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Disaster Prep and First Response

Making Homes Safe, Smart, and Secure with the Right Devices

A smart home isn’t just about automation and the implementation of wireless speakers, smart thermostats, home security cameras, and automatic lighting. It’s about the lifesaving safety devices that provide peace of mind while at home and away. The Electrical Safety Foundation International, the premier non-profit organization dedicated exclusively to promoting electrical safety at home and in the workplace, is educating consumers about the steps they can take in order to reduce electrically-related fires, fatalities, injuries, and property loss.

 The average American home was built in 1977 and many of these homes may not have an adequate electrical system to meet the electrical demands of today. Devices that can meet these demands, as well as protect a home, keep families safe, save time, and save money include: tamper resistant receptacles, arc-fault circuit interrupters, surge protective devices, and ground-fault circuit interrupters. These devices are all required in new or renovated homes according to the National Electrical Code, which outlines the minimum requirements for safe electrical installation.

Each year, approximately 2,400 children suffer severe shock and burns when they stick items into the slots of electrical receptacles. Many parents use outlet covers to protect their receptacles, but these can be easily removed by children. A permanent solution to prevent these incidents is to install tamper resistant receptacles. These receptacles have an internal shutter that only opens when a plug is insertered, so when a child attempts to insert their fingers, a toy, or objects such as paper clips, the outlet will prevent the item from being inserted.

Arc-fault circuit interrupters detect when there are disturbances and issues within a home’s wiring and immediately shuts off power which can prevent electrical fires. These disturbances, or arc-faults, can be caused by damaged, overheated, or stressed electrical wiring or devices. Arc-faults can occur when older wires become frayed or cracked, or when outlets or circuits are compromised. It is estimated that 50% of home electrical fires that occur every year can be prevented by these receptacles. 

A power surge is a sudden and unwanted increase in voltage that can damage, degrade, or destroy electronic equipment. Surges can be caused by internal sources, such as when large appliances turn on and off, or external sources such as lightning. The average home has $15,000 worth of equipment that can be damaged by a surge, but surge protective devices can prevent this damage. Surge protective devices are installed inside or outside the home to protect lighting, ovens, refrigerators, water heaters, washers, dryers, heating, air conditioning, entertainment systems, and more.

Ground-fault circuit interrupters help protect against deadly shock in areas where water and electricity may meet, including bathrooms and kitchens. These outlets quickly shut off power to the circuit if the electricity flowing into the circuit differs by even a slight amount. Since the first introduction of these receptacles in homes, there has been an 83% drop in electrocutions.        

Tamper resistant receptacles, arc-fault circuit interrupters, surge protective devices, and ground-fault circuit interrupters protect homes from fires and damage as well as prevent property loss, injuries, and death. These devices not only provide protection, but make a home smarter and safer. Qualified electricians can guide homeowners through an upgrade or remodel by inspecting a home’s electrical system and installing any of the above devices. Equipping a home with the right devices allows the home to meet the electrical demands of today. A smart home doesn’t mean a new home. An older home can be renovated with the right equipment to keep families safe and properties modern. 

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