Each May during Electrical Safety Month, the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) draws attention to the importance of electrical safety by launching a new campaign.
This year the focus is on “Understanding the Code that Keeps Us Safe.” Code refers to the National Electric Code (NEC). The NEC is the go-to standard for electrical safety. Qualified electricians and lighting specialists across all 50 states adhere to the code biblically, and homeowners utilize the code to keep their property and family safe.
Every three years the code is revised to represent changing technologies and safety laws. The most recent update to the code was in 2017. In that update there were a few revisions that are specific to home electrical safety — especially in homes where there are children and young adults. Do you know if your home is up to code?
In honor of Electrical Safety Month, The Perfect Light is committed to educating our customers and community about home electrical safety, especially as it relates to outlets and receptacles. Check out the life-saving safety tips for children and teenagers below.
Kids are naturally curious. As parents, we want to prevent electrocution and injury from being the consequence of that curiosity. Educating children and teens about receptacle safety in the home can be life-saving.
According to the ESFI, there was an average of 4,963 injuries due to electrical receptacles between 2008 and 2016. Of those injuries, a majority were under 18 years of age, with an average of 2,850 children injured by receptacles every year. It is usually household objects that are the cause of receptacle injuries among children.
Causes of Receptacle Injuries:
- 40% Bobby Pin, Hairpin
- 22% Fingers
- 22% Other
- 12% Keys
- 4% Paper Clip
Tamper Resistant Receptacles (TRRs)
Tamper Resistant Receptacles or TRRs are a permanent solution to the issue of possible electrocution from receptacle tampering.
Homes where children and babies are present must be protected by TRRs. They prevent tampering with an inner locking mechanism. Only a 2-prong plug can access the contact. Forks and fingers near the outlet become a lot less dangerous when you’re protected with TRRs. Just as the name says, TRRs are “tamper resistant.”
Forget plastic outlet covers — those can never be as effective as TRR installation! Not only are TRRs the most effective, but as of 2017 they are required in all homes. Contact a professional electrician, trained on the NEC to install TRRs in your home.
Per the 2017 NEC, TRRs are required on all 15A-20A, 125v and 150v outlets in the following areas:
- Preschools, Elementary Education Facilities, and Child Care Facilities
- Business Offices
- Hotels and Motels
- Clinics, Medical, Dental offices, and Outpatient Facilities
- Assembly Occupancies (places awaiting transportation, gyms, skating rinks, auditoriums, and dormitories)
AFCIs & GFCIs: How to Prevent Electrocution & Electrical Fires
Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCIs) and Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) are also important when it comes to home electrical safety for children. GFCIs are there to protect from moisture-related electrocution. AFCIs are required by the NEC for every outlet in the home. They prevent against electrical fire.
All outdoor outlets should be outfitted with GFCI protection. They are also necessary in indoor places with higher moisture such as kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms.
AFCIs are actually installed into your breaker box, thus providing whole-home protection. A professional electrician can perform this installation and get your home up to code.
AFCIs and GFCIs should be tested every month to ensure function and optimal safety.
Here’s how to test your GFCI outlets every 30 days:
- Press in the “reset” button
- Plug in a lamp or similar devices.
- The light/device should be on.
- Press the “test” button
- The lamp/device should turn off.
- Press the “reset” button again.
- The light/device should turn back on.
- If either the “test” or “reset” buttons fail, do not use that outlet and call a qualified electrician right away.
Source: The Perfect Light Blog
For more information on home electrical safety to protect and educate children and young adults from electrocution and injury, follow The Perfect Light!