities must be certified as a Lead Paint Renovator. This includes Contractors, property managers, janitors, handymen, landlords, etc…Anyone who is doing work on a pre-1978 target building for compensation must have their lead paint certification. Compensation can be a direct payment, rent, or any other form of currency exchange. The Builders License Training Institute offers both a Lead Paint Safety Initial certification class and a Lead Paint Renewal course. To check out when classes are available click here.

Already Have a Lead Paint Renovator Certification?

For contractors and individuals, currently certified as a Lead Paint Renovator, we now offer the 4-hour (RRP) refresher course online! Now you are able to take their refresher course online at their own convenience without the hassle of driving for a half day class! The Lead Paint certificate for the 4-hour RRP online refresher course is good for 3 years.

Woman Exercise Workout Boxing in Health Club Facility

This Week’s Course Spotlight: Personal Safety and Self Defense

On: September 1, 2016
Real Estate Training Institute is proud to share our featured course of the week! Our 4-hour Personal Safety and Self Defense course is taught by instructor Preston Taylor. Part of a Realtors job is to meet strangers in isolated locations at odd hours of the day. They put themselves at risk every day (without realizing it) by doing “everyday” tasks that may seem harmless.

Personal Safety and Self Defense

This course is designed to provide important safety tips and precautions for personal safety in the workplace. This is especially true for real estate professionals as they are very often in situations that expose them to unknown situations, with unknown persons. It is important to understand the legal environment surrounding self-defense and the physical limitations that can be a factor for each individual. There are key "Rules of Engagement" that help those who work with the public to recognize and avoid dangerous situations. If a confrontation does occur, the instructor outlines and demonstrates the best and most practical ways to respond to and reduce potential harm. This program offers self-defense techniques from the stand-up position using easy and effective gross motor skills, to ground defense and ground avoidance (rape prevention). Self-Defense-logo

This course covers 5 main topics:

Legal Environment: This section covers your legal rights, what you can and cannot do in a situation. You do have the right to defend yourself against an assault. A common sense approach to self-defense is that avoidance is one of the best ways to insure your safety. Physical Limitations: This section covers the 11 rules of engagement as well as what happens to our body, without our consent, when suddenly attacked. Freeze, Flight, or Fight. Safety Is Your Responsibility: This section covers the importance of the three R’s: Recognize, Respond, and Reduce. Safety and Real Estate Showings: This section covers the importance and awareness of liability for the client, the Realtor, and material items in the home. Self Defense Tactics: This section covers three methods of defense when force is the last resort.

About the InstructorPreston Taylor personal safety instructor profile picture

Personal Safety and Self Defense instructor, Preston Taylor (PT) has worked in law enforcement for over 20 years, He is a Sergeant for the Grand Traverse County Sheriff Department. He has been a Police Academy Instructor, and a Defensive Tactics Instructor for over 15 years. Preston Taylor has also been a speaker/trainer for the National Association of Realtors and the Michigan Association of Realtors. Outside of working as a Sergeant, Preston Taylor is an instructor with the Grand Traverse Personal Protection. He works to facilitate comprehensive Women’s Self Defense Programs and has established all training programs and conduct training sessions to women through individual and group lessons; i.e., private setting, offices, through organizations, at health clubs, etc.

Construction worker using mobile phone and laptop

Louisiana Contractor License Renewal

On: August 29, 2016
Contractors are required to complete six hours of approved continued education per year by December 31st to renew their Louisiana Contractor License. This increased in January, 2012 from four hours to six hours each year. As of February 2012, continuing education is not required for contractors who hold Commercial licenses in the following classifications:
  • Commercial Building Construction
  • Highway, Street and Bridge Construction, or
  • Municipal and Public Works Construction

Is there a penalty if I don’t renew my Louisiana Contractors License on time?

A delinquent penalty of $50 for late renewal of Commercial and Residential contractor licenses may be assessed 15 days following the expiration date. Failure to renew your license within six months after your renewal date will result in forfeiture of your renewal rights and you will have to start all over.

Who Offers Approved Online Continued Education?

Builders License Training Institute offers several online continued education courses. Each course is 6-hour and 3-hours so contractors can mix and match to create a package to suit their learning preferences.

