Electricity is a major cause of home fires. As each year goes by, Americans continue to use more energy in their homes. At the same time, the electrical systems in many existing homes have become outdated, and are unable to handle the demands of today’s electrical appliances and devices.
The statistics are staggering. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), electrical failures or malfunctions were factors in an estimated 46,500 home fires in 2010. These fires caused 420 deaths, 1,520 injuries, and $1.5 billion in property damage. And fire is not the only danger. Thousands of children and adults are critically injured and electrocuted annually from electrical hazards in their own homes.
But now, new technology such as arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) and tamper resistant receptacles (TRRs) are preventing tragedy before it ever occurs. In fact, these devices have proven so effective that the 2008 National Electrical Code (NEC) significantly increased requirements for AFCI and TRR protection in all new homes.
Incorporating recent advances in technology into your home can help reduce the risk of fires and electrocutions.
Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCIs) – An AFCI is a new type of circuit breaker which recognizes fire hazards and immediately shuts off the power. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Healthy Homes report lists lack of AFCIs among the primary residential hazards associated with burns and fire-related injuries.
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) – GFCIs are special outlets that have saved thousands of people from electrocution over the last three decades. If GFCIs were installed in older homes, experts suggest that 70 percent of the electrocutions that occur each year in the home could be prevented.
Tamper Resistant Receptacles (TRRs) – Tamper resistant receptacles feature an internal shutter mechanism to prevent small children from inserting foreign objects into them. These specialized outlets have been so effective in preventing injuries to children that the National Electrical Code requires that tamper resistant receptacles be installed in all newly constructed homes.