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125 Posts authored by: lisamariesinatra Employee

With the arrival of summer and the July 4th holiday just around the corner, NFPA is reminding people about potential electrical hazards that exist in swimming pools, hot tubs and spas, onboard boats and in waters surrounding boats, marinas, and launch ramps.

Most people have never heard of nor are they aware of electrical dangers posed in water environments such as electric shock drowning (ESD), and each year people are injured or killed from these hazards.

Electric shock drowning happens when marina or onboard electrical systems leak electric current into the water. The current then passes through the body and causes paralysis. When this happens, a person can no longer swim and ultimately drowns. 

 

Here are tips for swimmers, pool and boat owners:

Tips for swimmers

  • Never swim near a marina, dock or boatyard, or near a boat while it’s running.
  • While in a pool, hot tub or spa, look out for underwater lights that are not working properly, flicker or work intermittently.
  • If you feel a tingling sensation while in a pool, immediately stop swimming in your current direction. Try and swim in a direction where you had not felt the tingling. Exit the water as quickly as possible; avoid using metal ladders or rails. Touching metal may increase the risk of shock.

 Tips for pool owners

  • If you are putting in a new pool, hot tub or spa, be sure the wiring is performed by an electrician experienced in the special safety requirements for these types of installations.
  • Have a qualified electrician periodically inspect and — where necessary — replace or upgrade the electrical devices or equipment that keep your pool, spa or hot tub electrically safe. Have the electrician show you how to turn off all power in case of an emergency.
  • Make sure any overhead lines maintain the proper distance over a pool and other structures, such as a diving board. If you have any doubts, contact a qualified electrician or your local utility company to make sure power lines are a safe distance away.

Tips for pool owners

  • Avoid entering the water when launching or loading a boat. Docks or boats can leak electricity into the water causing water electrification.
  • Each year, and after a major storm that affects the boat, have the boat’s electrical system inspected by a qualified marine electrician to be sure it meets the required codes of your area, including the American Boat & Yacht Council. Make the necessary repairs if recommended. Check with the marina owner who can also tell you if the marina’s electrical system has recently been inspected to meet the required codes of your area, including the National Electrical Code® (NEC).
  • Have ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) installed on the boat; use only portable GFCIs or shore power cords (including “Y” adapters) that are Marine Listed when using electricity near water. Test GFCIs monthly.

 

NFPA has additional resources for swimmers, boat and pool owners, including tip sheets, checklists, and more that can be downloaded and shared. Please visit www.nfpa.org/watersafety.

Since the early 2000s, the media has reported on  deaths from electric shock drowning (ESD), yet many people say they have never heard about this troubling trend. ESD can occur in swimming pools, hot tubs, spas, marinas, lakes and ponds, and it happens when faulty wiring sends an electrical current into the water. The current then passes through the body and causes paralysis. When this happens, a person can no longer swim and ultimately drowns. 

 

Some would argue the number of electric shock deaths reported are not that high, yet ESD severely injuries and kills many people a year. Why the discrepancy? ESD, unfortunately, is not easy to detect in an autopsy, which leads to ESD cases not being properly reported or investigated. In most cases, first responders have to rely on the accounts of eyewitnesses who hear cries for help and/or learn from other swimmers that they felt a tingling sensation in the water. Most often, the cases end up being reported as drownings and the real cause of death — electricity in the water — remains completely undetected.

 

Sounds scary? It is. All this month NFPA is raising awareness of electrical hazards in and around our homes during National Electrical Safety Month. As we head into Memorial Day weekend and the start of summer, we encourage people to learn more about the potential risks that exist in swimming pools, hot tubs and spas, on board boats and in the waters surrounding boats, marinas and launch ramps. The good news is, these deaths are preventable if we take the time to understand the dangers and obey the warning signs.

 

Our new video (below) is one way we’re helping educate people so we can all safely enjoy summer water activities. The video is meant to be shared and we invite you to give it to family members, friends and neighbors. After watching it, take the opportunity to start a discussion with those you love about the ways you can reduce your risk of ESD.

