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GFCI, electrical safety month, consumers, electrical safety

May is Electrical Safety Month and NFPA and ESFI are working together to help raise awareness of electrical hazards.

During this last week of the campaign, we’re raising awareness of the importance of GFCIs and AFCIs. While these acronyms may look like alphabet soup, they’re actually important devices that can help keep you and your loved ones safer from shock and electrocution.


The formal name for AFCI is “arc-fault circuit-interrupters.” When an electrical switch is opened or closed, an arc (or more simply put, a discharge of electricity across a circuit) occurs. Unintentional arcs can occur at loose connections or where wires or cords have been damaged. Such arcs can lead to high temperatures and sparking, possibly igniting flammable materials. AFCIs protect against fire by continuously monitoring the electrical current in a circuit and shutting off the circuit when unintended arcing occurs.


A GFCI (ground-fault circuit-interrupter) works similarly to an AFCI. A ground-fault is an unintentional electrical path between a source of electrical current and a grounded surface. Electrical shock can occur if a person comes into contact with an energized part. GFCIs can greatly reduce the risk of shock by immediately shutting off an electrical circuit when that circuit represents a shock hazard (i.e. when a person comes in contact with a faulty appliance and a grounded surface).


Are you wondering if these devices actually make a difference? Well, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), about 50% of home electrocutions have been prevented by the introduction of GFCIs! That’s great news!


Does your home have life-saving AFCIs or GFCIs? Contact a qualified electrician who can survey the house and install these devices properly to help prevent shock and electrocution from happening in your home. Once installed, download ESFI’s infographic, which takes you through the steps for testing these devices monthly. If you have any questions or concerns, your electrician will be able to answer them for you.

More information about AFCIs and GFCIs and Electrical Safety Month can be found on NFPA’s electrical safety webpage and at

Logo showing cartoon images of Sparky the Fire Dog and Ace, the Blue Jays mascotThousands of school children from across the greater Toronto area and Ontario will attend the special home game of the Toronto Blue Jays May 31, marked as Fire Safety Day, part of the “Swing into Summer Safety” campaign. The Fire Marshal’s Public Fire Safety Council and its sponsors, along with participating fire departments and the support of the Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management are pleased to partner with the Toronto Blue Jays on this campaign.

The first 25,000 kids attending the game will receive a special edition baseball collector card deck, showcasing their favorite Toronto Blue Jays players.

Pre-game activities outside the Rogers Centre include opportunities to speak to firefighters. Exciting prize drawings will also be held during the game–which is against the Cincinnati Reds– and the kids will get a chance to hang out with Sparky the Fire Dog® and Ace, the Toronto Blue Jays crazy mascot.

“Swing into Summer Safety” is about educating and raising awareness among school-age children and their families about fire safety and other injury prevention.

Game time is 12:37 p.m.

electrical safety, electrical safety month, outdoor electrical safety


During this last week of our national Electrical Safety Month campaign, NFPA and ESFI are reminding people about the importance of outdoor electrical safety. We raise this issue because we know many homeowners love the look and feel that outdoor lighting brings to the exterior of our houses and landscaping, but we must also know that electrical projects come with some hazards, too.


As you embark on an electrical project for the exterior of your home, you’ll want to contact a qualified electrician who can safely provide all of the electrical work for you. Some additional tips to keep in mind:


• Call “Before You Dig” (8-1-1) before any digging on your property. They will mark where your underground utilities are located. It’s a free service!
• Have a professional tree cutting service trim branches that might fall on electric wiring. Report downed wires to authorities right away.
• Use extension cords that are listed by a qualified test laboratory and are marked for outdoor use.


There are many more great ideas you can put into practice today as you embark on an outdoor electrical project. Download NFPA’s tip sheet and keep it handy for reference.


Get additional information, tips and resources about electrical safety from NFPA’s electrical safety webpage and at

May is Electrical Safety Month and NFPA and ESFI are working together to help raise awareness of electrical hazards.


