Topic: Electrical

Electrical Safety Tips for Users of E-Bikes and E-Scooters

A version of this article will appear in the In Compliance section of the Winter 2022 issue of NFPA Journal.  Recent discussions around electric micromobility devices, such as e-bikes and e-scooters, have left a lot of people rather charged up. Proposed changes by the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), for example, would prohibit residents and guests from keeping e-bikes or e-scooters within NYCHA apartments or building common areas. Delivery workers have raised concerns that such a ban would adversely affect their livelihoods, since charging the e-bikes that they use to make deliveries would no longer be possible in their homes.  Watch a related video on e-bike and e-scooter fire safety Big cities aren’t the only places where authorities have moved to ban e-bikes or e-scooters from buildings. Mackinac Island, a small vacation island in northern Michigan, has become well-known for regulating the means of transportation that are permitted on the island. Since 1901, automotive transportation has been banned, leaving most travel to be done on foot, by bicycle, or by horse and carriage. Not long ago, island authorities banned e-bikes within certain buildings and have further prohibited the use of e-bikes that have functional throttles when traveling around the island. (For an overview of the safety hazards associated with electric micromobility devices and the regulations proposed to address those hazards, see “Full Throttle,” a feature story that appeared in the Fall 2022 issue of NFPA Journal.) SAFETY RESOURCES: Visit nfpa.org/ebikes to explore other NFPA resources related to e-bike and e-scooter fire safety Improving e-bike and e-scooter safety is providing much of the momentum behind these changes. In 2022 alone, the Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY) has reported investigating 130 fires related to lithium-ion batteries regularly used to power e-bikes—fires that have resulted in five deaths and dozens of injuries. In October, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recalled about 22,000 e-bikes whose “lithium-ion batteries can ignite, explode, or spark, posing fire, explosion, and burn hazards to consumers,” CPSC wrote in a statement. Investigators say a fire that killed an 8-year-old girl in Queens last month was likely ignited by an e-bike battery charging inside an apartment unit overnight. A fire in December 2021 killed a New York City man who was running a business charging e-bikes within his residence. Two teenagers narrowly escaped the same fire themselves by shimmying down a pipe mounted to the building’s exterior wall. Over the summer on Mackinac Island, an e-bike battery that exploded and melted left both the homeowner and firefighters with injuries related to smoke inhalation. In all of these cases, the personal decisions made by individuals to charge e-bikes in their homes left others in harm’s way. While there are no specific codes in place for the charging of e-bikes or e-scooters themselves, there are portions of codes, including NFPA 70®, National Electrical Code® (NEC®), that can help people be safer while doing so. There are also additional areas that can be addressed to further ensure safer charging.  Avoid overloading circuits and overcharging batteries Electricity is necessary to charge e-bike batteries, meaning the battery being charged and the device charging the battery can be potential fire hazards. An aspect that can sometimes be overlooked, though, is that the structural wiring within the building can be a risk as well. Ensuring that the electrical infrastructure in the building is properly installed and capable of delivering electricity for safe charging is where the NEC comes into play. If we consider the deadly NYC fire that killed the man who was charging e-bikes out of his residence, we can assume that overloading the circuit may have been part of the issue. When multiple e-bikes are being charged at once, the load on the circuit supplying power for charging increases. Another scenario that could have compounded the imposed load on the circuit is that it was a continuous load. The NEC defines a continuous load as one where the maximum current is expected to continue for three hours or more and requires any continuous loads to be factored in at 125 percent. As an example, a 20-amp circuit is only permitted to be loaded to 16 amps when continuous loads are involved (16-amp continuous load x 125 percent = 20 amps). With e-bikes being charged for over three hours and multiple e-bikes being charged simultaneously, the circuit could have easily been highly overloaded, which could have begun degradation of the wiring, causing it to eventually break down and become a possible ignition source. Furthermore, overcharging batteries is something that an individual can easily do without intending to, but it can have a catastrophic effect resulting in fires and death. Recently, Inside Edition released a video that shows the impact that overcharging batteries can have and how quickly micromobility devices can burst into flames because of it. It is crucial that individuals that are charging the batteries of micromobility devices follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper charging and do not overcharge the batteries. Overcharging not only puts their own lives at risk but also the lives of many others. Look for listed devices, batteries, and charging equipment Another area that must be considered around e-bike charging safety is the product itself. Consumers should be sure that they are purchasing a high-quality product that has been listed by a nationally recognized testing lab and labeled accordingly. Part of the charger system evaluation is the plug-in charger itself. It is important for consumers to understand that the charger that comes with the e-bike is what gets tested as part of the listing and therefore is the only charger that should be utilized. Buying an aftermarket charger from another manufacturer could likely invalidate the listing of the e-bike and may contribute to the additional risk of a fire due to compatibility not being tested between the e-bike and the charger. There are many products out there that may be noted as compatible with an e-bike, but they may not be listed to work with a specific e-bike.  The importance of using e-bikes and products that are listed was echoed in July when Heather Mason, president of the National Bicycle Dealers Association, encouraged their vendors and suppliers to certify their e-bikes to UL 2849, Standard for Electrical Systems for eBikes. “The bicycle industry needs to take immediate action,” Mason stated at the time. “After extensive consultations with experts in the field, e-bike and e-scooter lithium-ion battery safety is a large and immediate subject that we need to act on now. The advisement statement we have prepared for retailers takes the interest of e-bike continued growth within the industry and safety for all. If we do not address the core issue, we may see this propel to something beyond our control.”    With the recently proposed bans on e-bikes getting many people charged up, it is important to consider that the authorities proposing these changes are doing so with public safety in mind. When improper and unsafe charging of e-bikes takes place, tragedy can follow. People who use e-bikes should continue to learn about the intricacies involved in safe charging. Doing so will not only impact their own personal safety, but the safety of their neighbors as well.

