“They’re not safe:” Fire officials say they’re worried about new homes in Wisconsin

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WAUWATOSA -- Fire officials from across Wisconsin came together Tuesday, March 7th for a special demonstration in Wauwatosa.

They gathered to remember those who have been injured or died in electrical fires and to call on Gov. Scott Walker to help stop state agency proposals that would see new Wisconsin homes built without the up-to-date safety standards required in other states.

Proposals by the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services ignore a recommendation to expand the use of a piece of equipment that helps stop deadly electrical fires -- arc-fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs), ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) and related outlet receptacles -- which stop fires before they start and prevent shocks and electrocution.

According to these fire officials, the 2017 National Electric Code requires the use of these devices be expanded into additional areas in homes. Officials said Wisconsin currently builds homes using the 2011 National Electric Code requirements -- which require the devices in bedrooms and other areas -- but not laundry and kitchen areas.

They showed live demonstrations of how the devices can stop dangers homeowners aren't even aware of.

"These devices stop fires, save lives and we shouldn't compromise. As the rest of the country moves forward, our homes will be built to standards that are a decade old. That's not safe and it's not right," Mark Rohlfing, Milwaukee fire chief said.

Home builders are against expanding the use of the equipment because they said the devices are too expensive.

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