Celebrating National Electrical Safety Month

Published May 20, 2022

Categories: Thought Leadership, Safety, Facilities Management, Sustainability, Energy Storage Systems

This May, Flagship Facility Services is celebrating National Electrical Safety Month, designated by the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) – a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of electrical safety in the home, school, and workplace.

National Electrical Safety Month was established in the 1990s to educate key audiences on steps that can be taken to reduce the number of electrical-related fires, injuries, fatalities, and property losses.

This year, ESFI is examining how emerging technologies, such as photovoltaics, electric vehicles, and energy storage systems, can provide energy resilience to homes and businesses.

As climate change intensifies and sustainability becomes more and more important, businesses are installing solar panels and photovoltaic modules to increase energy efficiency and reduce dependency on the power grid.

These Energy Storage Systems (ESSs) use off-peak energy from the grid to recharge, allowing users to run on battery power. This can have significant cost savings and help keep essential devices powered during natural disasters and power outages.

But, even ESSs present safety risks. Improper installation or inadequate maintenance can result in fire, explosion, or electrical shock.

Here are some tips on how to safely manage your ESS, taken from the National Fire Protection Association’s “Energy Storage Systems Safety Fact Sheet”.

Spacing

ESS units should be grouped into small segments limited to certain kilo-watt hours (kWh) and spaced from other segments and walls to prevent horizontal propagation. See the Fire Protection Research Foundation’s “Sprinkler Protection Guidance for Lithium-Ion Based Energy Storage Systems” report for spacing recommendations.

Fire & Explosion Protection

Testing has shown water to be the most effective medium for cooling an ESS fire. A sprinkler system should be installed in buildings where an ESS is installed. Additionally, an explosion prevention system or deflagration venting should be installed in any room that contains enough batteries to create an explosive atmosphere.

Emergency Operations Planning

An emergency operations plan should be created and contain elements such as procedures to safely shut down an ESS, procedures for the removal of a damaged ESS, general emergency procedures, and annual staff training. The fire department should also develop a pre-incident plan for responding to fires, explosions, and other emergency conditions associated with ESS installation.

One of Flagship’s core values, safety is woven into every aspect of our culture.

Our team takes every possible measure to minimize risk and ensure the health and safety of everyone, every day.

Those measures include facilitating safety assessments, conducting incident investigations, and overseeing a comprehensive employee certification program.

Download Flagship’s EHS policy for more information.