2015 MRC Adoption

The State of Michigan has scheduled a Public Hearing for the 2015 Michigan Residential Code for May 28th at 9:00 at the Bureau of Construction Code Office in Okemos. (Notice)

Remove AFCI’s in Michigan? WHY

The Committee that worked on the MRC Rules were not the Electrical Advisory Committee that normally reviews the electrical changes for the MRC Adoption. Many of  the members voting to remove AFCI’s in Michigan had no electrical knowledge or experience.

SAVE AFCI’s  –  Save Michigan Lives

Can we just sit back and let uninformed people remove the Changes in Circuit Breaker technology that can prevent electrical fires. AFCI’s can prevent millions of dollars in property damage annually, prevent over a thousand injuries annually, and save hundreds of lives annually by having the proven technology of an Arc-Fault Circuit-Interrupter.

We need to Act!!! Contact your legislative representatives, the Governors office and of course attend the public Hearing on May 28th and express your concern.

Draft Email to IAEI – Michigan Chapter members to contact legislators/Governor/LARA:

LARA Office
Dept. of LARA Bureau of Construction Codes Office of Administrative Services

Submit all comments to: matsumotos@michigan.gov  

Subject: Time Sensitive – IAEI Help Needed on AFCIs – Michigan Electrical Fire Prevention

Dear IAEI members:

We need your help to attend a meeting and send a quick email!

On May 28th at 9am Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) will be holding a public hearing in Okemos in Conference Room 3, 2501 Woodlake Circle on a measure to remove a requirement from Michigan’s residential code eliminating electrical fire protection in newly built homes. Please plan to attend this if you can! The Home Builders Association of Michigan wants arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) to be removed from the code. AFCIs detect dangerous arcing in electrical wiring behind walls, through damaged extension cords and outlets and stop this arcing before a fire can occur. AFCIs have been a National Electrical Code requirement since 1999 and Michigan has had this requirement in place for bedrooms for several years now. Nationwide, 49 states including Michigan, require AFCIs – a proven and UL tested fire prevention technology.

As you know, if this residential code change moves forward, it will mean AFCIs will no longer be required in new home construction in Michigan. That will literally turn the clock back decades on fire safety, putting future Michigan lives at risk of injury and death. The home builders believe consumers would rather buy granite countertops and oak cabinets than spend $40 on an AFCI or $300 to outfit a 2,400 sq. foot home with the fire prevention technology. We think that logic will put thousands of Michigan families including children and seniors at risk from deadly electrical fires. Why would Michigan want to stop requiring this critical protection against electrical fires? It doesn’t make sense, but we’ll have to act quickly to keep AFCIs in the code.

How you can help

If everyone takes just a minute to send their own email to the contacts we’ve outlined in the attached list, it will make a difference. We encourage you to send one email from you to all of them, especially to those in your portion of the state. Tell them where you are from, perhaps share a personal story and stress why you want arc fault circuit interrupters – AFCIs – to remain in the Michigan residential code. The subject of your email could be Keep AFCIs in Residential Code or AFCIs Important to Michigan, or Protect Michigan Lives – Keep AFCIs. Do what you think is appropriate. It is important for timing purposes that you do this as soon as possible in the next week or so. It will make a difference and thanks!

Below are a few samples/talking points and the email addresses are attached to send your email to. Don’t forget to add your name, address and a phone number:

——-

Dear Legislators, Governor and LARA:

As an electrical inspector, I work hard every day to ensure electrical systems are up to code and working safely. Our state has a long and proud history when it comes to protecting its citizens and keeping them safe. Protecting them from electrical fires should be just as worthy. We’ve had a requirement in place for years now ensuring arc fault circuit interrupters are required in the bedrooms of new homes. This proven technology is working and helping prevent electrical fires in Michigan. Nationally, since AFCIs started to be installed along with other fire safety and prevention technologies, the number of electrical fires has dropped. It is disheartening that as the rest of the country actually increases AFCI usage in homes, a special interest group in Michigan would actually be working to have AFCIs removed from the code. Doing that will put thousands of lives at risk of injury and/or death. Now is not the time to set back the clock on safety in our state. We need to keep AFCIs in the residential code. Please put safety first above politics and don’t weaken Michigan’s fire safety standards.

——

To our Leaders:

Each year there are around 40,000+ electrical fires in the United States where nearly 1,500 people will be injured, and another 350 will die. As an electrical inspector, I’m on the front lines of making sure electrical systems in homes are working properly to avoid any issues. One of the greatest fire safety and prevention developments in the last 16 years are arc fault circuit interrupters or AFCIs. These small devices detect arcing in wiring and help prevent electrical fires from starting. They’re required in Michigan and 49 states total in the U.S. For some reason though, a special interest group with another agenda wants to do away with the requirement to install them – effectively exposing the future lives of children, families, the elderly and others to the dangers of potential electrical fires. It doesn’t make sense and this poorly conceived move is going to get people hurt. Why on earth would we want to do away with a proven fire prevention technology? We need you to do whatever is in your power to help stop these efforts and to keep AFCIs in Michigan’s residential code for the safety of our residents.

————-

Dear Governor Snyder, State Legislators and LARA Residential Code ,

How many injuries and/or deaths from electrical fires will it take for Michigan to realize that in 2015 we allowed a poor decision to put our state in a terrible downward spiral for fire safety? That’s what will happen if a measure currently up for a LARA public hearing on May 28th is allowed to move forward. I’m talking about a proposal to remove the arc fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) requirement from Michigan’s residential code. Michigan has had this code requirement for years and the National Electrical Code has required AFCIs for 16 years. A total of 49 states require AFCIS, but they will soon disappear from Michigan if special interests have their way.

Critics argue that at $40 a piece, AFCIs are too expensive and that new home builder/buyers would rather spend their money on other items rather than fire prevention technology. It seems odd that this group actually supports building new homes that are less safe when it comes to electrical fires. AFCIs detect dangerous arcing and end it before a fire can start. Many newer Michigan homes already possess this technology thanks to the current code requirement and it is working successfully. So, why would Michigan now end it entirely? Imagine if we ended air bag use, took out all the smoke or carbon/dioxide detectors, told people to no longer wear seatbelts. Common sense tells us that if AFCIs work (and they do and are UL tested) then at the very least, we should leave things where they are now. Keeping the technology as a requirement is better than ending it altogether. We need your help in making that happen. Please keep AFCIs in the state residential code. Michigan residents deserve the same level of fire protection as other states. Now is not the time to be weakening our fire safety standards.

LARA Office
Dept. of LARA Bureau of Construction Codes Office of Administrative Services

Submit all comments to: matsumotos@michigan.gov  

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