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.

Light Up Your Holidays Safely

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Light Up Your Holidays Safely

Light up safely over the holidays:

  • Choose the right light for the job: light strings and other decorations are rated for indoor or outdoor use. Read the package instructions, and never exceed the recommended wattage.
  • Replace damaged electrical products (cords, plugs, ornaments).
  • Avoid plugging too many lights and decorations into an outlet. Overloaded circuits can overheat and start a fire. 
  • Use Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI) outlets when plugging in outdoors
  • Buy holiday decorations that have the mark of an accredited certification agency on the package. 
  • Once the package is opened, remember to check for the appropriate approval sticker appearing on the cord for products incorporating light strings. 

Extension Cords/Plugs:

  • Avoid overloading circuits with plugs and extension cords—this can create overheating and result in a fire. Fuses that frequently blow and circuits that trip can indicate too many items are connected to the circuit.
  • Never remove the third prong on plugs—this "grounding pin" prevents shock in the event of electrical equipment failure.
  • Plug outdoor electrical decorations into Ground Fault (GFCI)-protected outlets.
  • Don't run extension cords under carpets, through doorways, or in places where they can be damaged by furniture 
  • Keep outdoor connections above-ground and out of puddles; don't run them across driveways and/or walkways.

Installing Decorations:

  • No more than three light strings can be safely connected together in most cases—read manufactures instructions for directions. 
  • Make sure bulbs don't touch supply cords, wires, cloth, paper, or any material that's not part of the light string.
  • Use the proper clips for securing lights and decorations. Staples and nails can damage electrical cords.
  • Check for overhead power lines before using a ladder to put up decorations, or when you're hanging lights or decorations on trees.
  • Holiday decorations aren't designed for year-round use and can deteriorate over time. Take them down when the holidays are over.

Remember to:

  • Watch that children don’t put electrical decorations or cords in their mouths.
  • Keep an eye on pets that may chew or damage electrical cords.
  • Turn off holiday lights and decorations when you leave the house or go to bed.

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.

Why You Need an Electrician

Friday, August 14, 2015

Electrical contractors are crucial to any new build of commercial or residential premises. They can also be incredibly helpful when looking to renovate an existing building, where your expertise is not that skilled. You may feel that you are capable of performing smaller tasks, but where electrics are concerned it is far better being safe than sorry.

Electricians are trained professionals who understand how dangerous the work can be, and how important it is to stick to the strict guidelines. When you are performing any work within your home that involves electrics, you need to consider if you should hire electrical contractors. There are smaller tasks that you may be able to perform with confidence; however, larger jobs may need an expert.

Many people try to do an electrician’s job themselves, which will often lead to problems further down the line. Therefore, making the decision early on in the project to hire contractors will save you both time and money. If you have found that you are in too deep and do not understand what you are doing, you need to hire a professional electrician. They will be able to notify you of the problem and instruct you how to make it better.

Hiring the professionals to carry out the electrical work within your home or business will ensure that everything is done safely. Electricians will be able to install all electrical components around your home. Plugins, ceiling fans, security lighting, light switches and wiring in appliances can all be done with ease. You will be surprised how easy the electricians will make it look; however, they are trained to do their job.

There are many common issues and problems with the wiring in homes all over the world, and typically these issues have arisen from the wrong people performing the tasks. By hiring qualified and experienced electricians, you will be guaranteeing that your home is safe. They will be able to rectify any existing issues, and ensure that all new work is carried out in the correct manner.


If you have been having problems for a while, they will source the issue and fix it correctly. Performing jobs around your home and business may seem like a good idea, and you may think that you are saving money, but you should call an electrician the moment that you begin to find problems with the wiring in your home.

Home Electrical Safety

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Tips for Home Electrical Safety

U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated annual average of 47,820 reported home structure fires involving electrical failure or malfunction 2007-2011. These fires resulted in 455 civilian deaths, 1,518 civilian injuries and $1.5 billion in direct property damage.

With that being said, it is very important to make sure all of your electrical appliances, extension cords, light bulbs and other equipment is in good working condition.

Always ensure you replace or repair appliances that are damaged. Cracked cords, broken plugs and any burning smell from the appliance need to be looked into immediately. If you are leaving your home for a significantly long period of time, it is a good idea to turn-off and unplug heavy duty appliances such as ovens, A/C, heaters etc.

