AUTHOR: LisaMarie Sinatra

Summer Months Highlight Need to Apply Electrical Safety Practices in Marinas and on Boats

As we head into Memorial Day weekend, marinas and boatyards are ramping up for the busy boating season as people prepare to head out on the water. NFPA reminds everyone about potential electrical hazards that exist onboard boats and in waters surrounding boats, marinas, floating buildings, and launch ramps, and the need to put safety measures in place to reduce risk. During the summer, news headlines highlight incidents related to electric shock drowning (ESD). Most people have never heard about nor are they aware of ESD and the electrical dangers posed in water environments, and each year people are injured or killed from these hazards. Electric shock drowning occurs when faulty wiring sends electric current into the water that can pass through the body and cause paralysis. When this happens, a person can no longer swim and ultimately drowns.  When it comes to marinas, both saltwater and freshwater, corrosive environments can be very tough on electrical equipment. Many marinas often lack ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs), devices that automatically shut off electrical power when they detect a leakage. Compounding the problem is that there are no consistent rules about recurring safety inspections. There are things, however, that boaters, marina and boatyard operators can do to ensure safety: Tips for boat owners Avoid entering the water when launching or loading a boat. Docks or boats can leak electricity into the water causing water electrification. Pay attention to signage that warns about these risks. Each year, and after a major storm that may affect the boat, have the boat's electrical system inspected by a qualified marine electrician to be sure it meets the required codes of your area, including the American Boat & Yacht Council. Make the necessary repairs if recommended. Check with the marina owner who can also tell you if the marina's electrical system has recently been inspected to meet the required codes of your area, including the National Electrical Code® (NEC). Have ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) installed on the boat; use only portable GFCIs or shore power cords (including “Y” adapters) that are Marine Listed when using electricity near water. Test GFCIs monthly. Resources for marina and boatyard operators Cliff Norton of Bellingham Marine Utilities and a member of Code Making Panel 7, talked to NFPA about the workIn a related interview, Keith Lofland of IAEI, and chair of Code Making Panel 7, explained electric shock drowning to us and how the NEC addresses marina safety including the requirement related to ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). A recent “Marina Risk Reduction” report includes an assessment and associated action plan to prevent, mitigate and/or eliminate the harmful effects of ESD in the vicinity of marinas, boatyards, and floating buildings. You can also get the highlights in a short video. Find the interviews, a list of codes and standards that apply to boats and marinas and their related electrical safety issues, and more related information on our webpage. Follow the action steps, use these resources and join NFPA this holiday weekend and throughout the summer in promoting electrical safety on the water. Learn more at nfpa.org/watersafety.
Person jumping into a pool