Experts Warn of Electric Vehicle Fires After Hurricane Ian Damages Lithium-Ion Batteries

As millions of Americans recover from Hurricane Ian, which made landfall near Fort Myers, Florida, on September 28, officials are warning of a new hazard: electric vehicles (EVs) that were damaged in the storm and now pose a fire risk.  “Our first responders are being put in harm’s way,” Florida State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis said in a video posted on social media earlier this month. “Homes that may have survived the storm are now being burned down.” According to the Florida Phoenix, firefighters in Naples have responded to at least six fires involving EVs that had been damaged in the storm. Experts say vehicles that may have been submerged in saltwater for extended periods of time are of particular concern—and with storm surge from the powerful Category 4 hurricane having reached as high as 15 feet in parts of coastal Florida, thousands of vehicles could now fall into this category. “Electric vehicles that have been submerged in water, especially saltwater, have a potential risk of experiencing a high-voltage electrical battery fire,” said Victoria Hutchison, a project manager at the Fire Protection Research Foundation, the research affiliate of NFPA. “First responders should be prepared to respond to a potential fire and should handle EVs that may have been submerged with greater caution.”  What is thermal runaway and stranded energy?  Most electric vehicles in use today are powered by lithium-ion batteries. When damaged by something like saltwater, heat, or force, a chemical reaction known as thermal runaway can start inside the cells of these energy-dense batteries. In this state, the batteries heat up uncontrollably and can be prone to fires and off-gassing, which can also result in explosions in confined spaces.  “ First responders should be prepared to respond to a potential fire and should handle EVs with greater caution. When EVs batteries are submerged in saltwater, specifically, “salt bridges can form within the battery pack and provide a path for short-circuit and self-heating,” the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said in a statement sent to Patronis.  Hutchison echoed that point. “Saltwater can accelerate corrosion,” she said. “So, in a saltwater storm surge scenario, the salt deposits that can remain on the EV batteries after the water recedes can cause rapid corrosion and increase the risk of thermal runaway. Furthermore, there’s no set period in which this potential thermal reaction will occur—it can be hours, days, or even weeks later.” Last week I witnessed an EV fire during Hurricane Ian operations. Firefighters put out the fire, then it would reignite. The teams said it was a result of salt water affecting compromised batteries, so we asked for additional information from @NHTSAgov. They responded. (1/5) pic.twitter.com/YDi7H26ykd — Jimmy Patronis (@JimmyPatronis) October 14, 2022 Compounding the risk of thermal runaway is the fact that there’s no easy way of draining the energy out of damaged batteries—a separate concept known as stranded energy. This is true even after a fire has occurred and been initially extinguished. In 2018, for instance, after a fatal crash and fire involving an electric vehicle in California, the car’s batteries reignited at a junkyard six days later.  RELATED: Read more about stranded energy and thermal runaway in an NFPA Journal feature story published in 2020 Because of these risks, Hutchison and other experts have recommended that Florida first responders and the public “remain on high alert” for fires involving damaged EVs in the wake of Ian. If you own an EV that may have been damaged during Hurricane Ian, “please get it towed away from your home but … make sure the towing operator knows how to safely and properly tow EV vehicles,” the North Collier Fire Control and Rescue District Administration wrote in a Facebook post.  In statements released publicly last week and also sent directly to EV manufacturers and federal officials, Florida Senator Rick Scott urged action from manufacturers to provide more fire safety guidance for both consumers and the fire service.  “The current guidelines from EV manufacturers on the impacts of saltwater submersion on the operability of the vehicles do not adequately address the issue,” Scott wrote. “As a result, most consumers are under the potentially life-threatening misimpression that their EVs will continue functioning properly after saltwater submersion.”   NFPA already offers guidance for the fire service on how to best respond to incidents involving electric vehicles. As EVs have grown in popularity over the past several years, NFPA has helped educate more than 300,000 first responders on this emerging hazard. Visit nfpa.org/ev to learn more about the EV responder training opportunities from NFPA. Top photograph: Ivan Radic via Flickr