 

 

NFPA has a number of really great resources, too, for swimmers, boat and pool owners, as well as for marina operators including tip sheets, checklists, brochures and more that you can download, use (and share!) immediately. You can find everything at www.nfpa.org/watersafety. For more great insight on this topic, check out NFPA's electrical technical lead, Derek Vigstol's latest blog

 

As the summer months beckon us to the beauty of watering holes and backyard pools, let’s work together to help raise more awareness of this deadly problem so that all of us can stay safe this summer and throughout the year. 

September is Campus Fire Safety Month and NFPA and The Center for Campus Fire Safety (The Center) are working together to help raise awareness of the dangers of fires among college-aged students who live in on- and off-campus housing. During this last week of our “Campus Fire Safety for Students” campaign, we’re focusing on the importance of keeping stairwells clear for emergency evacuations.

 

For anyone who has lived in dorm room or off campus apartment, you know the rooms are small there is never enough space to store your belongings. But that doesn’t mean the hallway should act as a substitute closet. Keeping exit doors and the stairs clear of “stuff” allows students to make a fast escape in case of a fire.

 

The short video below features a local college student who provides this and a few other tips that point out the importance of keeping stairwells clear for emergencies.

 

 

If you’re a fire safety educator, a professional responsible for student safety on campus, or a parent, take a couple of seconds to review the video and share it with your student(s) on social media, online or in a face-face meeting. 

 

Learn more about the campaign and get additional resources like checklists, tip sheets you can share at www.nfpa.org/campus and www.campusfiresafety.org.

September is Campus Fire Safety Month and NFPA and The Center for Campus Fire Safety (The Center) are working together to help raise awareness of the dangers of fires among college-aged students who live in on- and off-campus housing. During this third week of our “Campus Fire Safety for Students” campaign, we’re focusing on the dangers of overloading extension cords, power strips and outlets.

 

When it comes to college housing, there’s usually more than one person sharing the space and that means LOTS of computers, cell phones, iPads, appliances, lamps (need I keep going?) that need to be on and charged on a daily basis.

 

When you put too many plugs into an extension cord and load up an outlet, it’s important to remember you’re overloading the circuit, which in turns heats up and catches fire. The short video below features a local student who provides this and a few other tips that point out the correct way to use a power strip and outlet.

 

 

If you’re a fire safety educator, a professional responsible for student safety on campus, or a parent, take a couple of seconds to review the video and share it with your student(s) on social media, online or in a face-face meeting. 

 

Learn more about the campaign and get additional resources like checklists and our  student-to-student tip sheet at www.nfpa.org/campus and www.campusfiresafety.org.

college fire safety, study abroad

 

September is Campus Fire Safety Month and NFPA and The Center for Campus Fire Safety (The Center) are working together to help raise awareness of the dangers of fires among college-aged students who live in on- and off-campus housing.During this second week of our “Campus Fire Safety for Students” campaign, we want to focus on fire safety for students studying abroad.

 

In 2011, a fast-moving fire swept through a building in Paris that killed four people and injured many others. Three of the victims were students studying abroad. The building where they lived had no smoke alarms, no fire escapes, and only narrow wooden stairwells that became overcrowded and impassable in the fire.


When it comes to college students, including those traveling and studying abroad, we can't emphasize safety enough. Other countries approach fire safety and public education differently, according to a column in the January/February 2017 NFPA Journal issue called, Fire Safety Abroad. It's on us to understand these differences and take the appropriate steps to help ensure the safety of our young adults when they go overseas.Three of these tips include:


• Take a couple of battery-operated smoke alarms with you and place them in the apartment
• Try and live on a low floor so you can be reached by a fire truck ladder
• Choose a residence made of brick or stone rather than wood and with unobstructed windows


As students apply for and prepare for semester abroad programs, review these simple but lifesaving measures. As a fire safety educator or parent, take the time to talk to your student(s) about the risks and the steps they can take to stay safe from fire while away from home. 


Learn more about the campaign and get additional resources like checklists and our student-to student checklist at www.nfpa.org/campus and www.campusfiresafety.org.

campus fire safety, fire safety abroad, student fire safety

September is Campus Fire Safety Month and NFPA and The Center for Campus Fire Safety (The Center) are working together to help raise awareness of the dangers of fires among college-aged students who live in on- and off-campus housing.

