The Canary Will Let Us Know

Real Estate Agent with HomeXpress Realty SL3199320

In the 1800's and until 1986 miner safety from methane gas and other gases were a threat to the coal miners.  To protect the coal miners, a testing system was developed where a canary was carried into the mind in a cage.  The canary is extremely sensitive to gases and if the canary died the miners would withdraw from the dangerous mind.


In deciding  too send canaries into the mines, inventers came up with a developed a somewhat humane device shown.  The canary would be carried into the mine in the device.  The circular door of the cage would be kept open and had a grill to prevent the canary from escaping.  Once the canary showed signs of carbon monoxide poisoning the door would be closed and a valve opened, allowing oxygen from the tank on top to be released and revive the canary.  The miners would then be expected to evacuate the danger ares.  This practice continued for almost 100 years until canaries officially started to get replaced by technology in 1986.



That Is My Answer

I have been asked more than once when I will remove myself from self quarantine.  I always answer, "that answer is up to the "canary."  "What does than mean," I am asked.  And I share about the canary.  For me, I will wait in two week increments.  So what are the stat numbers for COVID19?  What direction is the curve heading?  How safe is it really appear in the public?

I am anxious to be out the same as all of us.  I want to go to my favorite eatery JF Kicks and enjoy a great lunch and cool beverage.  But, I want to know I can.  Every prudent person should check with the canary first.

So, be safe and have your plan ready to put in place.  For me, thank you Zoom!

Comments (31)

Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good morning Rick Frissell - step by step we are making progress.  A little at a time.

May 10, 2020 06:32 AM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker/REALTOR® - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

I didn't know about the  more humane way of using the canary to test. Interesting!

I hope you are able to un-quarantine soon!

May 10, 2020 06:34 AM
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


Do what feels right for you.  I do yearn to sit down and be served at a restaurant.  We are still closed here.  A

May 10, 2020 09:29 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Rick:

It was interesting to read about the canaries - I recall hearing about that before.

I am looking forward to dining at a restaurant again, although I am not in a hurry to do so And our's are still closed to dining - only take-out and curbside service.


May 10, 2020 10:24 AM
Leanne Smith
Dirt Road Real Estate - Golden Valley, AZ
Relocation to NW AZ with elbow room & more freedom

There is a book I read and reviewed years ago entitled Corporate Canaries - Avoid BUsiness Disasters with a Coal Miner's Secrets by Gary Sutton.  What I know is many who are in real estate will not invest the time to revisit their strategic plans and make the necessary course corrections.  Your photo reminded me of this book published in 2005.

May 10, 2020 10:55 AM
Rick Frissell
HomeXpress Realty - Valrico, FL
aka "The Red Baron of Real Estate"

Leanne Smith what an interesting book and title.  I can add an experience first hand.  I was previously employed with Eastman Kodak.  We had a "meet and greet" at a national sales meeting in Scotsborough, Az. in the early nineties.  The second hisghest officer in the company was taking questions at the podium.  One gentlteman asked, "What will our job be when digital replaces film?"  The VP rely, "The resolution of film will never be matched by digital.  They cannont make a computer big enough to hold all the data needed to match what film can produce."  Five year later many of us were layed off.  I agree with your comment.  Thank you.

May 11, 2020 04:07 AM
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

Restarting our lives is going to be different for everyone, and all need to be comfortable, we need to understand our clients all have different levels of comfort and accept that as we  move forward. Great post.

May 11, 2020 05:36 AM
Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi
NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656 - New Lenox, IL
708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience

Excellent info and analogy, Rick Frissell ... for me, until that canary is singing his song loudly and in full-throat, I remain quarantined.  I'm unsure what that will sound like when it occurs, but I suspect I will recognize the time is right ...


May 11, 2020 08:38 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

I knew about canaries in coal mines, but not about the "humane device."

Living where I do, it is hard to imagine so many people staying home and living in fear.

Throughout this whole ordeal, our County of 1900+ square miles has only seen 4 cases. Our restaurants are re-opening this week, but that doesn't affect me because I seldom go to a restaurant. Other places we go regularly - the grocery store, feed store, and hardware store - have all stayed open.