A level of Safety – NFPA Fire & Life Safety Ecosystem

Two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend The 1st University of Maryland/NFPA Fire & Life Safety Ecosystem Symposium, in College Park, Maryland, U.S.A, where fire and life safety experts from across the globe gathered to discuss the principals of the NFPA Fire & Life Safety Ecosystem™ and its application to address today’s fire safety issues. For those of you who are not familiar with the NFPA Fire & Life Safety Ecosystem™, it is “a framework that identifies the components that must work together to minimize risk and help prevent loss, injuries and death from fire, electrical and other hazards.” In other words, it identifies the items NFPA feels contribute to achieving the expected level of safety when it comes to fire and electrical hazards. Each component is depicted as a cog, each of which connect to form a circle. Over the two day symposium attendees reviewed case studies on the Ghost Ship Warehouse fire in Oakland, CA (2016); the Grenfell Tower Fire in London, UK (2017); and the Camp Fire, Butt County, CA (2018); and also discussed emerging issues involving residential fires; the safe use of alternative energy; and how to think about fire safety when using new building materials. Each topic was evaluated through the lens of the NFPA Fire & Life Safety Ecosystem™.  In many of the case studies multiple components of the ecosystem failed or lacked effectiveness. When discussing the emerging issues, no single component would solve the challenge presented. This seemed to lend to the idea that all the cogs must be working together to ensure the expected level of safety, so what happens if just one isn’t operating at peak performance? Does the ecosystem still provide a level of safety because the cogs remain connected? One example that came up several times was the need to mandate automatic fire sprinkler systems in all new and existing high-rise buildings. According to research done by NFPA, fire Sprinklers have been shown to be an extremely effective of increasing life safety with an 89% reduction in fire deaths in properties with automatic fire sprinklers as compared to those without. So, sprinklers would certainly make an impact on reducing deaths in fires. NFPA 1 Fire Code requires automatic fire sprinklers systems in all new high-rise building and all existing high-rise buildings within 12 years of the code becoming law. Mandating compliance with the most recent edition of this code through legislation falls under government responsibility cog. If the government responsibility cog was effective, this incorporation of NFPA 101 Life Safety Code would be one way they could create laws which prioritizes public safety needs.  However, as is sometimes the case a local government also could incorporate into law a modified NFPA 101 Life Safety Code, one which doesn’t mandate sprinklers in all high-rise buildings, specifically existing buildings. In the second case, one could argue that this cog would not be functioning at its optimal potential. How does this impact the level of safety in existing high-rise buildings? There are many examples of major fires in non-sprinklered or partially sprinklered high-rise buildings including the One Meridian Plaza fire (1991), the Cook County Administration Building fire in Chicago (2003), the Marco Polo Apartment Building Fire in Hawaii (2017) and the Twin Parks Northwest fire in New York City (2022). In all these cases a review of the fire concluded fire sprinklers could have made an impact, however all had multiple challenges; One Meridian Plaza had issues with water supply in the standpipe system; the Cook County Administration Building had locked doors preventing reentry on the floors above the fire; and both the Marco Polo and Twin Parks Northwest fires both had issues with self-closing doors. These challenges touch the Skilled Workforce, Code Compliance, and Investment in Safety cogs, resulting in the entire system failing. As I reflect on the discussion during the first NFPA Fire and Life Safety Ecosystem Summit, I can’t help but wonder if another part of the ecosystem concept is the resiliency of the anticipated level of safety in buildings. Each cog is interlaced with the next, adding elements of safety which can work together in an emergency to prevent a major tragedy. When one cog is not functioning at its optimal potential does the circular concept of the ecosystem allow the others to “turn” or function which will provide some level of safety, reducing the likelihood of a significant incident? As we wrap up fire prevention week, let’s think about all the cogs and how they’ll advance the level of safety for the public. Government Responsibility, Development and Use of Current Codes, Reference Standards, Investment in Safety, Skilled Workforce, Code Compliance, Preparedness and Emergency Response, and Informed Public all work together. Buildings which are designed, constructed, and operated with all these in mind really do have a level of safety which works to protect their occupants. Check out the NFPA Fire & Life Safety Ecosystem™page for more on the concept, an assessment tool as well as the 2020 & 2021 Year in Review reports on the state of the ecosystem.
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A Better Understanding of NFPA 70E: Setting Up an Electrical Safety Program (Part 7 – Equipment Condition)