Unplug unused appliances and stow cords safely out of reach of pets, young children or hazardous situations.

Always follow appliance instructions carefully, and do not attempt amateur repairs or upgrades.

Do not staple or nail cords in position at any time; if the cord does not remain where desired, use tape or twist ties to secure it.

Cords should not be placed beneath rugs where they can become a trip hazard or where frays will not be noticeable. Furthermore, covering a cord will prevent it from keeping as cool as possible.

Do not overload outlets with multiple adapters or power strips; relocate cords instead.


Lastly, use bulbs that have the correct wattage requirements for each fixture. Using a higher wattage bulb can cause the fixture to overheat.

Fall And Winter Savings

Thursday, September 25, 2014
Fall is approaching quickly, and winter will be here before we know it. And we all know keeping your house warm in those cold months can be quite costly, so we came up with some ways to keep you warm, and your wallet happy.

Winterize your windows! Sounds expensive right? Wrong. Purchase a window insulator kit. The entire kit is a plastic sheet with a window safe tape on one side. They usually cost anywhere from 5-20 dollars and that covers multiple windows. Just stick on the plastic on the inside of your window and apply heat (a hairdryer works best). Depending on how thin your windows are, you can apply two sheets. Just remove in the spring!

Reverse your ceiling fan! We usually use our ceiling fans in the summer, but this winter, use your fan to keep the heat from rising. On most fans, there is a small switch on the fan to reverse the direction in which the blades are rotating. Turn the fan on the lowest setting to reduce the feeling of the air movement.  And just remember, clockwise in winter, counterclockwise in summer.

Make sure your furnace works! Turn your furnace on just to double check it still works before winter hits and your furnace-less. It may smell a little dusty but the smell shouldn’t last long. If it does, call a professional. A dirty furnace filter will cause a slight air shortage causing you to spend more money and get less heat. It’s a good idea to get a new filter annually so you can get all the heat you can.

Bake! Use your oven. After you are done with dinner, cookies, whatever, crack your oven. Especially if your house is smaller, you will definitely feel a difference in temperature.  That oven gets hot so put that heat to good use. Other than baking cookies that is!

Turn the heat down! No, don’t turn it off. Burrrr! But, why heat your house when you’re either gone or asleep most the day anyways?  Turn it down to 60 when you’re at work, 60 when you go to bed and save about 10% this winter while doing so. If that is too chilly, invest in a down comforter, fleece sheets and, use a space heater. Keep your bedroom doors open to get the heat from other parts of the house, and close the vents in rooms you rarely go in so that heat goes into your room.

Summer Hazards

Friday, June 06, 2014

Summer vacation is upon us and there will be children out and about, enjoying their break from school. In this blog we are going to take a break from our usual topics to touch on some summer hazards that children may come across and what parents should look for in order to keep their children safe!

We touched on drowning along with electrical shock in our last blog, so we are going to focus on four more hazards to be on the lookout for.

Bicycle Injuries

Broken bones are the most common injuries that come from falling from a bicycle, but without proper safety equipment, some injuries can be fatal. Over 26,000 traumatic brain injuries happen each year from children falling from bicycles while not wearing a proper helmet. Head injuries are life threatening and can be deadly. These traumatic injuries can happen in your own driveway so make sure your child has a proper fitting helmet and don’t allow them to ride on the street until they are in their pre-teen/early teen years and properly understand the rules of the road.


Children falling from playground equipment, trampolines or in the house, account for over 2.8 million injuries per year and 4% of child deaths. Make sure that all windows have proper screens and be sure to have proper supervision when children are playing on any equipment, especially supervision on younger children and toddlers. Be sure that no children are climbing higher than 4 feet without proper assistance and that all playground equipment has proper cushioning and there are no exposed sharp edges or bolts.


Children can get burns from campfires, cooking or fireworks. In your home, make sure to have stove guards, smoke alarms and do not have home fireworks, go and watch ones run by professionals. Burns cause almost 9% unintentional deaths in children.


Medications, cleaners, cosmetics and citronella oil are all examples of poisons that children can get into and cause harmful reactions or death. Over 300 children are treated for poisoning each day and at least 2 of them die. Poisoning causes 3.9% of deaths in children. Be sure to keep chemicals out of sight and look for any chemicals within reach. Be sure to keep the Poison Control Center number by your phone.  1 – 800 – 222 – 1222


Don’t let your child become one of these statistics. Supervision is KEY.

