When To Use A GFCI

When do I need a GFCI?

GFCI onset

GFCIs should be used anywhere electricity has a close proximity to water. This includes anywhere there is a possibility of rain, flooding or moisture around electricity and where water may intentionally or unintentionally make contact with any part of the electrical distribution system or any devices energized by the system. Below are some examples and photos of when a GFCI is obviously needed. However, it’s important to note, that in any situation using a GFCI is the best way to provide your cast, crew, and any bystanders safety from dangerous electrical shock. How often have you filmed in a mall, school, beach or sidewalk where an energized power system is within reach of the public? Imagine the potential danger of a curious child thinking an energized distribution box as a great place to stick his fingers.

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The More Obvious Times To Use A GFCI:

  • Falling Water / Rain
  • Standing Water
  • Running Water
  • Confined Water
  • Open Water
  • Possible Inundation or Flood
  • Dump / Wave Tanks

The Less Obvious Times to Use A GFCI:

  • Heat in Humid Conditions – When it comes to proximity to a wet location there is nothing closer to you than your own skin on a hot humid day. When you perspire your wet skin is 1000 times more conductive to electricity then dry skin.
  • Morning Dew or Condensation – Mornings can be very wet because of condensation. Often electrical equipment that is left out outside overnight can become soaking wet. This is always a hazard that should be protected against.
  • Snow/Ice – Snow and ice can be extremely dangerous, especially when it melts. Snow melt  is inevitable on set because most of the equipment being powered generates heat.
  • Sprinklers – Nothing is more annoying than showing up for work and realizing that someone forgot to turn the sprinklers off and the equipment left outside received a nice little dousing. Equipment that received a wet down in the middle of the night might look dry by morning but could still be full of water on the inside. Don’t take a chance and make sure you’re protected!
  • Public Areas – This has nothing to do with proximity to moisture. A technician should take on the responsible roll of looking out for everyone that may come into contact with a portable power system. Remember that our equipment is unique looking and people may not realize the dangers that exist.