ESFI Promotes Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) Awareness
Considered the top non-profit organization dedicated exclusively to promoting electrical safety at home and at work, the ESFI (Electrical Safety Foundation International) devotes much effort into educating consumers about how crucial GFCIs are in the prevention of electric shock and electrocutions.
Studies by the Consumer Product Safety Commission have found that approximately half of home electrocutions that formerly would have occurred were prevented by GFCIs after they were introduced in 1973.
A GFCI is an electrical safety device designed to trip an electrical circuit whenever it detects ground faults or leakage currents. When a person becomes a portion of a leakage current’s path, they will suffer serious shock or electrocution. By rapidly cutting off power to the circuit after it detects electricity flowing into the circuit differing from that returning, a GFCI outlet will prevent potentially fatal shock.
All outdoor and indoor areas where water can potentially make contact with electrical systems or devices should have GFCIs. The NEC (National Electrical Code) requires that GFCIs are installed in bathrooms, garages, kitchens, outdoors, and within 3 feet of every sink.
Although the NEC has required GFCIs since 1973, the code is only applicable to new construction. If you happen to own an older home, electrical improvements may be needed to ensure that you and your family are safe.
Testing and Professional Installation
In order to make sure GFCIs are working properly, they should be tested every month. Even though almost every adult is capable of testing a GFCI, a licensed electrician should be consulted if it is not working properly. It is the ESFI’s recommendation that only a qualified professional should repair a unit.
Call a licensed electrician to perform a safety inspection of your home to make sure GFCIs are installed in all the required locations. For more information regarding electrical safety and code requirements, you can visit the Electrical Safety Foundation International website: ESFI
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