The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors have introduced the fifth video interview of their six-part campaign series, Faces of Fire/Electrical, which features personal stories of people impacted by electrical incidents, demonstrating the need for continued education and awareness about electrical hazards at home and in the workplace.
Pam Elliott is the latest interview in the video campaign. In the spring of 1959, then five-year old Elliott suffered third degree burns over 50 percent of her body from a fire ignited by a damaged lighting fixture that destroyed her family home. She spent months during her elementary and high school years undergoing reconstructive surgery to help restore the function of her hands, arms, and legs, and the appearance of her injuries.
Electrical distribution or lighting equipment was the leading cause of home fire property damage, according to the latest NFPA research. An average of 33,900 such fires caused 470 deaths, 1,100 injuries and $1.4 billion in direct property damage annually from 2014 – 2018. Electrical failures or malfunctions were a factor in nearly nine out of 10 home fires involving wire and related equipment each year between 2012 – 2016.
“Equipment and devices powered by electricity as well as faulty structural wiring are potential sources for electrical fires,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of Outreach and Advocacy. “Electricity makes our lives much easier but today homeowners expect more out of their electrical systems than ever before, especially with more family members working from home amidst the coronavirus pandemic. The Faces of Fire/Electrical campaign reminds us about potential home electrical hazards, how to recognize the warning signs, and the action steps homeowners need to take to reduce associated risks.”
While new home construction equipped with the latest electrical systems is built to meet the demand of today’s busy households, Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) states there are still more than 47.5 million homes in the U.S. that are at least 50 years old and built before many modern day electronics and appliances were invented. The need for energy to power these devices, coupled with the increase of computers, phones, and new technologies that use electricity and the number of aging electrical systems and components in older homes, significantly contribute to a greater risk of electrical home fires. Through more awareness and education, homeowners and renters, with the help of a qualified, licensed electrician, can find and correct fire safety hazards in the home before a serious incident occurs.
Overall, Faces of Fire/Electrical features six personal stories of electrical burn survivors whose lives have been forever altered and how more understanding, training, and a change in work culture could have significantly impacted these outcomes. Woven into these stories of resilience is an additional interview with a physician dedicated to the complete physical and emotional healing of patients suffering from a burn injury. Through these video interviews, written profiles, and related information, Faces of Fire/Electrical is a resource for electrical and non-electrical workers, and the general public to learn more about the importance of electrical safety.
While many electrical injuries prove fatal, those that are not can be particularly debilitating, oftentimes involving complicated recoveries and lasting emotional and physical impact. The Faces of Fire/Electrical campaign ultimately works to help build a safer world by teaching others and supporting the burn survivor community in advancing lifelong healing, optimal recovery, and burn and injury prevention.
Today, Elliott shares her personal burn story to advocate for home fire sprinklers and home fire safety and speaks for the most vulnerable people in house fires including infants, children, the elderly, and the disabled.
Visit www.nfpa.org/facesoffire each month to watch the videos. Free resources are now available to download and share, and additional information about the Faces of Fire/Electrical
For more information, visit: www.nfpa.org