NFPA 70E®, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace® does not detail the policies and procedures that must be in an electrical safety program (ESP). However, it is not possible to comply with NFPA 70E without filling in the details. Section 110.5(C) requires that the condition of maintenance of equipment to be part of the ESP. Condition of maintenance is the state of the electrical equipment considering the manufacturers’ instructions, manufacturers’ recommendations, and applicable industry codes, standards, and recommended practices. Normal operation is permitted when the equipment is properly installed, properly maintained, used in accordance with instructions, equipment doors are closed and secured, all equipment covers are in place and secured, and there is no evidence of impending failure. Operating condition and condition of maintenance are two different things. Maintenance is only part of the operating condition. The ESP will detail what the acceptable condition of maintenance is any piece of equipment. Equipment that is under normal operating conditions is considered to be free from exposed hazards whereas equipment that is not is rightfully considered a risk for electrical injuries. All employees should be able to determine that the equipment they are interacting with is under normal operating conditions. The condition of maintenance is often not within an equipment operator’s knowledge base. With all the variables, NFPA 70E does not specify what is acceptable or how to assess condition of maintenance. There are thousands of pieces of equipment from hundreds of manufacturers with their own maintenance requirements, used in different environments, under different loads, and subject to different types of damage throughout a facility. Determining an appropriate equipment condition is more detailed than many think. It might not be realistic to require that equipment be kept clean. Such a requirement would dictate constant, unnecessary cleaning of a motor designed to safely operate in a dust atmosphere. Equipment might have a different acceptable condition. A grease smudge on a switch might not warrant the same response as a transformer covered in debris. Equipment that has an operator or is used every day could be evaluated by the employee using it. That employee must be trained to determine the equipment condition and know what to do if the condition is unacceptable. There are many pieces of equipment that are not often viewed by someone. An employee might be assigned to inspect that equipment. The interval might vary. For example, equipment in a loading dock might need more frequent inspection and maintenance than equipment in an electrical closet. Maintenance personnel might be solely responsible for assigning the condition of maintenance of all equipment that any employee interacts with or relies on for electrical safety. This takes an understanding of the definition of condition of maintenance and the ESPs definition of an acceptable maintenance condition. NFPA 70E is a safe work practice standard that does not provide the details necessary for assessing the condition of maintenance of equipment. In the United States of America, equipment that is under normal operating conditions is not considered a risk for exposure to electrical hazards. The condition of equipment and an employee’s ability to recognize when it is no longer acceptable are important aspects of the ESP. The ESP policies and procedures must detail the equipment condition assessment method as well as what is an acceptable condition to advance safety in the workplace.

Electrical space: the final frontier where electrical inspectors voyage to explore two of the many requirements of section 110.26(A)

