AUTHOR: LisaMarie Sinatra

National Wildfire Preparedness Day
Scene from Florida

Arc Flash the Subject of Additional Interview for Faces of Fire/Electrical Hazard Awareness Video Series

In August 2004, Don Johnson, an electrician from Florida, was at work connecting a client’s backup generator for use during an impending hurricane when a failure of his rotation tester or a loose clip shorted out in a 4,000 amp/480-volt switchgear section he was working on, creating an arc flash event that destroyed much of the equipment and blew him against a wall nearly killing him. Johnson survived but suffered third-degree burns on his face, neck and arms, and spent years recovering from his injuries.  Don’s story is the latest, and final interview of Faces of Fire/Electrical, a campaign series from NFPA and the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors that features personal stories of people impacted by electrical incidents, and provides information about electrical safety in the workplace and at home. Arc flash, also known as flashover, is the light and heat produced as part of an arc fault, and a type of electrical explosion or discharge that results from an unintended electrical connection through the air to ground or another phase of the electrical system. An arc flash is one of the most devastating and deadly electrical hazards present in today’s workplace; it can produce temperatures as high as 35,000 degrees Fahrenheit and cause severe burns, hearing loss, eye injuries, skin damage from blasts of molten metal, lung damage, and blast injuries. An NFPA report estimates that five to 10 arc flash incidents occur every day, and more than 2,000 people are treated annually in burn centers with arc flash injuries. Both shock and arc flash, in addition to other electrical hazards have been the focus of NFPA 70E®, Standard for Workplace Electrical Safety® and OSHA standards since the late 1970s. NFPA 70E emphasizes the importance of performing a solid risk assessment that examines all aspects of the hazards to which employees are exposed and provides a valuable tool to determine how best to mitigate the potential danger. Faces of Fire/Electrical features personal stories of electrical burn survivors whose lives have been forever altered and how more understanding, training, and a change in work culture could have significantly impacted these outcomes. Through interviews, written profiles, and related information, Faces of Fire/Electrical is a resource for electrical and non-electrical workers, and the general public to learn more about the importance of electrical safety. We are grateful to Don and his wife, Kelly, for sharing their story with us. Hear Don’s conversation with NFPA and learn how he is advocating for electrical workplace safety. Visit to watch all the videos from the series. Free resources are also available to download and share, including a recent NFPA Podcast, The Mysteries of Electrical Injuries, that takes an in-depth look at what a powerful electrical shock can do to the body, and how it’s treated. Find this information and more at
A wildfire burning at night

Burn Survivor Shares Her Story About Importance of Being Prepared for and Living Safely with Wildfire

In just the past few years, the U.S. has seen the average number of acres burned in wildfires rise exponentially. The country has watched as 40,000 structures have been destroyed, 100 lives were lost, and countless families were impacted as a result of a wildfire event in their community. Allyson Watson knows first-hand what it means to suffer at the hands of a wildfire. Forced to evacuate her home during one of the worst wildfire seasons in the history of southern California, Allyson was involved in two separate car accidents trying to flee her family home when a wildfire engulfed her community. Suffering 2nd and 3rd degree burns over 85 percent of her body as a result of the accidents, Allyson spent years recovering from her injuries. The Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors recently shared Allyson’s story on their website. As a burn survivor her journey is one of perseverance and resilience, and she credits her family and friends with helping her through the emotional and physical aspects of her recovery. As she grew stronger, Allyson’s bravery and passion spurred her on to advocate for wildfire safety, raising awareness and educating others in wildfire-prone areas about the importance of being prepared for a fire including having an evacuation plan and initiating retrofits and maintaining ignition-resistant properties. Allyson’s story is a powerful reminder about the need for better policies if we want to lower community wildfire risk. NFPA recently launched Outthink Wildfire™, an initiative that aims to drive more policy change across all levels of government to stem the tide of losses from wildfire. With so much loss, it is time for the country to take a stand, demand a new approach, and pursue a better course of action that will help us live more safety with wildfire. NFPA believes if the policy actions laid out in Outthink Wildfire are followed, we can end the destruction of communities from wildfire in the next 30 years. We are grateful to Allyson for sharing her story with us.  Read more about her journey and Outthink Wildfire on the Phoenix Society’s website.
Alan Bresleau

Remembering Alan Breslau Advocate and Founder of the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors

As the National Burn Awareness Week campaign comes to a close, we remember and honor Alan Breslau, the founder of the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors, who passed away in New Zealand over the holidays at the age of 94. Alan was a remarkable man, and he understood what it meant to suffer burn injuries. In 1963, when he was 37, Alan was in a plane crash while on a business trip. Of the 43 people onboard, seven died and 36 were injured, Alan lost his nose, an ear, an eye, the top of his head, a thumb, and some of his fingers to severe burns. The lack of support and isolation during his early recovery drove him to change the world for burn survivors and create a community of survivors, caretakers, first responders, medical professionals, researchers, and others that now spans the globe. In 1977, Alan created the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors, inspired by the mythical bird that rises out of flames in a more beautiful form. He worked to establish the first burn camp for children in Pennsylvania, and he created a program to bring people with burn injuries from developing countries to the US for care at no cost. Family, friends, and colleagues of Alan knew that a plane crash would not stop him from doing all the things he loved. In addition to his training as a chemical engineer, Alan was an accomplished musician. He not only inspired a whole new way of living for burn survivors, they say, but he did so while continuing to play the piano, write books, play tennis, and pursue all the other passions he enjoyed. Alan strongly believed that some good would come of his tragedy. Today, the Phoenix Society is recognized around the world as the leading organization for burn support, prevention, and advocacy. NFPA supports the Phoenix Society and its wonderful work, including its annual World Burn Congress, which Alan established in 1988. If you weren’t aware, NFPA collaborated with the Phoenix Society on the launch of the Faces of Fire public awareness and advocacy campaigns, aimed at reducing loss from fire and electrical injuries. We remember Alan for his amazing strength and compassion, and for his tireless efforts on behalf of burn survivors around the world. We will honor him by continuing to carry forward the work he began. Learn more about Alan Breslau and the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors on their website.    
The latest updates for NFPA LiNK