Top 3 Continued Education Courses:

  • Drones in Construction: This state approved 3-hour course will teach you the basics of UAV/Drone Technology, Rules and Regulations, Cost of Drones, and how you can use them in the construction industry.
  • Manage Your Way to Big Profits: This six-hour course will help prepare the learner for the scope of responsibilities that a professional construction project manager must be prepared to perform.
  • Estimating and Bidding for Success: Online Fully Narrated with Printable Text. This 6 Hour course is excellent for builders and estimators entering the field, as well as architects, engineers, and contractors learning new tricks of the trade. AIA Approved and fulfills Builders License Continuing Education in several states.

Portrait of confident female surveyor analyzing blueprint at desk in office. Horizontal shot.

Massachusetts Architects, Your Deadline is Fast Approaching!

On: August 26, 2016
Massachusetts Architects have an annual renewal cycle that ends on August 31 of each calendar year. Architects are required to complete 12 hours of approved continued education with 8-hours on approved Health, Safety, and Welfare topics.

How do I renew my License?

As an Architect you will receive a renewal form from the state 60 days’ prior of your renewal deadline. This form will have a check box that Architect will need to check that certifies that renewing architects have completed their CE. Architects in the state of Massachusetts are able to renew their license online or manually by mail.

How many hours of CE are required to renew my Massachusetts Architects license?

Massechusetts Architects are required to complete 12-HRs of approved Health, Safety, and Welfare (HSW) continuing education courses. Architects Training Institute offers many different course packages and individual course for Architects to choose from.
Along with individual AIA approved courses Architects Training Institute has created 4 different course packages specifically for Architects in Massachusetts. These packages range from 8-HRs to 24-HRs and are approved for license renewal.

Realtor showing clients a home

Michigan Real Estate Continued Education Deadline

On: August 26, 2016
If you are licensed as a Michigan Real Estate Salesperson or Broker, round one of completing your required continued education is fast approaching. October 31st, 2016 is the first deadline of this 3-year licensing cycle. This education must include at least 6 hours of legal topics pertinent to the real estate industry. There are a couple exceptions to the number of hours needed:
  • If you were licensed from 7/1/12 to 10/31/13, you only need 6 hours of Con Ed, 2 of which must be in legal topics.
  • If you were licensed between 11/1/13 to 10/31/14, you need 12 hours of Con Ed, 4 of which must be in legal topics.

What do Realtors need for license renewal?

As of January 1, 2015, real estate continued education hours are no longer reported to the Department by providers. Licensee’s must document evidence of completion and retain this evidence for a minimum of 4 years. To see the number of CE hours reported to the Department prior to January 1, 2015, visit www.michigan.gov/realestate, click “Check A License” and search by your name or license number. Click on “Continuing Education” to see what was reported. The Real Estate Training Institute, a Michigan-based online education provider of real estate continuing education, salesperson and broker courses, has several great courses that fulfill all Real Estate Continued Education requirements. These fast, easy and informative courses can be completed in the comfort of your own home or from your phone as you wait for clients to show.

Michigan Real Estate Course Packages

Real Estate Training Institute is a licensed proprietary school in the state of Michigan offering a variety of online video continuing education and initial licensing courses. Some of the most popular courses include:
  • 18-Hour course package covering Lead Paint Safety, Drone Technology, and Self Defense that includes 6 hours of legal topics.
  • 6-Hour courses covering Lead Paint, Energy, and Bidding, all with 2 hours of legal topics.
  • 4-Hour courses ranging from Personal Safety and Self Defense, Estimating and Bidding for Success, Drones in Real Estate, and Lead Paint Awareness.
  • 2-Hour courses ranging from Property Management, Water Rights and Environmental Issues to Auction Law.
Real Estate Training Institute lets you start your course(s) online as soon as you purchase it. You can come and go as you please 24/7. Once the course is complete you can print your certificate immediately.

Electrician standing in a blue uniform with hard hat and state of Florida next to him

Florida Electricians, August 31st is Only 8 Days Away!

On: August 24, 2016
Certified Electricians, Registered Electricians and Alarm Contractors in Florida are required to renew their license every two years. The renewal deadline is August 31st each even numbered year (2014, 2016, 2018 etc). Along with submitting your renewal application to the Florida Electrical Contractors and Licensing Board with the renewal fee ($300 Certified, $125 Registered, $50 fee for delinquent licenses). You are also required to complete 14 hours of approved continuing education. Education providers must submit proof of completed hours to the State of Florida.

Do I need to turn in my Electrical Continuing Education Certificate to the state?