Electrical space: the final frontier. “These are the voyages of the electrical inspector.” This plays on a quote from one of my favorite Star Trek movies. Space, especially electrical equipment space in buildings, can seem like it is a final frontier because it is getting harder to come by. Or is it? Prior to the COVID outbreak, buildings were being built to house hundreds, even thousands of employees, so space for electrical and mechanical rooms was at a premium and in tight quarters. Office space, especially when being rented by the square foot, was made a higher priority. With the way that many of us work shifting due to the pandemic, designs of buildings are likely to also start shifting to accommodate the move to a more remote workforce, which occupies less space within buildings. This may cause office spaces to be consolidated, therefore giving more room for electrical and mechanical rooms. Consolidation of space for offices may be occurring, but the change in how we work appears aimed more at having open spaces being converted to conference rooms for team meetings. But no matter what is occurring in the space designated for offices or meeting rooms, the one area that cannot be compromised is the spaces about electrical equipment. There are two types of spaces around electrical equipment mentioned in the 2023 National Electrical Code® (NEC®): working space and dedicated equipment space. Each one has quite different requirements, but all aid in the safety of the worker and longevity of the installation. Working space within the NEC, in general, is comprised of three parts: Depth of Working Space - found in section 110.26(A)(1). This measurement factors in nominal voltage to ground and if there are grounded parts or exposed live parts across from the equipment. Measurements are taken from live exposed parts or from enclosure if live parts are enclosed, out the front until the minimum distance found in Table 110.26(A)(1) is met. Width of Working Space –in section 110.26(A)(2). This dimension is derived by measuring the width across the front of the equipment. This can be taken from center (15 inches in middle of equipment), from left side of equipment or from right side. No matter the voltage or amperage the width will never be less than 30 inches. Height of working Space – addressed in 110.26(A)(3). This is measured from grade, floor, or platform to a height of 6.5 feet and is the width of the equipment or minimally 30 inches. All these spaces combine to form a box, if you will, that is for the qualified worker to occupy when servicing or working on the equipment. This is intended to provide room to move, which is necessary to keep them from bumping into something and possibly getting shocked or causing an arc flash. This area also allows easy access to equipment should a breaker or disconnect need to be shut off quickly. Working space is not to be used for storage according to 110.26(B). In all my years as an inspector I can’t tell you how many times I have had to write that violation during the electrical inspections. These mostly occurred on remodels where circuits and wiring were added to the existing electrical systems. I would politely remind the building owner/occupant that working space was required to help keep the electrical worker safe from exposure to electrical hazards that may be present. New to the 2023 NEC in section 110.26(A)(6) is the requirement that the grade, floor or platform in the working space be clear and as level or flat as practical for the entire required depth and width. The dedicated equipment space in 110.26(E) is just what you would think it would be; space dedicated solely for the installation of electrical equipment. Indoor dedicated electrical space is found in 110.26(E)(1)(a), which electrical inspectors often refer to as the “thumb print” of the equipment plus six feet above the top of the equipment. For example, a panelboard 20-inches wide x 6-inches deep mounted to the surface of the wall at seven feet to the top would have dedicate electrical space extending up to 13 ft above the finished floor. So the overall dedicated space is 20-inches wide x 6-inches deep up to 13 ft. In general, only electrical items are allowed within that space, which might include: raceways (and associated fittings) wireways junction boxes This list is not all inclusive, but an idea of what may be seen within the vicinity of electrical equipment. One exception to the dedicated space requirement is made for suspended ceilings with removable panels. With design limitations imposed on room size, there may be the occasional foreign system intruding into the dedicated electrical space required by section 110.26(E)(1)(a), typically becoming a violation. So, if the system was installed in accordance with 110.26(E)(1)(b), which addresses foreign systems over the dedicated electrical space, there would not be a problem. Remember our example, the top of the dedicated electrical space was 13 feet above finished floor, so the foreign system would need to be higher than 13 feet. If a foreign system is subject to condensation or leaks, the electrical equipment would require protection from such occurrences, which may also mean the system needs to be higher since the method of protection is not allowed within the dedicated electrical space. This space was put into the code to ensure adequate access to the electrical system for the installation of associated parts and to protect the electrical installation from other systems foreign to the electrical system. Electrical space: the final frontier where the voyages of the electrical inspector have explored two of the many requirements of section 110.26(A). Find more information for electrical inspectors by visiting nfpa.org/electricalinspection. You can explore the 2023 NEC by purchasing a printed copy or have NFPA LiNK® beamed to your computer.

