A leading cause of home fires each year, electrical failures or malfunctions were factors in an estimated 46,500 home fires in 2010 according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). These fires resulted in 420 deaths, 1,520 injuries, and $1.5 billion in property damage. To increase public awareness and encourage a proactive approach to fire safety, the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) is teaming up with the NFPA to promote Fire Prevention Week 2012, taking place October 7-13, 2012. While NFPA’s “Have 2 Ways Out” campaign focuses on planning to make a safe escape during a fire, ESFI’s 2012 Fire Prevention Week resources feature steps that can be taken to prevent electrical fires before they start.
“The complexity of the home electrical system can be intimidating, and many people don’t realize that there are simple precautions that can be taken to help prevent home electrical fires,” said ESFI President Brett Brenner. “We want to educate the public about the electrical system, but also teach them how to identify potential hazards. Things like damaged power cords or cracked outlet cover plates can easily be identified and corrected.”
ESFI has created a Fire Prevention Week 2012 Toolkit that provides resources to help families take steps to prevent electrical fires while also becoming better prepared in case there is a fire. The toolkit features the Electrical Fire Safety Checklist, which can be used to help identify and correct home electrical fire hazards. Also included are detailed tip sheets about how to properly maintain both smoke alarms and arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs).
Additional ESFI fire safety resources support NFPA’s message of ”Have 2 Ways Out.” The Virtual Fire Drill is an interactive demonstration that allows families to put their fire safety knowledge to the test while “escaping” from a simulated home fire. P.I. Plug’s Smoke Alarm Safety Video teaches children about the importance of smoke alarms as well as simple fire safety skills.
ESFI’s Fire Prevention Week materials can be downloaded at no cost from www.electrical-safety.org. For more information about Fire Prevention Week, visit the NFPA website at www.firepreventionweek.org.
The ESFI is non-profit organization dedicated exclusively to promoting electrical safety. For more information visit: www.electrical-safety.org.