No you don't, but your course (or education) provider does. Approved electrical continuing education providers must submit all completed hours to the state so that they can be applied to your specific license. This is one of the many reasons choosing a high-quality training provider like ECSTI is so important.

Are there special requirements for Miami-Dade County?

Yes, Electricians in Miami-Dade County must complete 16-hours of Continuing Education each licensing cycle (two more than the 14 hours required elsewhere in the state). The Miami-Dade County Board states that no more than 50% of the total required continuing education hours can be completed online (8 hours maximum).

ECSTI Special Course Packages

Package #1:

  • 7-Hour Online Electrical Required Competency– Covering workplace safety, business practices (lien law), worker’s compensation, electrical laws and rules, thermal and moisture protection (advanced module), and NFPA 70E electrical safety (Technical).
  • 7-Hour Online Stallcups 2014 NEC Changes Part 1– This course covers the changes made to the NEC in Article 90, Chapter 1, and Chapter 2. By the end of this course you will understand the changes that took place, and the rationale behind the changes.

Package #2:

  • 7-Hour Online Electrical Required Competency– Covering workplace safety, business practice (lien law), workers compensation, electrical laws and rules, thermal and moisture protection (advanced module), and NFPA 70E electrical safety (technical)
  • 7-Hour online Stallcups 2014 NEC changes Part 2– Covering the significant changes made to the 2014 NEC in chapters 3-9, and applying the changes within these sections to other sections of the code when designing electrical systems.

electrical fuse

Fuses Rated Greater Than 1000 volts Part II

On: August 20, 2016
Fuses greater than 1000 volts normally consist of many different parts that are either current carrying or non-current carrying. Such parts can be installed in and subjected to normal or non-normal atmospheric conditions. Fuses can be current-limiting or non-current limiting, sand or liquid filled, or vented expulsion type. The frequency of inspection is important so as to ensure that they are capable of functioning based on the conditions at a given fuse location usually determined by the installer.

Power Fuses and Fuseholders NFPA 70B - Chapter 18

Where appropriately designed fuses in fuseholders are used to protect conductors and equipment, a fuse placed in each ungrounded (phase) conductor will protect conductors and other equipment. Note: Power fuses of the vented type are not to be used indoors, underground, or in metal enclosures unless identified for such use by the manufacturer.

Utilizing Power Fuses and Fuseholders NFPA 70B - Chapter 18

Fuses installed in fuseholders are designed to open a circuit under overloads, short-circuits, or ground-fault conditions. For example, a circuit designed to carry 100 amps will open and clear the circuit under any of the conditions mentioned. Consider that the amperage of the circuit reached above the 100 amps limit, it could cause widespread interruption and damage of conductors and equipment. A properly designed weak spot (fuse) is intentionally placed in the circuitry to automatically open the circuit and prevent extensive damage to electrical components. Note: When properly designed and installed, fuses can be placed so as to cut out the circuit that is in endangered by faulty conditions and permit the rest of the circuit to remain energized where necessary.

Characteristics of Fuses and Fuseholders NFPA 70B - Chapter 18

Warning, the interrupting rating of power fuses must not be less than the maximum fault current it is required to interrupt. This includes contributions from other connected sources of energy. Also the maximum voltage rating of power fuses must not be less than the maximum voltage of the circuit. Note: Fuse mountings and fuse units must be equipped with permanent and legible nameplates showing the manufacturer’s type or designation, continuous current rating, interrupting current rating, and maximum voltage rating, as well as other important information.

NFPA.70B.07-12 imageInstalling and Removing Fuses NFPA 70B - 18.2.2

This section makes it clear that manufacturers' instructions regarding installing and removing fuses should always be complied with where available. If the fuse does not have a load break rating available, then the electrical system should be de-energized before maintenance personnel removes the fuse. This procedure may prevent an accidental arc flash or shock hazardous from occurring.

Inspection and Cleaning of Fuses NFPA 70B -

The fuse should always be disconnected, if possible, and de-energized from electrical power sources before servicing, and an electrically safe work condition per NFPA 70E – Article 120 should then be established. NFPA 70B – Chapter 7 makes such recommendation and references. Insulators should always be inspected for breaks, cracks, and burns. The insulators should be cleaned, particularly where abnormal conditions such as salt deposits, cement related type dust, or acid fumes are present in dangerous amounts, such intervals of maintenance will help prevent flashover conditions. See NFPA 70B - Annexes K and L.

