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.

 

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LisaMarie Sinatra
Communications Manager, Public Affairs Office

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