In anticipation of May’s National Electrical Safety Month, the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) is spearheading its annual effort to raise awareness about potential home electrical hazards and the importance of electrical safety. This year’s campaign theme is “Electrical Safety for All Ages,” which takes a multigenerational approach to electrical safety by encouraging families to work together to identify and correct potential home fire hazards.
While electrical hazards threaten the public at large, our youngest and oldest populations are exceptionally vulnerable. Nearly seven children a day are treated in emergency rooms for electric shock or burns caused by tampering with a wall outlet and one-third of people who are killed by home electrical fires are over the age of 65. With that in mind, ESFI developed safety materials targeting these at-risk populations and updated resources for the general public.
“Following basic safety precautions is the key to preventing many electrocutions and home electrical fires,” says ESFI President Brett Brenner. “This year’s campaign features a collection of easily sharable safety resources that are specifically tailored to older adults, children, and everyone in between to ensure that our messages resonate with the largest audience possible.”
ESFI’s child-focused materials are part of its newly launched P.I. Plug says, “Be Smart about Fire and Electrical Safety!” program that contains print and online educational materials to promote the importance of fire and electrical safety. The classroom element of the program features a toolkit that provides comprehensive lesson plans and student activities to equip students with knowledge and awareness to help them identify and prevent fire and electrical safety hazards in the home. More than 100,000 of these toolkits will be mailed directly to schools serving identified at-risk populations across the country.
ESFI also expanded the popular Kids’ Corner section of its website to include a new video, P.I. Plug on the Road: A Visit with Grandma Plug, and e-cards with fire safety related messages for kids to design and send to their loved ones. Rounding out the program elements is the “ESFI Fire and Electrical Safety Contest” that provides an opportunity for students and their families to identify unique ways to convey fire and electrical safety messages. The full contest rules and eligibility requirements can be found by visiting www.esfi.org/educators.
ESFI’s Home Fire Safety for Older Adults program features information about the hazards related to the major causes of home fires each year, with an emphasis on electrical safety. The resources include fact and tip sheets as well as public service announcements. Families and caregivers are encouraged to help older adults review this safety information and also assist with smoke alarm maintenance activities and home fire safety check-ups.
ESFI has an extensive variety of resources to reach general homeowners and consumers, including practical home electrical system tips on how to prevent electrical hazards. A new illustrated tip sheet, Give Your Home an Electrical Safety Checkup, offers tips on how to identify and rectify electrical dangers in the home. Campaign materials highlight the tremendous safety benefits provided by arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs), ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs), and tamper resistant receptacles (TRRs).
ESFI encourages the sharing of its campaign resources and developed The National Electrical Safety Month 2013 Electrical Safety Advocate Guide to provide the resources necessary to raise awareness of electrically safe practices. This guide provides step-by-step instructions on how to be an Electrical Safety Advocate and help champion ESFI’s cause of minimizing electrically related deaths and injuries.
Electrical safety awareness and education among consumers, families, employees and communities will prevent electrical fires, injuries and fatalities. All elements of the Home Fire Safety for Older Adults and P.I Plug says, “Be Smart about Fire and Electrical Safety!” programs were made possible by funds provided by a 2011 Fire Prevention and Safety (FP&S) Grant from the Department of Homeland Security Federal Emergency Management Agency.
For ESFI’s complete collection of National Electrical Safety Month resources, visit www.esfi.org/NESM