Be safe, have fun and enjoy the summer!

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.





"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!

Memorial Day Weekend

Thursday, May 22, 2014

It's that time, Memorial Day Weekend!!!!!

Most of us enjoy this weekend grilling out with friends and family.

Memorial Day is celebrated to recognize all of the fallen military members. We all enjoy celebrating in remembrance. 

As with every summer activity, it's important to remember safety precaustions before you head out!

Don't forget the SUNSCREEN!

Are you unsure of which SPF to use and how much? 

It's important to know which SPF to use with regards to how long you are in the sun and how fare your skin is.

Also, don't forget your sunglasses and/or hats to protect your eyes and to add additional shade from the sun! 

It's important to clean your grill/smoker before you start cooking. You should treat your outdoor grill the same way you treat your indoor stove. You probably wipe it down your after every time you cook. If you treat your grill this way it will last a lot longer. Every time it is used it should be cleaned at leafs a little bit. 

Grates must be cleaned after each use or before the next time you use it. You can use a stiff wire brush for cleaning. This will take away the left overfold from the previous session and make cooking easier. 

Also, separate your raw meat from your vegetables and all of your sides to keep it from being contaminated. 

After your meat is done being cooked double check with your meat thermometer to avoid any risks!

FOOD SAFETY is extremely important! Click here for a great article from Oregon Live for even more information on grilling safety!

Have a Safe and Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

Electrical Fire Prevention

Monday, May 19, 2014

Electrical fires account for more than 

50,000 fires,

$1.3 billion in damage,

500 deaths 

and 1,400 injuries EACH YEAR!!

 Simple tips and tricks could save your life, your home and your possessions. 

Tips & Tricks #1 Don’t Overload the Circuits

The electrical circuits in your home are not designed to run at maximum capacity all the time. By minimizing how much electricity you force through each circuit, you can easily reduce the risk of having an electrical fire. Some homes may have less circuit’s available, especially older homes. Although it may be costly at the time, a safe and effective idea is to have an electrician install new circuit breakers on your electrical panel. 


Tips & Tricks #2 Replace Those Cords!

If you see wiring in your home that is frayed or damaged, do NOT just try to fix it with electrical tape and forget about it. You may think you’re making a great DIY fix but you are not reducing the risk of electrical fire from the damaged cord. Replacing damaged wiring is not as expensive as one might think, and after a trip to the hardware store, you’ll still be able to put your DIY skills to the test, in a safer way!

Tips & Tricks #3 Play It Safe

Another simple way to help prevent electrical fires in your home is by keeping items in safe places. Avoid leaving hot irons and curling irons plugged in if you aren’t in the room, especially if you have small children. If you are charging your everyday items, such as, cellphones, laptops, iPads, etc. leave them on hard surfaces like your desk or a table. AVOID leaving them in places like the couch or the bed. This can quickly cause them to overheat and the materials are easily flammable. 

Tips & Tricks #4: Hire an Electrician

Make sure to routinely have a licensed electrician go through your home and give a thorough examination of your electrical system. If you notice any issues with your circuit breakers, flickering lights, overheated or loose plugs, or experience any shock from an outlet, LET YOUR ELECTRICIAN KNOW IMMEDIATELY! This cannot be stressed enough. Don’t wait to see if it happens a second time. The next time, it might be too late. Take the chance to get it fixed while you have the chance!

Stay Grounded!

Summer Ready

Thursday, May 15, 2014

June 21, 2014

Marks the first day of summer. 

Are you ready?

With summer comes warmer weather. It's a really good idea to start checking around your house now to make sure it's ready for the upcoming weather changes.

"If your air conditioner needs replacement do it BEFORE the HOT WEATHER HITS because heating & air conditioning repair people will be very busy. And more than likely, some other things around your home need attention as well. Your air ducts may need testing for leaks and then sealed. 

It's a good idea to invest in a programmable thermostat. You can program it to whatever temperature you want at whatever time. Also, if you go out of town, it's best to leave it up around 78 so that you can save money. 


If your thermostat is really old and uses a mercury switch (a glass tube filed with silvery substance) call your local public works department to find out how to dispose of this toxic material.Consider installing a whole-house fan that uses cool air in the evening to cool the entire house and push hot air out of the attic area." -Consumer Energy Center 

(click the link to read more on What To Do Before it Gets Too Hott!)

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