Fire truck racing down the street

Firefighter safety the spotlight of latest video interview for Faces of Fire electrical hazard awareness campaign

Faces of Fire campaignThis fall, NFPA and the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors announced the launch of a new campaign series, Faces of Fire/Electrical, which features personal stories of people impacted by electrical incidents, demonstrating the need for continued education and awareness about electrical hazards in the workplace and at home. Over the course of the campaign we are highlighting a new video interview every few weeks.

This week, we introduce Luis Nevarez, a division chief in the City of Tulare Fire Department in California. While responding to a call as a firefighter in 2002, Luis accidentally touched a hidden 12,000-volt line while breaking a limb off a smoldering tree. The incident caused severe burn injuries, which resulted in the amputation of his left forearm. Luis spent 35 days in the hospital following his accident, and months recovering from his injuries. 

According to the latest U.S. Firefighter Injury Report from NFPA, an estimated 58,250 firefighter injuries occurred in the line of duty in 2018, and while the majority of firefighter injuries are minor, a significant number are often debilitating and career ending. When it comes to electrical dangers, many believe they exist only at vehicle accidents or structure fires, but the truth is, electrical lines can present safety risks in nearly every fire and emergency situation. The warning signs, however, are not always visible to allow firefighters to recognize the dangers.

Luis’ story is powerful and today he continues to advocate for a safe work environment for members of the fire service. Systemic change, including training and education about the electrical hazards firefighters face while on call is essential. If firefighters and first responders are better equipped to identify the warnings early, they can reduce their risk of injuries from electricity, including treating all electrical lines and components as live until they are deemed safe.

We are grateful to Luis for sharing his story with us.

You can view all of the videos, including the latest interview with 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.

See Luis’ video and read more about his work by visiting the Faces of Fire/Electrical website at nfpa.org/facesoffire

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LisaMarie Sinatra
Communications Manager, Public Affairs Office