Our CEO Evan Gaddis tells the story about his son who's building a wing onto his house out in Southern California. An inspector was looking over the plans with the contractor, and he asked about Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters — the special circuit breakers that are being incorporated more and more into new construction to reduce the risk of home electrical fires. Seems this particular contractor hadn't heard of AFCIs. No problem: the inspector pulled out an Electrical Safety Foundation International brochure on the subject and handed it over to the contractor. The new wing will now have AFCIs.
The inspector likely wouldn't have been so savvy two years ago. But over the past year the NEMA circuit breaker members put together such a sensational marketing campaign that their property- and life-saving product is now widely recommended – including by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the National Fire Protection Association, and now by a growing number of state officials.
The acceptance of AFCIs at the state level is perhaps the greatest achievement. Even though the last two National Electrical Codes have called for the installation of AFCIs, it's up to state legislatures to officially adopt these rules. The bad news is national and state home builders associations have targeted state AFCI provisions for defeat. The good news is state legislators thus far have overwhelmingly sided with those who favor electrical fire protection.
We still have a ways to go before the country fully appreciates the importance of AFCIs to prevent electrical fires. Still, the progress in just over a year has been remarkable.