ICE CO. SPOTLIGHT

The Spotlight will highlight topics spanning industry news, safety, product and equipment reviews, codes and much more! We look forward to a dialogue with you.

What is an Arc Flash

Friday, October 23, 2015

What is Arc Flash?

An arc flash is an explosive burst of heat and light, caused by a sudden, uncontrolled electrical arc (or current passing through the air). Temperatures may reach as high as 35,000°F in just 1/1000 of a second, vaporizing metal, causing fatal burns, and generating a blast wave that can collapse workers’ lungs and rupture eardrums. Shrapnel, toxic gases, and intense UV rays can cause additional injuries. Arc flash accidents can kill in an instant, or cause a long, slow, and painful death. Even non-fatal injuries from an arc flash may require months or years of medical care and therapy.

What Happens in an Arc Flash?

An arc can begin whenever a conductive object gets too close to an exposed current source. Dropping tools, opening panels on deteriorated equipment, inserting or removing components from an energized system, and even a rodent infestation can provide an opportunity for an arc to begin.

If that arc has enough energy, it can continue to ionize the air around it. This ionization reduces the electrical resistance along the path of the arc, allowing the arc to draw even more current. As more and more energy flows through the arc, the process builds on itself, and in a moment the arc becomes an arc flash.

The primary source of injury in an arc flash is the burst of heat. Just like lightning, an arc flash releases an enormous amount of heat energy in a very short time. That heat also melts and vaporizes the materials around it, such as wiring and metal equipment panels, as well as drastically raising the temperature of the air nearby.

As this material heats up very quickly, it expands to create a pressure wave, just like thunder. That pressure wave can scatter the broken and melted fragments of equipment like a spray of bullets. Even after the immediate blast, the vaporized material can form a cloud of toxic vapor, mist, and dust. Arc flash is one of the more dramatic electrical accidents, and is often deadly where proper safety precautions have not been taken.

Steps for Arc Flash Safety

Preventing arc flash accidents or minimizing their impact requires a comprehensive safety program, involving both electrical workers and management. The following steps should be taken to ensure worker safety.

First, perform an electrical risk assessment. Use the guidelines in NFPA 70E and IEEE 1584 to identify and assess electrical shock and arc flash hazards throughout your facility.

Determine protective boundaries for electrical equipment. NFPA 70E recommends Limited and Restricted Approach Boundaries to protect workers from electric shock and a separate Arc Flash Boundary to protect them from burns in the event of an arc flash. Employees should keep outside these boundaries during ordinary work.

Identify equipment and components that present a significant risk of arc flash. The NFPA identifies the following types of frequently-affected equipment:

  • Switchboards
  • Panelboards
  • Industrial control panels
  • Meter socket enclosures
  • Motor control centers

Next, ensure all potential arc flash hazards are properly labeled. Warning labels that inform workers of potential hazards are a key part of arc flash prevention. The National Electric Code (NEC) Article 110.16 addresses arc flash protection, stating that affected equipment  ”shall be field marked to warn of potential arc flash hazards...." In addition, NFPA 70E requires that arc flash labels contain information specific to each piece of equipment, detailing the exact hazards that are present.

Pre-printed arc flash labels can be used, although pre-printed labels must be modified in the field to include the required information. A better option is to print custom arc flash labels on-site. Specialized software can track and organize the information for each label, such as available incident energy, approach distances, and required Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Labels should be kept legible and up-to-date, since arc flash hazard levels can change any time your electrical system is modified.

Finally, make sure that workers are adequately trained. Any employees who will work on electrical equipment need to be aware of the dangers of arc flash, understand the warning labels and signs, and know how to select and use the appropriate PPE.


Smoke Alarm Safety

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

 

Clear the air with these smoke alarm facts!

 

Did you know?

Three out of every five home fire deaths happen in homes where there are no smoke alarms present, or no working smoke alarms. Most home fire deaths occur because people are sleeping when a fire breaks out.

 

Why take the chance?

By having a working smoke alarm, the chances that it will wake up the occupants of the home and allow them to get out safely, is greatly increased! Prepare your home against the dangers of smoke inhalation with the right equipment, proper installation and an exit plan. 

 

 

Types of Smoke Detectors

There are many smoke alarm brands, but which is the best? All of these brands fall under two basic types: ionization and photoelectric. Each one detects a different type of fire – but since no one can predict what type of fire may start, the USFA recommends that every home install both types of alarms or a dual sensor smoke alarm.

 

A dual sensor alarm contains both photoelectric and ionization sensors. There are even smoke alarms equipped with strobe lights and vibrations to alert those who are unable to hear a standard alarm. 