NFPA Calls Attention to Pool and Boating Safety During Electrical Safety Month

Each year as the warm weather approaches we are struck here at NFPA by the number of news headlines we read about deaths related to electric shock drowning (ESD). Most people have never heard about nor are they aware of ESD and the electrical dangers posed in water environments, and each year people are injured or killed from these hazards. As we wind down Electrical Safety Month and head into Memorial Day weekend, a time when many people travel to the water’s edge, prepare their boats for the season, and open pools, we remind everyone about potential electrical hazards that exist in swimming pools, hot tubs and spas, onboard boats and in waters surrounding boats, marinas, and launch ramps. Electric shock drowning occurs when faulty wiring sends electric current into the water that can pass through the body and cause paralysis. When this happens, a person can no longer swim and ultimately drowns. To help explain ESD in more detail and how to avoid it, NFPA Journal created the following short video:     Swimmers, pool and boat owners can also familiarize themselves with the following information and share it with people they know before embarking on any water activities: Tips for swimmers Never swim near a marina, dock, or boatyard, or near a boat while it is running. While in a pool, hot tub or spa, look out for underwater lights that are not working properly, flicker, or work intermittently. If you feel a tingling sensation while in a pool, immediately stop swimming in your current direction. Try and swim in a direction where you had not felt the tingling. Exit the water as quickly as possible; avoid using metal ladders or rails. Touching metal may increase the risk of shock.  Tips for pool owners If you are putting in a new pool, hot tub, or spa, be sure the wiring is performed by an electrician experienced in the special safety requirements for these types of installations. Have a qualified electrician periodically inspect and — where necessary — replace or upgrade the electrical devices or equipment that keep your pool, spa, or hot tub electrically safe. Have the electrician show you how to turn off all power in case of an emergency. Make sure any overhead lines maintain the proper distance over a pool and other structures, such as a diving board. If you have any doubts, contact a qualified electrician or your local utility company to make sure power lines are a safe distance away. Tips for boat owners Avoid entering the water when launching or loading a boat. Docks or boats can leak electricity into the water causing water electrification. Each year, and after a major storm that may affect the boat, have the boat's electrical system inspected by a qualified marine electrician to be sure it meets the required codes of your area, including the American Boat & Yacht Council. Make the necessary repairs if recommended. Check with the marina owner who can also tell you if the marina's electrical system has recently been inspected to meet the required codes of your area, including the . Have ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) installed on the boat; use only portable GFCIs or shore power cords (including “Y” adapters) that are Marine Listed when using electricity near water. Test GFCIs monthly. Join NFPA this holiday weekend and throughout the summer by sharing resources and important information with people you know about electric shock drowning and ways to reduce your risk. For more information about electric shock drowning, please visit nfpa.org/watersafety.
Electrical worker looking at a tablet

Latest NFPA Podcast, Video, and Program Event Emphasizes Electrical Safety for Workers

Together with Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), NFPA is raising awareness about how to reduce the risk of electrical-related fires, property loss, injuries, and loss of life at home and in the workplace. And this month, sharing this vital information with workers, employers, and the public is on full display as we support National Electrical Safety Month, an annual campaign led by ESFI to further spread these lifesaving messages. Check out some of our new resources aimed at professionals and practitioners in the field: NFPA electrical content specialist, Derek Vigstol, caught up with Brett Brenner, ESFI’s president, to talk about what the data says about who most often experiences electrical injuries and how, and electrical safety considerations in the age of electric vehicles and smart home technology. Derek also talked to NEC Correlating Committee Chair Larry Ayer about how terminology remains consistent and coherent in the NEC. Listen to the NFPA Podcast interview, “Electrical Injuries on the Job and in the Home.” NFPA Journal released its newest “Learn Something New” video. Host Angelo Verzoni breaks down the differences between volts, amps, and watts, and how they relate to keeping electrical outlets in homes safe. This video provides important information you can share with people you know. The latest NFPA 70E fact sheet helps employers provide a safe workplace for employees. It explains the role NFPA 70E plays for both employer and employee and provides insight into some of the major changes of the 2021 edition. Electrical safety in the workplace was on full display on Tuesday, May 18 when NFPA hosted its “Empowering Electrical Design, Installation, and Safety” program as part of the NFPA 125th Anniversary Conference Series. Topics included dissecting the powerful relationship between OSHA and NFPA 70E, using electrical incident data to avoid occupational injuries from electrical hazards, and understanding key research related to cognitive and behavioral health changes that happen to a person after an electrical incident. The program is available on demand for up to a year. Register to watch the sessions at a later date if you missed Tuesday’s event. As we settle into the month of May, let’s work together to highlight Electrical Safety Month by sharing this important information and spreading the word on the profound impact electrical safety has on our daily lives. Find our resources and related information to share on our website at nfpa.org/electricalsafety.
Home fire sprinkler pipe

