ESFI, NEMA team for low-voltage surge protective devices webinar

April 17, 2023
The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) and the National Electrical Manufacturers Association’s (NEMA) Low Voltage Surge Protective Devices Section (BI-VS) have jointly developed a free instructional webinar.

The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to promoting electrical safety at home and in the workplace, and the National Electrical Manufacturers Association’s (NEMA) Low Voltage Surge Protective Devices Section (BI-VS) have together developed a free webinar entitled, Surge Protective Devices: Protecting Businesses and Homes.

The webinar goes into detail regarding what power surges are, why they happen, and how to prevent them from damaging sensitive electronics.

As noted by EFSI and NEMA, power surges, or transients, are brief, microsecond voltage and current spikes or disturbances on a power waveform that can damage, degrade, or destroy electrical equipment within any home or business.

The partner organizations note that most electrical equipment is designed to handle minor variations in their standard operating voltages; however, power surges can be very damaging to nearly all equipment.

According to EFSI and NEMA, 60-80% of power surges are caused by internal sources, such as faulty wiring or loose connections, overloaded circuits, short circuits, or ground faults. External sources include lightning, power recovery, and utility power grid switching.

The organizations note that, as electrification and the digitization of equipment advances, so do occurrences of failure or mis-operation due to transient voltages. Surge protective devices protect expensive electrical equipment from the damaging effects of power surges.

These devices are also required by the National Electrical Code (NEC) in homes and commercial and industrial buildings.

According to a press release, ESFI recently surveyed industrial and commercial facility professionals on their understanding of surge protective devices. The respondents agreed that the devices are effective.

In the survey, 79% percent of facilities stated that they have cut down on the amount of downtime and equipment failure, while 34% of facilities reported that unplanned outages were caused by power surges and unexpected resetting or mis-operation of equipment.

According to NEMA, the average home has $15,000 worth of equipment that can be damaged by power surges. Installing surge protective devices can protect against downtime, improve system and data reliability, and reduce electrical failures.

The partner organizations emphasize: "It is important to note that fuses, circuit breakers, ground fault circuit interrupters, consumer uninterruptible power supplies, and typical power strips do not provide surge protection."

The free webinar has been posted to Youtube:

As previously reported by CI&M, in 2019 NEMA published its NEMA SPD 1.1-2019 Part 1—Surge Protective Device Specification Guide for Low-Voltage Power Distribution Systems. Available in a hard copy and as an electronic download, this low-voltage surge protective devices guide includes information on surge current ratings, modes of protection, and general grounding practices.

For more information, visit and

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About the Author

Matt Vincent | Senior Editor

Matt Vincent is a B2B technology journalist, editor and content producer with over 15 years of experience, specializing in the full range of media content production and management, as well as SEO and social media engagement best practices, for both Cabling Installation & Maintenance magazine and its website He currently provides trade show, company, executive and field technology trend coverage for the ICT structured cabling, telecommunications networking, data center, IP physical security, and professional AV vertical market segments. Email: [email protected]

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