How on earth will you know when it's safe to venture into your communities?

May 11, 2020 08:23 PM
Rick Frissell
HomeXpress Realty - Valrico, FL
aka "The Red Baron of Real Estate"

Marte Cliff all good points you make.  I agree fear should not be a motivation to quarentine.  But, common sense is.  As a home care providor for my 91 year old mother tha has COPd, a pacemakes and a breathing machine, I will be overly cautious before I ventuure out beyond the grocery store.  I don't believe I have seen anyone hybernate in fear.  Are you seeing that in low case HD?

May 12, 2020 02:22 AM
M.C. Dwyer
Melody Russell Team at eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Felton, CA
MC Dwyer-Santa Cruz Mountains Property Specialist

Reading your comment above, I see you have a very important reason to stay safe - your high risk, vulnerable mom.     Even though the states are governing us in general, to me, it's more important to be weighing regional data and the science of virus spread against personal risk.    In other words I think some governors are opening too quickly, too soon.    It's up to individuals to make the highly personal decision about when it's safe to venture out again.    I wish you both the best! 

May 12, 2020 08:05 AM
Rick Frissell
HomeXpress Realty - Valrico, FL
aka "The Red Baron of Real Estate"

M.C. Dwyer all good points you make.  I blieve it will all be about wise management, as point out.  I think the vacine is our method of complete eradication. 

May 13, 2020 04:46 AM
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

Thank you for being responsible in your decision to self quarantine!  Stay healthy!!!

May 13, 2020 08:49 AM
Lindsay Reagan, Realtor
Bowen Realty - Wellington, FL

 I have heard of the canary in the coal mine but I was not aware of the fact that they had a way of getting the poor canary some help!   That me made me happy!!

I live in Florida and Real Estate was considered essential during the quarantine.  I chose not to put myself in harms way.  I am older and have empysema.  I would not be a good candidate for survival with this virus.  In Palm Beach County, we were allowed to do a Phase I reopen on Monday, May 11th. Right now I am sitting back and watching the numbers.  My feeling is if folks want to resume activities as "normal" let them do it.  For me, I choose to wait a little longer.

May 13, 2020 09:41 AM
Jan Green - Scottsdale, AZ
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Great story.  I vaguely remember it, so thanks for the history lesson.  Also a great analogy for our current times!  I'm cautioiusly optimistic.  

May 13, 2020 02:39 PM
Jerry Lucas
ABC Legal Docs LLC - Colorado Springs, CO
Mobile Notary Colorado Springs, CO Notary Training

I grew up in a PA coal-mining town. My grandfathers were coal miners.  My father also worked in the coal mines for about 10 years. He had to quit school in the 9th grade to work in the mines to support his family when his father was injured.

Methane was only one risk. Mine injuries and accidents were too common.  No OSHA safety regulations or child labor laws or disability insurance.  These were rugged men who worked hard and did not complain.  Many died of black lung disease from breathing coal dust.

For consideration: Human hair diameter is about 100 microns. Coal dust particles are about 10 microns and larger.  Bacteria are about 1 micron.  Coronavirus is about 0.14 microns or 140 nanometers (nm).  Homemade masks made from porous cotton cloth do not block tiny virus particles.  A nanofilter mask is needed to block viruses.

May 13, 2020 10:57 PM
Rick Frissell
HomeXpress Realty - Valrico, FL
aka "The Red Baron of Real Estate"

Jerry Lucas I appreciate your comment to complement the blog.  It gave all of us that read it some enlightning regarding micron size when breathing air.  A common theme in books and movies is how much these men were family men.  They always seem to mentions the care and love of family made their risks worth it.

May 14, 2020 11:40 AM
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

I'm staying home as much as possible too, and I might get used to it!

May 14, 2020 01:39 PM
Rick Frissell
HomeXpress Realty - Valrico, FL
aka "The Red Baron of Real Estate"

Funny you say Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089 !  I have settled in with relaxing and enjoyiing my time.  Do I reallly want to go back to high blood pressure :-)

May 15, 2020 02:44 AM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

Good Tuesday morning, Rick.

Have a great day and an outstanding week.

May 19, 2020 06:02 AM