NEMA, UL Offer Online Course for Fire Prevention Technology

ROSSLYN, Va. — The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) has teamed with Underwriters Laboratories (UL) to offer a free online training course designed to educate electrical professionals on safe and effective ways to install and troubleshoot issues with arc-fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs). The course will be available through Knowledge Services, UL’s training, advisory and software solutions business unit.

AFCIs are circuit breakers designed to detect dangerous electrical conditions in the home that may lead to electrical fires. According to the U.S. Fire Association, there are an estimated 28,300 electrical residential building fires annually that lead to 360 deaths and $995 million in direct property loss.

John Marcario, industry director at NEMA and a member of NEMA’s AFCI Educational Task Force, says the collaboration was created for anyone who installs electrical systems in residences where AFCIs are a National Electrical Code (NEC) requirement.

The course will help electrical professionals complete trouble-free installation of AFCIs and other residential branch circuit components and provide expert advice on finding and fixing electrical system problems that may cause AFCIs to trip.

“AFCIs are a proven fire prevention technology that can save lives and reduce property damage caused by electrical fires in the home,” Marcario says. “It’s our hope that through this training course electrical professionals will be able to provide their customers the maximum fire prevention benefit of AFCI technology without experiencing unwanted tripping.”

Jake West, senior engineer at UL, adds that proper installation of AFCIs and the ability to troubleshoot potential issues could result in fewer callbacks and potentially more profit for contractors or their company.

“Perhaps most importantly, electrical professionals will have the peace of mind knowing they played a key role in improving the electrical safety of the homes they wire. Furthermore, their customers will be able to rest easy, confident that their home is protected by the most advanced fire prevention technology available,” West says.

AFCIs have been a NEC requirement since 2002. AFCIs were previously required to be installed during new home construction to protect the circuits that power bedrooms. However, the 2008 and 2011 versions of NEC expanded the requirement to include dining rooms, sunrooms, living rooms, and other gathering areas in the home. Electrical safety experts believe expanding AFCI use could have a dramatic effect on reducing the number of electrical fires and damage they cause annually.

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