This week NFPA and the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors announced the rollout of the first two video interviews of a new campaign series entitled, Faces of Fire/Electrical, which features personal stories of people impacted by electrical incidents and demonstrates the need for continued education and awareness about electrical hazards in the workplace and at home.
The campaign introduces two electrical utility workers who were injured in the field. Dave Schury was working as an area operator for an Illinois power company when a rat short-circuited a 12,000-volt piece of equipment causing an explosion. He suffered second- and third-degree burns to 30 percent of his body and spent the next two weeks fighting for his life in the burn unit at Chicago’s Cook County Hospital. In 2010, while working as a power lineman, Sam Matagi was involved in an electrical incident; nearly 15,000 volts of electricity surged through his body when a scrap of cut wire he was holding came in contact with a live wire. His injuries resulted in the loss of both his hands.
Sam, Dave, and the many electrical burn survivors who appear in this campaign have had their lives forever altered but they have made it their personal quest to actively support others with burn injuries and stand up for safety. Their stories are a testament to how more understanding, training, and a change in work culture could have significantly impacted these outcomes.
Woven into these stories of resilience is an interview with Dr. Victor C. Joe, a physician specializing in trauma, burn, and critical care surgery at the University of California/Irvine Health Regional Burn Center. Dr. Joe is dedicated to the complete physical and emotional healing of patients suffering from a burn injury. Through video interviews and written profiles available online, Faces of Fire/Electrical is a resource for electrical and non-electrical workers and the general public to learn more about the importance of electrical safety.
While many electrical injuries prove fatal, those that are not can be particularly debilitating, oftentimes involving complicated recoveries and lasting emotional and physical impact. The Faces of Fire/Electrical campaign ultimately works to help build a safer world by teaching others and supporting the burn survivor community in advancing lifelong healing, optimal recovery, and burn and injury prevention. We cannot thank everyone enough for their willingness to share their stories with us.
Over the course of the campaign we will highlight a new video interview every few weeks. Visit our dedicated webpage to view them. There you will also find free resources to download and share, in addition to information about electrical safety in both the home and in the workplace.
Find out more at www.nfpa.org/facesoffire.