ESFI Highlights Advanced Electrical Fire Protection Offered by AFCIs

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This October, ESFI is joining with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to promote Fire Prevention Week, an annual fire prevention campaign to raise awareness about the importance of fire safety and fire safety education. During Fire Prevention Week 2010, October 3-9, ESFI is highlighting the most significant technological advancement in home electrical fire prevention: arc fault circuit interrupters.

This October, ESFI is joining with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to promote Fire Prevention Week, an annual fire prevention campaign to raise awareness about the importance of fire safety and fire safety education. During Fire Prevention Week 2010, October 3-9, ESFI is highlighting the most significant technological advancement in home electrical fire prevention: arc fault circuit interrupters.

According to data from the National Fire Protection Association NFPA), home electrical problems cause more than 53,800 fires each year, resulting in more than 450 deaths, 1,400 injuries and more than $1.4 billion in property damage in the United States each year. Arcing faults are responsible for a significant number of these fires.

Arc fault circuit interrupters, or AFCIs, are one of the newest and most important advancements in electrical fire protection. These innovative devices are advanced electronic circuit breakers that detect dangerous conditions in a home’s wiring that traditional breakers were not designed to recognize. When a problem is detected, these devices immediately cut the power to the circuit before a fire can start.

The National Electrical Code is a voluntary national standard that is updated every three years and must be adopted into state and local code in order to take effect.
The 2008 National Electrical Code (NEC) significantly expanded the requirements for AFCI protection in all new homes. Currently, 30 states and the District of Columbia have voted to adopt the 2008 NEC in its entirety, expanding or maintaining existing requirements for AFCI installation.

However, debate surrounding AFCI technology has led some states to remove the additional AFCI requirements from the code during the adoption process.

Home builders in some states have challenged the increased requirements for AFCI technology, claiming that these devices will significantly increase the cost of a home while making very little difference in improving safety; meanwhile, safety advocates maintain that the benefits provided to the homeowner by AFCI technology are well worth the cost for AFCI protection.

Depending on the size of a given home, the cost impact for installing additional AFCI protection in a home is $140 - $350–a small price to pay for decades of fire protection, according to ESFI president Brett Brenner.

“AFCI’s save lives – plain and simple,” noted Brenner. “State adoption and enforcement of the 2008 NEC with its AFCI provisions in tact is the key to preventing fires, protecting homes, and saving lives.”

Visit http://www.electrical-safety.org to learn more about AFCIs and other resources relating to Fire Prevention Week 2010, including a checklist to help identify common home electrical dangers.

The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) is dedicated exclusively to promoting electrical safety. ESFI proudly sponsors National Electrical Safety Month each May, and engages in public education campaigns throughout the year to prevent electrical fires, injuries, and fatalities in the home and the workplace. For more information about ESFI and National Electrical Safety Month, visit http://www.electrical-safety.org.

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Jordanna Shapiro
ESFI
703-841-3291
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