Every electrical burn injury has a story. Faces of Fire/Electrical is a campaign that features stories of people impacted by electrical incidents and demonstrates the need for continued education and awareness about electrical hazards both on the job and at home.
Hear from 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. Adding to these stories of loss and resilience is an example of a physician who is dedicated to the complete physical and emotional healing of patients suffering from a burn injury.
Listen to our podcast - The Mysteries of Electrical Injuries
NFPA speaks with three renowned doctors from the Chicago Electrical Trauma Rehabilitation Institute (CETRI) about what a powerful shock can do to the human body, the treatments available, and how our understanding of these injuries is evolving. LISTEN NOW
Don Johnson, Tampa, FL
Don Johnson 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.
Victor Joe, M.D. , Orange, CA
Dr. Victor Joe works at UCI Health Regional Burn Center and sits on the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors Board. He is dedicated to the complete physical and emotional healing of patients suffering from burn injuries. Learn more.
Pam Elliott, Winston-Salem, NC
In the spring of 1959, then five-year old Pam Elliott suffered third degree burns over 50 percent of her body from a fire ignited by a damaged lighting fixture that destroyed her family home. She spent months during her elementary and high school years undergoing reconstructive surgery to help restore the function of her hands, arms, and legs, and the appearance of her injuries. Learn more.
Luis Nevarez, City of Tulare, CA
While responding to a call as a firefighter in 2002, Luis Nevarez, now Fire Chief in the City of Tulare Fire Department, accidentally touched a hidden 12,000-volt line while breaking a limb off a smoldering tree. It caused severe burn injuries, which resulted in the amputation of his left forearm. Nevarez spent 35 days in the hospital following his accident, and months recovering from his injuries. Learn more.
Amy Acton, Grand Rapids, MI
As a teenager, Amy Acton worked at a local marina. One day at work, Amy suffered severe electrical burns when the mast of a sailboat she and her friends were guiding through a nearby grassy area accidentally hit an overhead power line. She spent more than two months recovering from her injuries. Learn more.
Dave Schury, Lemont, IL
Dave Schury was working as an area operator for an Illinois power company when a rat short-circuited a 12,000-volt piece of equipment causing an explosion. He suffered second- and third-degree burns to 30 percent of his body and spent the next two weeks fighting for his life in the burn unit at Chicago’s Cook County Hospital. Learn more.
Sam Matagi, West Valley City, UT
In 2010, while working as a power lineman, Sam Matagi was involved in an electrical accident; nearly 15,000 volts of electricity surged through his body when a scrap of cut wire that he was holding came in contact with a live wire. His injuries resulted in the loss of both his hands. Learn more.
More Faces of Fire
Additional information and resources
Electrical Safety at Home
Firefighters work in varied and complex environments that expose them to a number of potential hazards. NFPA’s “United States Firefighter Injury Report” studies deaths and injuries to provide national statistics on their frequency, extent, and characteristics.
- Download the Occupational Injuries From Electrical Shock and Arc Flash Events report, which provides information on occupational injuries from electric shock and arc flash events through a review of literature, electrical incident data, and similar sources.
- Emerging technologies as well as aging systems continue to challenge safety in the electrical field. NFPA conducts research of the cause and impact of electrical incidents and injuries as well as the challenges due to new technologies.
- Read NFPA’s recent “Home Electrical Fires” report, which provides key research findings and analysis of electrical incidents in the US.
NFPA’s latest “Non-Fire Electrical Incidents” report provides a summary of local fire department responses to non-fire electrical incidents in the U.S. between 2014 – 2018.
Electrical Safety in the Workplace
- Managing workers at risk of electrical hazards is a significant responsibility. Making electrical safety education and training a top priority empowers us to make informed decisions that help minimize the chance of costly and potentially life-altering accidents. Learn more.
- The 70E fact sheet (PDF) lays out some of the major changes in the 2021 edition. It also addresses the roles of both the employer and employee regarding electrical safety and explains how the standard works with other codes and standards.
- Download ESFI’s Overhead Powerline Safety infographic (PDF) that raises awareness of the dangers of powerlines at worksites, and action steps to take to stay safe.
Electrical Safety Month