 

During this first week of our “Campus Fire Safety for Students” campaign, we want to focus on household appliances. In the whirlwind of our morning routine there’s always a chance we’ll forget our keys or lunch or (fill in your own item!). Add in distractions like texts or work/school email and it’s more likely we’ll walk out the door without remembering to turn off the lights or more importantly, turn off appliances that generate heat and increase our risk for fire (think:  coffee pots, hair straighteners, etc.).

 

The short video below hosted by a local student provides a quick reminder about the importance of turning off appliances.

 

If you’re a fire safety educator, a professional responsible for student safety on campus, or a parent, take a couple of seconds to review the video and share it with your student(s) on social media, online or in a face-face meeting. 

 

Learn more about the campaign and get additional resources like checklists and our campus fire safety tip sheet at www.nfpa.org/campus and www.campusfiresafety.org.

grilling, grilling fire safety, fourth of July

With summer in full swing, many of us are busy preparing menus, and our grills, for all the barbecues, backyard soirees and beach parties we’ll be hosting (and attending!).

 

But before you fire up that grill, NFPA is reminding people to brush up on their grilling skills. According to our reports, July is the peak month for grilling fires and we want everyone to play it safe.

Not sure where to start? Here are some resources to help:

• A "Grilling Fire Safety Tips" video that takes you through four quick steps to help you make the right decisions when it comes time to turn on (and turn off) that grill.
Checklists and tip sheets provide best practices for when you’re actually cooking on the grill.
• Tips for outdoor cooking with portable grills for when you head to the park, beach or campground.
• A "Simple Test for Checking Gas Grill Leaks" video that provides basic tips on how to prepare your grill before your first cookout of the season.

 

All of these resources can be downloaded for free and make it easy for you to follow along as you start cooking for family and friends. There's even information about how to keep fire safe while entertaining guests outside at your home. Share them with friends and family!

 

This holiday and throughout the summer, NFPA wants everyone to keep grilling fire safety top of mind. Start now by checking out our grilling fire safety webpage for all of these resources and more. You’ll find that if you do, you’ll be able to create wonderful memories and meals now and for months to come!

So play it safe, everyone, and have a great summer!

electric shock drowning, ESD, marina safety, boating safety, pool safety

 

Since the early 2000s, the media has reported on a number of deaths from electric shock drowning (ESD). What is ESD? If you haven't heard about it before, you're not alone. Unfortunately, ESD is not well known. ESD occurs when faulty wiring sends an electrical current into the water. The current then passes through the body and causes paralysis, and ultimately results in drowning. ESD can occur in swimming pools, hot tubs, spas, marinas, lakes and ponds.

 

 

Some would argue the number of electric shock deaths reported are not that high, yet ESD severely injuries and kills many people a year. Why the discrepancy? Due to how difficult its detection is, drownings caused by ESD are not properly reported or investigated because autopsies won’t reveal any evidence of ESD. In most cases, first responders have to rely on the accounts of eyewitnesses who hear cries for help or they learn from other swimmers that they felt a tingling sensation in the water. Most often, the cases end up being reported as drownings, and the real cause of death — the electricity in the water — remains completely undetected.


Sounds scary? It is. And now with summer in full swing, NFPA and Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) are joining forces to remind people about the potential electrical hazards that exist in swimming pools, hot tubs and spas, on board boats and in the waters surrounding boats, marinas and launch ramps. The good news is, these deaths are preventable if we take the time to understand the risks and obey the warning signs.

 

Our new video (above) is one way we’re helping to educate people so we can all safely enjoy summer water activities.The video is meant to be shared and we invite you to give it to family members, friends and neighbors. After watching it, take the opportunity to start a discussion with those you love about the ways you can reduce your risk of ESD.

 

NFPA and ESFI have a number of really great resources, too, for swimmers, boat and pool owners, as well as for marina operators including tip sheets, checklists, brochures and more that you can download and use (and share!) immediately. You can find everything at www.nfpa.org/watersafety and on ESFI’s website.