Fuse Surfaces to Inspect and Clean NFPA 70B -

Contact surfaces should always be inspected for pitting, burning, alignment, and proper pressure. Contacts that are burned or badly pitted should be replaced, and the following criteria should be complied with: The fuse unit or fuse tube and renewable element should be examined for corrosion of the fuse element where the conductors are connected. • Excessive erosion of the inside of the fuse tube should be checked for discharge tracking and dirt on the outside of the fuse tube • Improper assembly that might prevent proper operation should also be checked To prevent a hazardous condition, fuse tubes or units showing signs of deterioration should be replaced.

Inspecting Terminals of Fuses NFPA 70B -

Items such as bolts, nuts, washers, pins, and terminal connectors should be in place and in a good substantial condition, and for safety, the following criteria should be complied with: • The lock or latch should be checked. • Fuse tubes made of organic, such as Class A material, should be re-finished as necessary and comply with the specifications of the manufacturer.

Expulsion Fuses NFPA 70B -

Vented expulsion type fuses may be equipped with condensers or mufflers to restrict expulsion of gases during fuse operation. These type fuses may have a dropout feature that automatically disengages during the fuse operation mold. The lower (discharge end) might have a sealing disc over the expulsion chamber that prevents entrance of moisture under certain conditions of use. Vented expulsion fuses might be equipped with condensers or mufflers to restrict expulsion of gases during operation. Such fuses might have a dropout feature that automatically disengages the fuse during operation. Seals should be inspected to ensure that moisture has not entered the interrupting chamber. Seals that show damage or evidence of leakage may be cause for replacing such fuse(s).


Fuses and fuseholders must be designed to permit fuse replacement by qualified maintenance personnel using identified equipment with or without de-energizing the fuseholder as permitted under certain maintenance procedures. Switchboards, panelboards, circuitry, and equipment utilize high-voltage fuses to protect all related components. Note: NFPA 70B - Annex L recommends that the basic components of fuses have interval inspections at least every 3 years.

safety at construction site

Florida Contractors, 13 More Days Until Renewal

On: August 17, 2016

Online Approved Continued Education for Florida Contractors

Builders License Training Institute has created six Florida state approved 14-hour renewal packages. Each course package includes Required Competency and Advanced Module so contractors will have an easy renewal.
  • NEW! Drones in Construction and Successful Site Design
  • Handicap Accessibility: Real World Applications
  • Weatherization and Renewable Energy
  • Construction Safety Standards
  • Contracts, Liability, and Risk Management
  • Efficient Project Management
Florida Contractors must renew their license by August 31st, 2016. Part of the renewal process is completing 14-hours of approved continued education. Along with submitting your renewal application to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR), you must also include the renewal fee ($209.00 Active Individual, $259.00 Active Qualifying Business and $100.00 extra per delinquent).

Do I Have to Submit My Contractor Continuing Education Certificate to The State?

You don't, but your provider does. Approved continuing education providers must submit all completed hours to the state so that they can be applied to your specific license. This is one of the many reasons choosing a high-quality training provider (such as Builders License Training Institute) is so important.

Featured New Course!

Drones are the new tool companies are raving about for their marketing and personal use. There are many potential uses for drones in the construction industry, survey mapping, marketing and advertising, and security are just a handful of uses. Check out package #6 for an introductory course on Drones and how they are beneficial to the construction field.

Woman working in home office hand on keyboard close up

7 Reasons Why You Should Take Your Online CE with US!

On: August 16, 2016
Your inbox is filled with online schools claiming to provide the best education. We understand it is difficult to know who to choose. Certified Training Institute makes it easy for you to make the right choice.

Fast, Easy, and Affordable

We realize not everyone learns the same way. That’s why we created a variety of courses in video, text or narrated formats, allowing you to choose the courses that best suit your learning style. Our user friendly system guides you through every step. We keep our courses priced competitively to help our students stretch their business dollars.

Interesting Topics

We offer a variety of topics to choose from like ADA Standards, Weatherization, Safety, Drones, Personal Safety, and many more.

Take Your Courses Anytime from Anywhere

Courses are available immediately from any computer or mobile device. You can take your course from your home, office, the park or even in your pickup truck.

We Store Your Records at No Charge

Lose your certificate? Not a problem! You always have access to your course results, including the date they were completed, and the ability to reprint your certificates.

Student Support

Every member of our excellent staff is ready and willing to make your learning experience the very best it can be. We welcome your call at 1-800-727-7104 and promptly reply to emails sent to info@licensetobuild.com