Amazon Solar Shutdown Provides Opportunity for Praise and Reflection on Safe Solar Installations

According to recent reports from CNBC and other major news outlets, Amazon temporarily shut down all solar power generation at their North American facilities last year as they worked to investigate potential fire safety issues with these systems. While the details of what Amazon found in their investigations during the shutdown are unspecified and therefore can’t be expounded upon, knowing that Amazon recognized a compounding problem and made safety paramount by shutting down their solar generation at 47 North American sites should be commended. Although there was significant financial loss to Amazon by moving forward with the shutdown and launching the investigation, making the decision to do so aligned with the principles established by the NFPA Fire & Life Safety Ecosystem™—specifically, the company chose to make an Investment in Safety. The NFPA Fire & Life Safety Ecosystem is a framework that identifies the components that must work together to minimize risk and help prevent loss, injuries, and death from fire, electrical, and other hazards. There are eight key components in the Fire & Life Safety Ecosystem. These components are interdependent. When they work together, the Ecosystem protects everyone. If any component is missing or broken, the Ecosystem can collapse, often resulting in tragedy. Almost always we can trace the cause of fire and life safety tragedies back to the breakdown of one or more components. Aside from the aforementioned Investment in Safety, there are several other key areas of the Ecosystem that apply to safe solar installations. Codes, compliance, and skilled workers With a technology that is constantly changing like solar photovoltaic (PV) power, using the most current codes is critical for a safe installation. Within the Ecosystem, this would fall under the Development and Use of Current Codes component. As an example, NFPA 70,® National Electrical Code® (NEC®), covers the installation of PV systems in Article 690, including the array circuit(s), inverter(s), and controller(s) for such systems. Article 691 covers large-scale PV electric supply stations not under exclusive utility control, such as privately owned solar farms. Yet many areas of the country do not use the most current edition of the NEC, with some areas using editions dating back as far as 2008. That is a 15-year difference between the most current NEC and some of the oldest versions being used. As can be expected, there have been significant changes in product development and safe solar installation requirements over those years. For instance, rapid shutdown is a means of solar equipment reducing the potential for electric shock within 30 seconds of activation of shutdown, intended to raise the level of safety for firefighters that are responding to potential solar array fires. Rapid shutdown was introduced in the 2014 cycle of the NEC so anyone utilizing prior editions would not be providing this level of safety for first responders. This is a clear example of why it is so important to utilize the most current codes for solar installations in order to achieve maximum safety.   Fortunately, even for jurisdictions that are lagging behind in the use of the most recent codes, professionals can choose to take trainings on more recent editions. The NFPA 70, National Electrical Code (NEC) (2020) Online Training Series, for example, provides trainees with key information and interactive exercises on the 2020 edition of the NEC. With the 2023 NEC having just taken effect September 1, be on the lookout for forthcoming training based on that version of the NEC.   Another area of the Ecosystem that is necessary for a safe solar installations is Code Compliance. The only way to truly ensure a safe installation is by verifying it through effective code enforcement. Those tasked with inspecting solar installations for safety must consider everything involved while reviewing the systems. NEC requirements as well as manufacturer installation requirements are critical items that must be met. It is also important to remember that code compliance does not end with the initial installation of the system. Any time a solar installation gets updated or modified, it is just as important to have that system reviewed again for continued compliance with the necessary codes as it was to have it inspected in the first place. The individuals that perform the solar installation matter as well. The Ecosystem requires a Skilled Workforce in order to ensure safe installations. Those that are considered skilled are aware of the most current codes and know how to apply them to the installation. They have been trained to properly handle, install, and maintain the equipment that is involved. From an enforcement standpoint, the NEC takes skill a step further by requiring that only qualified persons perform the installation of solar equipment, associated wiring, and interconnections. By definition within the NEC, a qualified person has skills and knowledge related to the construction and operation of the electrical equipment and installations and has received safety training to recognize and avoid the hazards involved. One critical way a Skilled Workforce can be created is through training programs like the ones offered by NFPA. The Photovoltaic and Energy Storage Systems Online Training Series, for example, is a four-part online program that covers topics that can assist with design, installation, maintenance, and inspection requirements for PV and energy storage systems. The training educates users on relevant code requirements for PV systems and ESS not just within the NEC, but also within other leading codes including NFPA 1, Fire Code, NFPA 855, Standard for the Installation of Stationary Energy Storage Systems, NFPA 5000®, Building Construction and Safety Code®, and others. When it comes to safe installations of solar power it is critical that we play offense, instead of defense. Choosing to be proactive by ensuring safe installations that align with the NFPA Fire & Life Safety Ecosystem up front will prevent the need for reactive decisions to correct any potential problems down the line. In the United States alone, solar power capacity has grown from approximately 0.34 gigawatts in 2008 to an estimated 97.2 gigawatts today. With no slowing down in sight, it is critical that those involved in performing solar installations and maintenance are doing so with safety as an important and necessary part of the process. Learn more about all of NFPA’s resources on PV and energy storage systems at nfpa.org/ess.
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