This week we are talking about electrical receptacles, also known as outlets, and why we should be diligent about ensuring they are tamper resistant. Outlets are all over our homes and offices, schools and preschools, doctor's offices, and most other establishments, so you can sometimes forget the dangers they present, especially with children. Children love to explore and investigate and they use their hands as a way to learn. If you have children at home, you know they might try to stick their fingers or a metal object like a key or a bobby pin into an outlet, so you may have used plastic outlet covers to prevent them. Do these covers actually make outlets tamper resistant? According to the ESFI infographic on tamper resistant receptacles, these plastic covers can be taken off within 10 seconds by children ages 2-4. Tamper resistant receptacles have built in shutters that prevent foreign objects from being inserted into the outlet.


Our new fact sheet also states that injuries from outlets sent 5,500 people to the hospital in 2015, and 27% of those injured were under the age of 5. 


Use these great resources above to learn more about keeping yourself and your family safe from shocks and burns from outlets, and find more electrical safety tips on our website!

Color bars indicating fire statistics

In recent years, the annual number of home fires involving clothes dryers and washing machines reported to U.S. fire departments has fluctuated from year to year, after falling in the early 1980s and then leveling off in the 1990s. This is according to a new report: Home Fires Involving Clothes Dryers and Washing Machines.Photo of the inside of a clothes dryer tumbler following by bulleted safety tips

In 2010-2014, U.S. municipal fire departments responded to an estimated 15,970 home fires involving clothes dryers or washing machines each year. These fire resulted in annual losses estimated at 13 deaths, 440 injuries and $238 million in direct property damage.

A printable clothes dryer and washing machines fact sheet includes quick statistics from the new report. The Clothes Dryer Safety tip sheet outlines safety measures for preventing a clothes dryer fire.

A Nebraska grandmother, who lost family to fire, has launched a campaign stressing the importance of dual sensor smokePhoto of tip sheet and bullet points of tips on smoke alarms alarms. According to WOWT News, Jo Lynne Lehan’s son’s family had working smoke alarms the morning of a fire in their home, but not dual sensor. In October 2016, Michael and Michelle Speer, along with their four girls were killed in the fire.

“No one should have to go through what our families have gone through, losing people we love,” Lehan is quoted as saying.

An ionization smoke alarm, in general, is more responsive to flaming fires, and a photoelectric smoke alarm, in general, is more responsive to smoldering fires.

For the best protection or where extra time is needed to awaken or assist others, both ionization smoke alarms and photoelectric smoke alarms or combination ionization-photoelectric alarms, also known as dual sensor smoke alarms, are recommended.

Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room, outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level of the home, including the basement. Larger homes may require additional smoke alarms to provide a minimum level of protection.

Interconnect all smoke alarms throughout the home for the best protection. When one sounds, they all sound. It is especially important to have interconnected smoke alarms if you sleep with doors closed.

The smoke alarm section of the NFPA website, along with the smoke alarm safety tip sheet and community toolkit on smoke alarms provide additional safety information.

electrical safety month, electrical safety, tip sheet, ESFI, home electrical safety

May is national Electrical Safety Month and throughout the month, NFPA and ESFI have been raising awareness of potential home electrical hazards and the importance of electrical fire safety.

This week we’re highlighting our updated “Keeping Your Community Safe and Energized” toolkit for the fire service. From customized news releases and letters to the editor, to tip sheets (also available in Spanish) and talking points, the toolkit provides resources to help local fire departments spread the word about electrical safety to residents. Just download the information you need, print it out and distribute. Or take advantage of the great information available and provide tips and ideas in your newsletter or on social media. .

Learn more about electrical fire safety on NFPA’s campaign webpage and at, and stay tuned for more great resources throughout the month!

Today, about 60 (from an applicant pool of over 1,100!) fire and life safety educators from rural fire departments across the U.S., are at our Quincy headquarters for a two day symposium diving into their particular needs and challenges.


Throughout the two days, attendees will have the opportunity to hear from many NFPA staff members on topics that will hopefully help them back home including NFPA's free public education resources, fire and life safety challenges and solutions, prevention efforts, and how to use data to learn about and develop solutions for the rural fire problem. One of these presentations will also be live streamed at 1:15pm ET today - so tune in to hear about big data tools for small departments by NFPA's Matt Hinds-Aldrich.


We hope to learn as much from attendees as they learn from us today as well, so there are many opportunities for brainstorming, sharing, questions and networking, and we are excited to have everyone here.


Want to get involved, or learn more? Join our Xchange Rural Firefighters Connection group to stay updated on the symposium's events as well as to network with attendees and others into the future.  

