Ohio’s recent adoption of the 2008 National Electrical Code® (NEC®) is a prime example of the state’s Board of Building Standards continuing to make home safety a top priority in the Buckeye State.  Unfortunately not everyone agrees. It appears that the Ohio Home Builders Association (OHBA) would prefer that the state operate using outdated electrical codes rather than heed the advice of a growing list of prominent fire and electrical safety groups that support the 2008 NEC® requirements.  

A key change, among others, in the 2008 NEC is the expansion of the requirement for arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs). Previously required in bedrooms, the updated code expands the use of AFCI circuit breakers to protect other living areas in the home, which could have a significant impact on the number of lives and property lost in residential electrical fires. NEMA has developed a Web site, www.AFCIsafety.org, to educate consumers about this important safety device. 

The OHBA’s ill-conceived petition to rescind the AFCI and other updated 2008 NEC® requirements from Ohio’s electrical code speaks volumes about the value it puts on homeowner safety. Saving a few bucks is more of a concern for the HBA than the welfare of the families its members serve.  Putting electrical safety on the backburner may not be the best business practice if you’re in an industry that prides itself on having “a long and honorable tradition in American culture.”     

The Ohio Board of Building Standards should be commended for adopting the 2008 NEC®. Let’s hope they see past the HBA’s continued attempts to misrepresent the facts. With these updated and potentially live-saving electrical codes in place, new homeowners in Ohio can rest easy knowing their homes and families are safe from fires and other dangerous electrical hazards.  Ohio homeowners deserve nothing less.  


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