ROSSLYN, VA: The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) recently launched a campaign to educate electricians, inspectors, builders, parents, and homeowners on requirements for tamper-resistant electrical receptacles in newly built homes.
"We just need to get the word out to code officials, inspectors, contractors, and homeowners that tamper-resistant receptacles work and they're now required," said Harry Massey, NEMA industry director. "We realize this is a new technology to consumers. We need to be able to explain why this code has been adopted and the advantages the technology provides."
Syracuse, NY-based Eric Mower and Associates helped develop messaging and educational materials for the effort - which includes an online video, posters, and a Web site, www.childoutletsafety. org. Future outreach will also target consumer and trade media outlets, touting the benefits of tamper-resistant receptacles in pre- venting serious burns by children.
Massey noted that US Consumer Product Safety Council research shows about 2,400 kids are injured every year by inserting objects in electrical outlets. Tamper-resistant outlets have been available for at least a decade, but the 2008 National Electrical Code will now require their installation.
In contrast to existing electrical outlets, into which a paper clip or other pieces of metal can be easily inserted, the tamper-resistant outlets require two pins to be pressed in at the same time and speed in order to function.
State inspection boards must individually approve the new code. To help speed the code's adoption, advocacy will be directed at industry professionals who comprise those individual state boards.
Along with media outreach, the campaign aims to reach its various targeted audiences directly, with presentations at meetings of electrical inspectors and state and regional builder conventions, as well as direct mailings.
Also assisting with the campaign is the Electrical Safety Foundation International, whose official mascot, "Mr. Plug," warns against the dangers of electrical outlets in a YouTube video, coloring books, and other materials.
NEMA is also working with the American Burn Association (ABA), which advocates for better healthcare and education related to burn injuries.
The ABA conducts outreach in connection with Burn Awareness Week, held every February.