Over 25% of all fires in Europe each year are caused by an electrical defect, according to the Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection. Despite huge advances in safety measures such as smoke detectors, these accidents still result in 4,000 deaths, 70,000 hospital admissions and property damage rising as high as €126bn.
While current UK electrical regulation remains below the level required to maximise protection against electrically-ignited fires, the 18th Edition to the IET Wiring Regulations – published in July this year – is a step in the right direction. This new national standard includes significant changes such as the requirement for a ‘switching device’ to be implemented in the installation of renewable energy storage systems and recommendations for Arc Fault Detection Devices (AFDDs) in AC final circuits.
Other countries, such as Germany and the US, already place specific requirements on where AFDD use can be mandated and the 18th Edition of the IET Wiring Regulations has already sparked great discussion about new technology that can mitigate the risk of electrical fires.
Fire flames – pic courtesy of Dreamstime