October 11, 2011, Arlington, VA - In an effort to combat the alarming number of deaths and injuries, as well as the staggering amount of property damage caused by electrical fires, the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) has joined the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) in promoting Fire Prevention Week 2011. In keeping with this year’s theme, “It’s Fire Prevention Week. Protect Your Family from Fire,” ESFI is urging consumers to take a proactive approach to fire safety by equipping their homes with advanced fire protection technology.
Electrical fires are a real concern for homeowners year after year. On average, a staggering 50,900 home structure fires involving some form of electrical failure or malfunction are reported each year. These fires result in nearly 500 deaths, more than 1,400 injuries, and $1.3 billion in direct property damage annually. Arc faults, a dangerous condition caused by overheated or stressed electrical wiring or devices, are the cause of more than half of the reported electrical fires.
“Preventing a fire before it starts is the best way to protect your family,” states ESFI president Brett Brenner. “Arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) are one of the most important advancements in electrical fire protection for the home.”
AFCIs are advanced electronic circuit breakers that replace standard breakers in a home’s electrical service panel. These innovative devices provide a higher level of fire protection by detecting dangerous arcing conditions and shutting down the power to the affected circuit before a fire can start. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that AFCIs could prevent more than 50 percent of the electrical fires that occur every year.
The 2011 National Electrical Code (NEC) includes expanded requirements for AFCIs. In addition to bedroom circuits, the NEC requires that AFCI technology be installed for other areas of the home, including living and dining rooms. Though these requirements are currently limited to new home construction, older homes with aging wiring systems can also benefit from the added protection of AFCIs. Depending on the size of the home, the cost to install AFCIs ranges from $140 to $350.
Protect yourself, your loved ones, and your community by learning about the latest electrical safety guidelines and technology. ESFI has developed a number of resources to help ensure you are prepared before a fire emergency happens. For more information and free resources, visit ESFI’s website at www.electrical-safety.org. For more information about Fire Prevention Week, visit the NFPA website at www.firepreventionweek.org.
The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) sponsors National Electrical Safety Month each May to increase public awareness of the electrical hazards around us at home, work, school, and play. ESFI is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated exclusively to promoting electrical safety. For more information about ESFI and National Electrical Safety Month, visit www.electrical-safety.org.