Arlington, VA— The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) is educating consumers about the importance of GFCIs in preventing electric shock and electrocutions.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that 50% of home electrocutions have been prevented by the introduction of Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs). GFCIs are electrical safety devices that trip electrical circuits when they detect ground faults or leakage currents. A person who becomes part of a path for leakage current will be severely shocked or electrocuted. These outlets prevent deadly shock by quickly shutting off power to the circuit if the electricity flowing into the circuit differs by even a slight amount from that returning. A GFCI should be used in any indoor or outdoor area where water may come into contact with electrical products. The National Electrical Code (NEC) currently requires that GFCIs be installed in all kitchens, bathrooms, garages, outdoors, and within three feet of any sink.
GFCIs have been required by the NEC since 1973. But because the code only applies to new construction, if electrical improvements have not been made in your older home, you could be putting yourself and your family at risk of electrocution.
“In a society where children and adults frequently live with phones and other electronics in their hands, it’s important to remember how deadly these devices can be when plugged into a source of electricity,” said ESFI President, Brett Brenner. “When plugged into a GFCI outlet, it could mean the difference between life and death.”
GFCIs should be tested monthly to ensure that they are in working order. Any person can test a GFCI at the receptacle, but if the device is not functioning properly, ESFI recommends contacting a qualified electrician to repair it.
To ensure that your home has GFCIs in all required locations, contact a qualified electrician near you. To learn more about electrical safety and code requirements, visit www.esfi.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 electrical safety, visit www.esfi.org.