Commitment to safety should not end with National Electrical Safety Month

Blog Post created by laurenbackstrom Employee on May 30, 2013

Guest post by Brett Brenner, ESFI

Brett3As National Electrical Safety Month comes to a close, the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) is reminding consumers that they can prevent electrical shocks and fires all year long by protecting their homes with tamper resistant receptacles (TRRs), arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) and ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). 

These devices, which can prevent tragedy before it ever occurs, have proven so effective that the National Electrical Code (NEC) requires them to be installed in all new homes.

Here is an overview of these home safety devices that can be easily integrated into your existing electrical system to help reduce the risk of fires and electrocutions. 

Tamper Resistant Receptacles (TRRs)

  • Every year in the United States,      more than 2,400 children under 10 years old are treated in hospital      emergency rooms for electric shock or burns caused by tampering with a      wall outlet, which could be prevented by installing TRRs in the home.
  • TRRs look just like ordinary      outlets, but are designed with spring-loaded receptacle cover plates that      close off the receptacle openings or slots. 
  • Tamper      resistant receptacles feature an internal shutter mechanism to      prevent small children from inserting foreign objects into them.

Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCIs)

  • An arc fault is a dangerous      electrical problem caused by damaged, overheated or stressed electrical      wiring or devices, and is one of the major causes of the more than 51,000      electrical fires that occur each year in the United States.
  • Branch/feeder AFCIs replace      standard circuit breakers in the home’s electrical service panel to detect      hazardous arcing conditions and shut down the electricity before a fire      can start.
  • Outlet AFCIs provide protection      to power cords and things that are plugged into the receptacle. There are      also combination AFCIs, which combine the features of circuit breaker and      outlet AFCIs.
  • Originally, AFCIs were only      required to protect bedroom circuits, but the 2011 National Electrical      Code (NEC) requires that this technology be installed in additional      areas of the home, including dining and living rooms.

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs)

  • A GFCI is a device designed to      protect people from electric shock and electrocution by constantly      monitoring electricity flow in a circuit and quickly switching off power      if it senses any loss of current.
  • If GFCIs were installed in      older homes, experts suggest that 70 percent of the electrocutions that      occur each year in the home could be prevented.
  • GFCIs can be installed at the      main service panel, in place of standard electrical outlets, or can be      used as a portable device.
  • Typically, GFCIs are installed in      areas where water and electricity are in close proximity, such as the      bathroom, garage, kitchen and basement.
  • GFCIs should be tested monthly,      as they can be damaged as a result of voltage surges from lightning,      utility switching or normal usage.

If your home is not protected by these devices, consult a licensed electrician to learn more about installing them in your home.  More information on these safety devices, including illustrated guides, fact sheets and videos, can be found on ESFI’s website