 

 

 

 

Where To Place Smoke Alarms

Be sure to place an alarm everywhere that needs protection – every floor! Each bedroom and hallway outside of the bedrooms needs a smoke alarm on the ceiling. The manufacturer’s instructions will offer more assistance on the best place to put your alarm. Know when to call in an expert - only qualified electricians should install hardwired smoke alarms. 

 

 

 

 

Create Exit Plans

Finally, take the time to create and learn exit plans with the whole family. Every room should have an exit plan – the quickest and safest way to get outside. Be sure to practice these exit plans, especially if you have younger children! This will help them to remember the exit strategies in case of an emergency.

 

Keep it safe and remember to make Summer 2014 memorable!


Summer Fun

Saturday, May 31, 2014


The WARMER it gets the CLOSER it gets...


And you KNOW what that means.....





June, July & August are packed full with fun water activities, family vacations, and some much needed R&R!!


Water activities are great ways you can cool off and keep active during these next few months, which makes this is the perfect time to remind our fellow readers about the simple tips that we all easily forget on the long wait to summertime.




SAFETY BY THE WATER,

 SAFETY IN THE WATER,

AND NEAR THE WATER, 

SAVES LIVES!!!



"TEN people die EVERYDAY from drowning!!! One in five of those people are CHILDREN ages fourteen and younger. Drowning ranks 5th among the leading causes of unintentional injury deaths in the United States." -Centers for Disease Control and Prevention




A less common, but incredibly deadly danger when it comes to swimming, is electrical shock. Pool lights can have faulty wiring or can have products that are not properly grounded. If a person is not killed immediately from the shock, they can be rendered immobile and unable to call for help, resulting in drowning.




When looking for electrical hazards, keep in mind:

-          Underwater lighting/faulty wiring

-          Aging or neglected wiring

-          Underground pumps, washers or vacuums

-          Electrical products near a pool that could potentially fall in (IE. Radios)


Always be ALERT & ACTIVE during all water activities. It can make the difference!!


(Interested in more facts regarding Water-related injuries in the United States? Check out this articleUnintentional Drowning: Get the Facts)

Make pool safety a priority in 2014!


Power Outage Preparation

Thursday, February 13, 2014

POWER//OUTAGES//BLACKOUTS//BE PREPARED!


What would happen if a power outage happened in your home or office RIGHT NOW? 


Would you be prepared? Or far from it?





Not only can a power outage damage your electronics and/or household items, it can be a horrible inconvenience if you are ill-prepared. 


It is best if you can formulate a plan for your home as if a two week outage is about to happen. 


Similar to house fires and natural disasters, a power outage will come when you're least expecting it. If you are already prepared for it, you won't have to panic!




Of course the first thing you think of needing are lights, of course! What about food? Heat? etc. 


To take care of the lights, it is great to have flashlights, glow sticks for the kids (it will help entertain them as well), and a lantern on hand at all times. 


Solar lights would be very ideal as well. Candles can be used as well, but make sure to blow them out before you fall asleep at night!




If you know an outage is possible, fill up your tank! You never know how bad it could get and if you need to flee, it may be hard to get gas with everyone else in the same area trying to do the same thing.


Be prepared to cook outside. You should have plenty of charcoal available. Never bring your grill inside though! Make sure to stock up on enough perishable food items that can be eaten easily with no preparation. 




Think about your pets as well! Stock up on extra food for them. 

Essential items:

  • Cooler with ice
  • WATER! Plenty of if too!
  • Battery operated radio for up to date information
  • Fresh batteries
  • Propane for grill
  • Extra gasoline for the generator
  • First aid kit
  • Matches
  • Paper goods


Click here to read ,"Power’s Out: 5 Tips for a Safe Fridge & Freezer"


Of course there are so many other things to be extra prepared! Click here for extra tips and a great article on preparing for a power outage. 


Also, make sure your pipes are in good condition. If they aren't, you might want to think about replacing them before it's too late. 


Keeping you safe and informed is our ultimate goal!


Until Next Time,

Your ICE Co Team!


 


Surge Protectors

Thursday, January 23, 2014

In order to hook your television to your DVD player, cable box, and game systems, we all turn to those surge protectors and/or power strips. You have seen them before, but you probably haven't heard of the hazards that could be linked to them. 



It is important to be aware of the dangers that they can present, so that you can be sure to avoid them. 


 

A company in Houston thought their office would be protected while using their surge protectors. Unfortunately, they walked into their office the next day and it was filled with smoke and melting power strips.





“The surge protector had absorbed all of the energy it was capable of absorbing and melted down as a result. The surge protectors involved were not on a recall list”




Click here for more information related to this incident and access to the entire article from NMSU.EDU.


