May 8, 2015 – While electricity plays a major role in all our daily lives, we often take its power and the conveniences it provides - along with its potential for fire-related hazards - for granted. That’s why the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is actively supporting National Electrical Safety Month, an annual campaign officially sponsored by the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), which works to raise awareness of potential home electrical hazards and the importance of electrical safety.
According to NFPA statistics, an annual average of nearly 48,000 electrical fires occurred in U.S. homes between 2007 and 2011, resulting in 455 deaths, more than 1,500 injuries and $1.48 billion in direct property damage. Roughly half of those fires involved electrical distribution or lighting equipment.
“Electrical equipment and appliances in the home carry potential fire risks that can cause significant damage to people and property,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of Outreach and Advocacy. “Fortunately, there are many simple steps people can take to greatly reduce those risks, such as using the designated lightbulb wattage for lamps and not overloading outlets.”
Many of National Electrical Safety Month’s electrical safety messages are derived from NFPA 70, National Electrical Code® (NEC®), the benchmark for safe electrical design, installation and inspection, and from the National Electrical Safety Month 2015 Electrical Safety Advocate Guide. Following are electrical safety messages promoted by both organizations during this year’s campaign and beyond:
- Have all electrical work done by a qualified electrician.
- Only plug one heat-producing appliance (such as a coffee maker, toaster, space heater, etc.) into a receptacle outlet at a time.
- Arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) are a kind of circuit breaker that shuts off electricity when a dangerous condition occurs. Consider having them installed in your home. Use a qualified electrician.
- Use ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) to reduce the risk of shock. GFCIs shut off an electrical circuit when it becomes a shock hazard. They should be installed inside the home in bathrooms, kitchens, garages and basements. All outdoor receptacles should be GFCI-protected.
- Test AFCIs and GFCIs once a month to make sure they’re working properly.
- Check electrical cords to make sure they’re not running across doorways or under carpets.
- Extension cords are intended for temporary use; have a qualified electrician add more receptacle outlets so you don’t have to use extension cords.
- Use light bulbs that match the recommended wattage on the lamp or fixture. There should be a sticker that indicates the maximum wattage light bulb to use.
For more information about electrical safety, visit NFPA’s “Electrical Safety in the Home” section or ESFI’s website at www.esfi.org.
About the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI)
The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) sponsors National Electrical Safety Month each May to increase public awareness of the electrical hazards around us at home, work, school and play. ESFI’s previous anti-counterfeiting efforts include Buyer Beware, a national public awareness campaign and the DVD feature, “Counterfeits Can Kill.” ESFI is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated exclusively to promoting electrical safety. For more information about ESFI and electrical safety, visitwww.esfi.org.
About the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
NFPA is a worldwide leader in fire, electrical, building, and life safety. The mission of the international nonprofit organization founded in 1896 is to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training, and education. NFPA develops more than 300 codes and standards to minimize the possibility and effects of fire and other hazards. All NFPA codes and standards can be viewed at no cost at www.nfpa.org/freeaccess.
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Contact: Lorraine Carli
, Public Affairs Office: +1 617-984-7275