Public Information Specialist speaks before West Virginia Fire Service

Fire departments across The Mountain State have gathered in Charleston this week for the West Virginia Fire Safety Summit. Participants are being provided with an overview of NFPA Public Education resources, smoke alarm canvassing and installation tools, West Virginia fire statistics, and wildland fire safety information.

Courtney Rosemond, (pictured above) public information specialist with the West Virginia State Fire Marshal’s Office and Public Education Network representative for NFPA, talked about the fire death rate in the state, which officials describe as a crisis, and programs the fire service needs to create to increase fire safety practices among residents.

In addition, experts from across the region exhibited tools and resources of use for fire safety education efforts.

Representatives of The American Red Cross, Kidde Fire Safety, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission are among the participants of the two-day summit.

A pile of oily rags

Are you doing spring cleaning and home improvement projects? If so, you’ll want to take precautions. Keep in mind that rags used to wipe up oil-based paints, stains, and varnishes can ignite on their own and can start a fire if not handled carefully. The same is true of the liquids themselves

An average of 1,600 home fires per year are caused by instance of spontaneous combustion or chemical reaction.

NFPA’s new tip sheet, “Safety with Oily Rags Wet with Flammable or Combustible Liquid,” explains the hazards, provides safety tips on both rags wet with paint and stain and liquids that can catch fire, and information on proper use and storage of gasoline.

Wildfire Community Preparedness Day was recognized Saturday, May 6th, but it's not too late to make your home safer from the possibility of a wildfire now, and throughout the year.  Many people think that wildfires only occur in certain regions of the U.S., but any area can be susceptible with the combination of drought, warmer temperatures, high winds, and an excess of dried vegetation on a forest floor.  Perhaps even more surprising is that the wildfire season has actually become progressively worse over the past 50 years!


Take a few minutes to learn how to protect your home and family through some simple safety tips on Wildfire Safety, and learn more about the conditions that cause these fires, as I did while talking with NFPA's Michele Steinburg on a recent radio interview featuring wildfire safety.

5  children smiling and splashing in a swimming pool

Coinciding with National Electrical Safety Month, an annual campaign to educate key audiences about the steps that can be taken in order to reduce the number of electrical-related fires, fatalities, and injuries, NFPA has created a new tip sheet–Electrical Safety around Swimming Pools, Hot Tubs and Spas.

The tip sheet provides information on how to be aware of electrical hazards while enjoying the water and measures to take for safety.

In addition, NFPA, working with the Electrical Safety Foundation International, has facts and resources addressing the common causes of shock and electrocution, both at home and on the job.

What better way to enjoy our favorite foods than to cook them on the grill, right? But before you run out to the backyard and fire up the coals this summer, we encourage you to answer four important questions that will help reduce the risk of injury when grilling.

What are these four questions, you ask? They have to do with turning the grill on and off safely, and what to do when the grill doesn't ignite. Think you know the answers? Test your knowledge while watching our short, fun video below. Learn the basics of safe grilling practices along with other residents who bravely, and in good fun, volunteered to try and answer the same questions.


According to NFPA’s latest "home grill fires" report, most grilling fires happen in July, followed by May, June and August. So don’t just stop with the video, get additional information by downloading our tip sheet, and check out our other grilling-related information including tips on outdoor entertaining.

With the whole summer ahead of us, let’s get started now and put those safety measures in place. Enjoy the summer everyone!

Parent telling child not to pick up matches and lighters

A couple and four children escaped a fire that happened recently in a multi-unit residential building in Racine, Wisconsin. According to the Racine Journal Times, Racine fire investigators say the fire started after a 5-year-old child playing with a lighter accidentally sparked the blaze.

Cliff Gardly and his wife, Alicia Mild, heard a smoke alarm sound. As Mild got the grandchildren out of the home, Gardly, with a blanket, tried to smother the fire, which was on a bedroom mattress. He began choking because of the smoke. The couple and children got down the steps to safety before the home was engulfed in flames.

NFPA’s tip sheet on smoke alarms in the home states the following:

  • If the smoke alarm sounds, get out and stay out. Never go back inside for people or pets.
  • If you have to escape through smoke, get low and go under the smoke to your way out.
  • Call the fire department from outside your home.

NFPA’s tip sheets on escape planning and young firesetters also provide essential safety guidance.

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