Fire Sprinklers Make a Smart Home “Genius” and … Green

Did you know your smart home can be a whole lot smarter by adding fire sprinklers? Were you aware that sprinklers are green?! This week, as we celebrate Home Fire Sprinkler Week, we tackle the misconceptions about sprinklers and urge everyone to share the facts about this life-saving technology. Day 4 of the campaign focuses on the value of sprinklers and the research conducted by FM Global and HFSC Research that looked at the environmental impact of fires. Sprinklers can play a role in reducing risk by: Controlling a fire automatically, often extinguishing it before the fire department arrives Allowing occupants to escape, especially those at high risk Protecting firefighters from exposure, which can lead to cancer and other health concerns  In addition, the research shows that fire sprinklers can REDUCE: Greenhouse gas emissions by 98 percent Fire damage by up to 97 percent Water usage to fight a fire by as much as 91 percent Water pollution  This is all to say that despite what the naysayers want you to believe, fire sprinklers are good for people and they’re good for the environment! We hope you are joining us this week and taking advantage of all the great resources available to share with those in your community. To take part in today’s event and to spread the word, visit the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition website, then: Find today’s theme and suggested content Choose a video or graphic (or both) Post the information on your website, Facebook, Twitter, or on all of your social media platforms  Take the time to use our resources during Home Fire Sprinkler Week to help protect what we all value most: our loved ones, communities, and our firefighters. For additional information, please visit the Fire Sprinkler Initiative.  Next Up: Home Fire Sprinkler Week wraps up with a focus on “Protect(ing) What You Value Most”

The Human Toll: Understanding the Physical, Emotional, and Psychological Issues Associated with Electrical Burn Injuries

NFPA has dedicated its efforts to raising awareness and helping educate workers, employers, and the public about the hazards associated with electricity both on the job and at home so that one day no one will have to suffer the effects of electrical burn injuries. Supporting ESFI and its annual Electrical Safety Month campaign provides an important platform for us to remind people about these hazards, but it is also an opportunity to share critical information about the physical, emotional, and psychological toll electrical injuries can take on a person and his/her families for months and years to come. Last fall we introduced a video campaign series in collaboration with the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors called Faces of Fire/Electrical that is devoted to telling the personal stories of people affected by electrical injuries. Survivors like Don Johnson, who suffered third-degree burns on his face, neck, and arms due to an arc flash event that happened at work and who spent years recovering from his injuries; and Pam Elliott who shares her personal story of resilience after suffering major burns over 50 percent of her body after a fire ignited by a damaged lighting fixture destroyed her family home when she was just a young girl. Electrical hazards can affect anyone at any time if we are not careful. These stories and many more highlighted in the campaign serve as powerful reminders about the need for more recognition and understanding of the electrical hazards that exist in our daily lives. Here are a few additional resources we are highlighting this month that feature stories from survivors and the doctors who treat them: In February, NFPA released a podcast called the Mysteries of Electrical Injuries. In this sobering interview, Derek Vigstol, NFPA electrical content specialist, speaks with three renowned doctors from the Chicago Electrical Trauma Rehabilitation Institute about what an electrical shock can do to the human body, the treatments available, and how our understanding of the resulting injuries continues to evolve. It’s a discussion you definitely don’t want to miss. This month we are pleased to announce that one of the doctors featured in the “Mysteries” podcast, Dr. Neil Pliskin, will be joining an impressive lineup of experts when NFPA hosts its “Empowering Electrical Design, Installation, and Safety” program as part of the NFPA 125th Anniversary Conference Series. Dr. Pliskin’s session will focus on his work with electrical injury patients and the research associated with neuropsychological issues that can arise following electrical shock injuries. In a separate video, and as part of the Faces of Fire/Electrical campaign, we interviewed Dr. Victor Joe who works at UCI Health Regional Burn Center and sits on the Phoenix Society’s Board. In his interview, Dr. Joe discusses his passionate work to treat the complete physical and emotional healing of patients suffering from burn injuries. Join us during Electrical Safety Month in sharing this crucial information and spreading the word on how we can all reduce the risk of electrical injuries and create a safer world for all. You can find these resources and more like videos, checklists, and tip sheets, on our website.  
1 2 3 4 5 ... 14

Latest Articles