While the methods and materials used to install safe electrical systems have improved considerably throughout the over 125-year history of the National Electrical Code (NEC), we know there’s still much work to be done to address the fact that every year, according to NFPA research, electrical-related malfunctions are responsible for an average of 61,000 fires, over $2 billion in direct property losses, and 432 deaths.
To help address this issue, it’s important that states enact and enforce fire, electrical, building, and life safety codes and standards, and utilize the latest codes and standards that establish minimum levels of safety to protect people and property. As I write this, I’m pleased to report that the state of Massachusetts’ recent update of the Massachusetts Electrical Code to contain the requirements of the 2020 edition of the NEC (plus MA-specific amendments) is the first state to implement the latest version of the code. Read the press release.
Recent polling by the NFPA Fire & Life Safety Policy Institute shows that people feel the government should be held accountable for ensuring safety requirements are up-to-date for their constituents. They assume it is currently happening. But in many cases it is not. Massachusetts’ efforts, however, demonstrate a true understanding of the code’s vital public safety mission and its value to the electrical community and its residents.
In today’s fast-paced world, a changing infrastructure, new technology, evolving risks, and competing priorities all put pressure on maintaining strong fire and life safety protections. It’s critical that all levels of government take their responsibility for keeping their communities safe from fire, electrical, and other hazards, seriously. Massachusetts serves as an important example of this. It’s our belief, and hope, that other states will follow in Massachusetts’ footsteps. It is what citizens expect of them.
For additional information, check out the NEC enforcement and usage map on NFPA’s website, and find out where the NEC is currently in effect.