May is National Electrical Safety Month, and the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) is launching its annual campaign to increase public awareness of electrical hazards and the importance of electrical safety.

“Modern homes run on electricity, but if you don’t properly maintain your electrical products, they can create hazards,” said Brett Brenner, ESFI president. “The good news is that eliminating electrical hazards from your home doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive.”

In the United States, home electrical problems annually cause more than 51,000 fires, resulting in more than 490 deaths, 1,400 injuries, and $1.3 billion in property damage, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Statistics from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission show that nearly 400 people are electrocuted in the United States each year.

The ESFI sponsors National Electrical Safety Month (NESM) each May to increase public awareness of the electrical hazards around us at home, work, school and play. This year’s campaign challenges people across the country to evaluate the electrical safety of their homes, learning more about their electrical systems and devices in the process.

New resources featured in ESFI’s 2011 National Electrical Safety Month Toolkit, such as the Home Electrical Safety Challenge, have been designed to teach people of all ages to identify and correct potential electrical hazards before a more serious situation results. This complimentary toolkit can be downloaded on ESFI’s website at www.electrical-safety.org

To coincide with National Electrical Safety Month, ESFI has completed renovations on its virtual home online tool. This dynamic, interactive resource guides users as they navigate a virtual home room-by-room, building understanding about potential home electrical dangers and electrical safety.

Visit ESFI’s virtual home at virtualhome.esfi.org to learn more about the program.