Every day in the U.S. 150 homes will catch fire because of electrical issues. Homeowners can take steps to prevent many of these fires each year, says the Electrical Safety Foundation International and Mr. Electric®, sponsors of May as National Electrical Safety Month.
As part of its campaign this year, the foundation and Mr. Electric are is helping consumers identify and correct electrical fire hazards commonly found in homes. One safety device highlighted in this year’s campaign is being touted as the biggest innovation in decades for preventing electrical fires. These devices, known as Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters, or AFCIs, are advanced electronic circuit breakers that detect dangerous conditions in a home’s wiring. When a problem is detected, these devices immediately cut the power to the circuit before a fire can start.
“In addition to saving lives, use of AFCI technology in the US will reduce the number of home fires by over 30,000, and prevent nearly $750 million in property damage each year,” notes Brett Brenner, president of ESFI.
While the recently released 2008 National Electrical Code® requires combination AFCI protection to be included in all new homes constructed, the final decision is left up to individual states to adopt the new Code into law. However, not everyone is excited about the new code. “Code adoption is becoming more of challenge as homebuilders are attacking several of the important fire prevention and safety features added to the new Code, including AFCIs,” added Jeff Meyers, president of Mr. Electric. “Homebuilders claim that the new safety features will make homes too expensive. In actuality, the additional cost is estimated to be $300-$400 for the average new home.”
“It is a small price to pay for decades of fire protection,” points out Brenner.
Organizations who have endorsed AFCI technology include: the United States Fire Administration, the National Fire Protection Association, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the National Association of State Fire Marshals. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Healthy Homes report lists the lack of AFCIs among the primary residential hazards associated with burns and fire-related injuries.
More information on AFCIs and other resources relating to National Electrical Safety Month 2008, including a checklist which identifies dangers commonly found in aging homes, are available at www.electrical-safety.org.
The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) is dedicated exclusively to promoting electrical safety. Established in 1994, ESFI proudly sponsors National Electrical Safety Month each May and focuses on reducing electrically related deaths,injuries and property loss. Funded solely by the industry, ESFI is the leading authority and advocate of electrical safety.
About Mr. Electric®:
Established in 1994, Mr. Electric is a global franchise organization providing electrical installation and repair services. Recognized by Entrepreneur magazine among its “Franchise 500,” Mr. Electric franchisees provide these services to both residential and commercial customers at over 200 locations worldwide. Mr. Electric is a subsidiary of The Dwyer Group, Inc. For further information or to find the location nearest you, visit www.mrelectric.com.