The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors announced the rollout of the first two video interviews of a new campaign series entitled, Faces of Fire/Electrical, which will feature personal stories of people impacted by electrical incidents and demonstrate the need for continued education and awareness about electrical hazards in the workplace and at home.
The campaign introduces two electrical utility workers who were injured in the field. Dave Schury was working as an area operator for an Illinois power company when a rat short-circuited a 12,000-volt piece of equipment causing an explosion. He suffered second- and third-degree burns to 30 percent of his body and spent the next two weeks fighting for his life in the burn unit at Chicago’s Cook County Hospital. In 2010, while working as a power lineman, Sam Matagi was involved in an electrical incident; nearly 15,000 volts of electricity surged through his body when a scrap of cut wire that he was holding came in contact with a live wire. His injuries resulted in the loss of both his hands.
Over the course of the campaign, a new video interview will be highlighted each month demonstrating the importance of workplace and home safety, in addition to related electrical safety resources and information.
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 and written profiles, 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.
“Exposure to electricity poses a real injury risk to workers and the public,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of Outreach and Advocacy. “Many people are not aware of electrical dangers and yet each year people are injured or killed from these hazards. The Faces of Fire/Electrical campaign helps better educate people about the true dangers of electricity and ways to prevent related tragedies from happening.”
Exposure to electricity continues to be an important source of workplace injury. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, on average there have been more than 2,000 non-fatal electrical injuries at work each year. In 2018, there were 160 electrical fatalities, an 18 percent increase over the previous year and the highest number of fatalities since 2011.
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.
“Every survivor's story is unique, and their paths to recovery are, too. By uniting the voice of the burn community, we can bring awareness to the importance of fire safety and the lifelong impact of a burn injury,” said Amy Acton, executive director of the Phoenix Society of Burn Survivors. “We are proud to partner with NFPA on our shared goal to engage people across the world to help advance the message of fire prevention and protection.”
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 campaign can be found on NFPA’s website.
For this release and other announcements about NFPA initiatives, research and resources, please visit the NFPA press room.
About the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
Founded in 1896, NFPA is a global self-funded nonprofit organization devoted to eliminating death, injury, property and economic loss due to fire, electrical and related hazards. The association delivers information and knowledge through more than 300 consensus codes and standards, research, training, education, outreach and advocacy; and by partnering with others who share an interest in furthering the NFPA mission. For more information, visit www.nfpa.org. All NFPA codes and standards can be viewed online for free at www.nfpa.org/freeaccess.