NFPA LiNK digital reference tool gets new addition with NFPA 99, Health Care Facilities Code

The new information delivery platform from the National Fire Protection Association, NFPA LiNK™, has been updated to include the 2021 edition of NFPA 99, Health Care Facilities Code. The platform, which launched in the fall of 2020, will include all NFPA codes and standards, supplementary content, and visual aids for building, electrical, and life safety professionals and practitioners. Currently, NFPA LiNK includes the 2021 edition of NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code®, which covers life safety in both new and existing structures; the four most recent editions of NFPA 70®, National Electrical Code® (NEC®), the most widely used code in the United States and referenced around the globe; the 2021 edition of NFPA 70E®, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace®, and more. For those not familiar with NFPA 99, it establishes criteria for levels of health care services or systems based on risk to the patients, staff, or visitors in health care facilities to minimize the hazards of fire, explosion, and electricity. Often used together with NFPA 101, NFPA 99 not only provides critical requirements for the ongoing design and day-to-day operations of health care facilities, but it also works to ensure optimal safety for patients and staff in the event of a natural disaster or health care crisis such as the current coronavirus pandemic. Today, work demands employees have the most current, relevant information and resources available at their fingertips to help solve problems quickly and at any given location. NFPA LiNK has been designed to provide users instant access to resources pertinent to their work and requirements for safe work practices that reduce a worker’s exposure to fire, electrical, and other hazards. To help address the needs of users, NFPA LiNK can be accessed via mobile devices, tablets, laptops, or other preferred device, and will become a “living library” that offers: The ability to work alongside the codes by adding personal notes, assigning colors, and saving to custom collections for quick and easy reference. A broader understanding of code requirements through access to expert commentary, visual aids, and helpful resources. Collaboration features to share code sections, work across teams, and ensure everyone knows what is required. Navigation tools that enable users to quickly locate the information they need based on the situations they encounter. Want to learn more? Check out the demonstration video that gives you a quick glance into many of the key functions and features of the tool. You can also get more information about the NFPA LiNK platform, including how to sign up for a free trial, a timeline of additional codes and standards that will be coming to NFPA LiNK, and a product introduction video. Find everything you need today at
Faces of Fire - Electrical

NFPA Faces of Fire electrical video campaign series highlights surgeon dedicated to the healing of patients suffering from burn injuries

In the final official video interview of the six-part Faces of Fire/Electrical campaign series, NFPA and the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors introduce Dr. Victor Joe, MD, FACS, FCCP, a clinical professor of surgery and medical director at UCI Health Regional Burn Center in California. As medical director, Dr. Joe is dedicated to the complete physical and emotional healing of patients suffering from burn injuries, including those undergoing care from burns incurred from an electrical incident.   Since its inception, electricity has made our day-to-day living easier, but with more and more devices utilizing electricity today, there is a growing potential for electrical injuries. Many electrical injuries prove fatal, but those that are not can be particularly debilitating, oftentimes involving complicated recoveries that have a lasting emotional and physical impact on an individual.  According to Dr. Joe, “Resources like the Phoenix Society have a tremendous role and benefit for aftercare and the complete recovery of the burn patient.” Through collaboration, he says, both doctors and organizations like the Phoenix Society can better assist patients and caregivers during their recovery and long after they leave the hospital. The Faces of Fire/Electrical, which debuted in September, features personal stories of electrical burn survivors whose lives have been forever altered and how more understanding, training, and a change in work culture could have significantly impacted these outcomes. Through video interviews, written profiles, and related information, Faces of Fire/Electrical has become a resource for electrical and non-electrical workers, and the general public to learn more about the importance of electrical safety.  The Faces of Fire/Electrical campaign ultimately works to help build a safer world by teaching others and supporting the burn survivor community in advancing lifelong healing, optimal recovery, and burn and injury prevention. Dr. Joe is currently a member of the Board of Directors at the Phoenix Society. His work has been published in a number of peer-reviewed journals and he is a frequent guest speaker at regional, national, and international meetings and symposia.  We sincerely thank Dr. Joe for sharing his story with us. See Dr. Joe’s video and read more about his work by visiting the Faces of Fire/Electrical website at You can view all of the videos, including the latest interview with Pam Elliot, Fire Chief Luis Nevarez from California,  Amy Acton, Chief Executive Officer of the Phoenix Society, and  the first two videos of our series featuring Dave Schury and Sam Matagi, on our dedicated campaign webpage. There you will also find free resources to download and share, including fact sheets, tip sheets, infographics and more, in addition to information about electrical safety in both the home and in the workplace.
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