Did you know that as of 2020, there have been 16 revisions of The National Electrical Code since 1977, the year the average American home was built?
Many people are unaware of the protections provided by The National Electrical Code or the process through which this code becomes enforceable. While it is not necessary to know the ins and outs, one should be aware of the risks to impede the timely adoption of the most recent version.
The National Electrical Code codifies the minimum requirements for the safe electrical installations in a single, standardized source. While the NEC is not itself a law, the NEC is commonly mandated by state or local law. Where the NEC is adopted, anything less than the standards set by the NEC are illegal. The NEC revision is an open process that produces a new code every three years. The process includes:
NFPA Technical Session
Standards Council Action – Appeals and Issuance of the NEC
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 National Electrical Code. For example, as of 2017, the state of Pennsylvania, which was one of the top three states to lead the nation in the number of fire-related deaths*, is currently utilizing the 2008 version of the NEC. If Pennsylvania adopts the 2011 code during the next code cycle, the state will potentially be 9 years behind in electrical safety.
Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupters
First required in the 1970s, the Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that 50% of home electrocutions have been prevented by GFCIs.
Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupters
First required in 1999, AFCIs prevent the most common cause of electrically related fires, arc-faults, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that 50% of electrical fires that occur every year can be prevented by AFCIs.
Tamper Resistant Receptacles
A study by Temple University found that 100% of all 2-4 year olds were able to remove plastic outlet caps within 10 seconds. TRRs provide a permanent solution to receptacle related injuries.
Regional industry representatives from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the National Electrical Manufacturer's Association (NEMA) are available to work with you to support your NEC adoption efforts. Contact a representative near you for expert assistance and local support: http://www.nfpa.org/nec/nec-adoption-and-use/nec-adoption-support-kit