“Power strips and surge protectors don’t provide more power to a location, just more access to the same limited capacity of the circuit into which is connected. The circuit likely also serves a variety of other outlets and fixtures in addition to the multiple electrical items you might be supplying with the power strip.” -ESFI.ORG

Always Remember: It is never a good idea to plug your heater into an extension cord or a power strip. If the power strip or extension cord overheats it could be very dangerous and can cause a fire!




Also, it is very important to keep yourself up to date on all recalls involved with these products! It could really make a difference in your safety.




ESFI.org has a great article chocked with safety tips that can help you stay protected. Click here for more information.


Keeping you safe and informed is our number one goal!

Until Next Time, 

Your Ice Co Team!



Safety Matters!

Thursday, January 16, 2014



Ice Co Electric has been committed to work safety since our doors opened. That’s why we have regularly documented safety training on electrical hazards in the work environment. Maintaining safety is essential for providing successful business operations.  


Safety comes in many forms. From being safe in the workplace, watching your surroundings at night, wearing the proper attire, and locking your doors to prevent a break in.




Your family means a lot to you, just like our Ice Co Electric family means a lot to us. That’s another reason we strive for safety at every turn, every day.


This week, our focus is on safety in general. It’s crucial to remember ways to be safe and to strive for safety everyday. 





It is critical to wear the proper uniform for your work station. Whether it’s just closed toed shoes or completely decked out with your hard hat, ear plugs, goggles, etc. Your uniform is designed to keep you safe!  


Being safe doesn't only prevent yourself from harm, it prevents your work family from being harmed as well.

 



Even if your job is in an office at a computer, there are ways to keep yourself safe. Posture, eye level, and the position you sit can have a tremendous amount of strain on your body. Here are some tips to prevent yourself from an injury. 




Failure to follow these guidelines can result in strain to your back or neck. It can also cause your posture to deteriorate. Paying attention to the way you sit can make a dramatic change in your comfort level while working. 

Click here for more tips and a step by step process to finding your perfect chair position to avoid discomfort.



Keeping you safe and informed is our number one goal.

Until Next Time,

Your Ice Co Team!









Winter Fire Prevention

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

People are at a greater risk of electrical fires in the winter months, from the lights in and outside of your house, to the cooking in your home, and even unsafe heat sources.  


Winter officially began on December 21, and you have probably been using your heater more often than the previous months. The heater is great for keeping you warm, but it comes with consequences (if you don’t know what to do to ensure they are in fact safe).


Since a house down the street from me busted into flames last week, it got me wondering what measures need to be taken in my home, to prevent that from happening.


You are probably thinking, “That will never happen to me”, right? It CAN happen to you.




FEMA shares statistics to help citizens understand the severity and prevalence of winter fires:


  1. 905 people die in winter home fires EACH year
  2. $2,091,000,000 in property loss occurs from winter home fires
  3. 67% of winter fires occur in one- and two-family homes
  4. Cooking is the LEADING cause of all winter home fires
  5. 5PM – 8PM is the most common time for winter home fires

FEMA and NFPA.org states that heating equipment is involved in 1 in every 7 reported home fires and 1 in every 6 home fire deaths. The months that heating fires occur in half of the time are in December, January and February.


Knowing what to do and when, can help you from being a victim of a winter house fire.


Call a qualified electrician if you have:

  • Frequent problems with blowing fuses or tripping circuit breakers
  • A tingling feeling when you touch an electrical appliance
  • Discolored or warm wall outlets
  • A burning or rubbery smell coming from an appliance
  • Flickering or dimming lights
  • Sparks from an outlet

Remember to always have ALL of your electrical work done by a qualified electrician.


If you are remodeling your house or buying a new home, you should have it inspected by an electrician as well.


If you have a portable heater in your home, make sure to keep it in a secure place with nothing around it and never use an extension cord for the heater. Also, make sure to turn it off and unplug it when not in use. You should never sleep or leave your house with it on.


Make sure to keep your heater maintained and serviced on a regular basis.




It is important that you check your smoke alarm every month to make sure it is working condition. It is recommended to replace your fire alarms every 10 years.


Generators that are portable should never be used inside your house or garage. Keep it outside far away from any doors or windows.


Click here for a full list of tips customized for your home needs. 



Remember to always have an escape plan that is studied by everyone in the home. Everyone in the home should know ways to escape if something unfortunate like this happens.


Click here to create your fire safety plan online.


Keeping you safe, warm and informed is our main goal!


Until Next time,


Your ICE Co Team


TVF&R

Monday, April 29, 2013

Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue provides a list of publications on its website for business owners to better prepare for disasters. April is disaster preparedness month, so set aside some time to review your businesses contingency plans, including backup power generation.

        

The publications are online:

http://www.tvfr.com/safetytips.

 

Stay safe!

ICE Co. Signing Out

Power. Current. Grounded.



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