Life and Property at Risk in Clash over Code Adoption

Life and Property at Risk in Clash over Code Adoption

The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) has learned that Ohio Governor Ted Strickland will be presented with an Emergency Order to annul the recent state adoption of the 2008 National Electrical Code by the Board of Building Standards. ESFI encourages residents of Ohio to call the governor's office to let him know they support the life-saving and fire-preventing measures included in the new electrical code.

At issue are Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCI). AFCIs are advanced electronic circuit breakers that detect dangerous conditions in a home's wiring. When a problem is detected, these devices immediately cut the power to the circuit before a fire can start. AFCI technology is endorsed by the United States Fire Administration, the National Fire Protection Association, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the National Association of State Fire Marshals, as well as other safety and fire fighting organizations across the country.

"Use of AFCI technology will reduce the number of home fires by almost 30,000, saving hundreds of lives, preventing thousands of injuries, and stopping nearly $750 million in property damage each year," notes Brett Brenner, ESFI president. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Healthy Homes report lists the lack of AFCIs among the primary residential hazards associated with burns and fire-related injuries.

In seeking the annulment, the Board of Building Standards stated the increased cost of AFCIs over conventional circuit breakers will make new homes unaffordable. In actuality, the additional cost is estimated to be $300-$400 for the average new home. The new 2008 National Electrical Code simply expands the use of AFCIs from the bedrooms-only requirement, effective in 2002 version of the Code, to most living areas of the home. ESFI encourages the adoption of the 2008 National Electric Code by every state, so communities can take advantage of AFCIs and the higher level of fire protection they offer.

For further information about AFCIs and other electrical safety products, visit ESFI's web site:

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