Since the first introduction of ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) in homes, there has been an 81% drop in electrocutions.
The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) is urging Georgia lawmakers to retain GFCI protection on dryer and range receptacles inside homes. There have been 46 incidents of major shocks that required hospitalization between 2015 and 2020. These incidents could be prevented with GFCI requirements. It is imperative Georgia lawmakers do not vote to remove 125 through 250-volt GFCI protection from the state’s National Electrical Code (NEC) adoption. These lifesaving devices are a critical reason why electrocutions have dropped by 81% since they were first introduced.
Since 1971, GFCIs have saved thousands of lives and have helped cut the number of home electrocutions in half. 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 NEC currently requires that GFCIs be used in all bathrooms, basements and crawlspaces, garages, kitchens, laundry areas, outdoors, and on dryer and range receptacles. The removal of GFCI protection from dryers and ranges will place home occupants at risk of shock and electrocution. The 2020 NEC introduced GFCI protection for dryers and ranges as a result of multiple children that were electrocuted.
The NEC codifies the minimum requirements for safe electrical installation in a single, standardized source. While the NEC is not itself a law, it is commonly mandated by state or local law. Where the NEC is adopted, anything less than the standards set by it is illegal. The NEC revision is an open process that produces a new code every three years. The most recent edition of the NEC was released in 2020.
When states do not adopt the NEC in a timely fashion, they risk the lives of their residents by not implementing the latest lifesaving technology required by newer editions of the code. Amendments removing this technology could lead to a rise in consumer injuries and death from electrical shock and electrocution.
To learn more about GFCIs, the NEC, or for free electrical safety materials to share throughout your community, visit esfi.org.
ESFI is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated exclusively to promoting electrical safety. For more information and to use ESFI’s free-to-share electrical safety resources throughout your community, visit esfi.org.