 

Starting today, let's work together on eliminating injuries and drownings from electric shock so all of us can stay safe this summer and throughout the year. 

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 www.esfi.org.

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 www.esfi.org.

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 www.esfi.org, and stay tuned for more great resources throughout the month!

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!

campus fire safety, fire safety abroad, student fire safety

NFPA, Campus Firewatch, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) have long been advocates for fire safety on college campuses and this year we’re teaming up again to promote "See It Before You Sign It", a campaign aimed at parents and college students to raise awareness about off-campus housing fire hazards. 


Having fire safety measures in place in the home or apartment is often overlooked by students who are often more interested in finding housing that is inexpensive, close to campus or provides them with their own bedroom. The "See It Before You Sign It" campaign is a great way for parents to bridge that knowledge gap and take a more active role in helping their loved ones choose secure, fire-safe housing.


Action steps to consider include:
• Using a checklist on move-in day to help ensure there are working smoke alarms and two ways out of the house, especially if you’re not able to view the property before the lease is signed
• Installing smoke alarms on move-in day, if the unit does not have them
• Purchasing an escape ladder If the rental is on an upper floor and the second way out is a window


The campaign is also a great resource for students who plan to study abroad for the summer or during a future semester. As parents, many of us may not be aware of the differences between the U.S. and other countries in terms of public education and fire safety. Learning more about these differences is key in keeping our students as safe as possible when they’re far away from home.


Whether your student is attending college nearby or across the ocean, having that important conversation about fire risk and taking action helps ensure our loved ones are safer should a fire occur. Find all of our great campaign resources including off-campus and dorm fire safety tips, infographics, social media messages, videos and checklists on Campus Firewatch, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, U.S. Fire Administration and NFPA websites. You can also follow the campaign on Twitter at #OffCampusFire.

 

Are you involved in campus fire safety activities where you work? Or maybe you have a story you want to share about your experience looking for off-campus housing? Let us know. We'd love to hear how you're helping advance this very important safety mission, and how we can help!

campus fire safety, fire safety abroad, student fire safety

In 2011, a fast-moving fire swept through a building in Paris that killed four people and injured many others. Three of the victims were students studying abroad. The building where they lived had no smoke alarms, no fire escapes, and only narrow wooden stairwells that became overcrowded and impassable in the fire.


When it comes to our students on college campuses, including those traveling and studying abroad, safety is paramount. There are marked differences between the U.S. and other countries when it comes to fire safety and public education, according to a recent “Outreach” column, “Fire Safety Abroad,” in the January/February 2017 issue of NFPA Journal. It would serve us well to understand these differences and how we can take the appropriate steps to help ensure the safety of these young adults when they go overseas. Three of these tips include:


• Take a couple of battery-operated smoke alarms with you and place them in the apartment
• Try and live on a low floor so you can be reached by a fire truck ladder
• Choose a residence made of brick or stone rather than wood and with unobstructed windows


As the spring semester comes to a close and students prepare for a summer abroad program, take the time to review these simple but lifesaving measures and add these measures to the list of to-do's before they hop on a plane.


For additional information about campus fire safety, including tip sheets, checklists, videos and more, visit NFPA’s campus fire safety webpage.

Flipping a light switch. Hitting the button on a coffeemaker. Charging a laptop computer. Plugging in that portable space heater (now that we're in the thick of winter)! These daily activities are second nature for most of us. Electricity sure makes the world go round but used in the wrong way, it can also be very dangerous.


As part of our Put a Freeze on Winter Fires campaign, NFPA is keen on highlighting the importance of electrical fire safety. According to statistics, there are thousands of electrical fires each year and in case you didn't know, they’re one of the leading causes of home fires in the U.S. So what can we all do to keep ourselves and our homes safer?


We invite you to watch one of NFPA's most popular videos, “A Shocking Revelation,” that features our beloved character, Dan Doofus. Follow along as Dan learns from his mistakes and forges a new path for safer electrical practices in his home. And he invites you to do the same!

 


Learn more about the Put a Freeze campaign and how to prevent electrical fires at www.nfpa.org/winter. Additional resources including checklists, tip sheets and more can be found on NFPA’s electrical fire safety webpage.

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