Shutting off the electric supply to a building in the event of a fire or other emergency has been a problem that has plagued firefighters for many years. As they attempt to put out a fire and rescue occupants, electrical systems pose significant line-of-duty hazards. In many instances, when a house is fully involved and the fire does not present a rescue situation, fire departments will rely on the electric utility to arrive and shut off the power supply to the building, a delay that often results in a total loss. Firefighters have argued that they could work safer and be more effective if they could simply turn off a building’s electric supply themselves.
To address this issue, electrical experts put the subject on the table at the recent first draft meeting of the 2020 NFPA 70: National Electrical Code, along with other topics that point to evolving technology and building practices that can help improve safety.
Learn more about this issue in my recent In Compliance column in the March/April 2018 issue of NFPA Journal where I discuss some of these key topics as well as a handful of proposed revisions such as Article 230 of the NEC, in greater detail.