Survey Reveals Limited Knowledge of SPDs

Survey Reveals Limited Knowledge of SPDs

This piece was originally published in the March 2018 issue of electroindustry.

Andrea Viñas, Communications Coordinator, ESFI

Last year, the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) conducted a survey of electrical designers, planners, and engineers who design or renovate systems in industrial facilities, healthcare facilities, and IT centers. The survey results demonstrated a limited or misinformed understanding of surge protection devices (SPDs).

An important factor revealed by this survey was that industry engineers and experts were unable to distinguish SPDs from overcurrent devices or circuit interrupters, such as a GFCI breaker. SPDs are designed to handle fast transients or surges, rather than excess voltage or current. While some Type 1 SPDs may be equipped with external overcurrent protection, it should be noted that this is not the case with all variations of SPDs and that it is not the primary function of the devices. Likewise, overcurrent devices do not provide surge protection.

In response to the survey results, ESFI created educational materials to spread awareness of the purpose and effectiveness of surge protection.

For the full results of ESFI’s Surge Damage Survey, or to learn more about surge protection devices, visit

Support ESFI

Financial donations to ESFI, a Section 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, promote the development of free resources like the SPD materials. By supporting electrical safety awareness, you help to strengthen a culture of electrical safety in your community, workplace, school, and family.

Contributions to ESFI are a powerful way to show a commitment to electrical safety. Working together, we can reduce electrical fatalities, injuries, and property loss. Explore ways to support ESFI or to co-brand our materials by visiting or emailing

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