NEC Code 230.85 Code Change


Residential Exterior Emergency Disconnects 

2020 NEC® Code Change to section 230.85


First Responders have the unique and difficult task of arriving on a scene, usually with more than a few variables that have to be taken into consideration. Very often, they’re in harm’s way.


Mitigating risk for these individuals continues to be of utmost importance when generating code changes; and a recent development from the NEC® may further assist them in eliminating undue risk in their role.


This risk mitigation comes in the requirement for the location of an emergency disconnect, now effective for all newly-built dwelling units. This disconnect is required to be in a readily accessible outdoor location, as well as being clearly labeled, so it can be quickly identified by any emergency personnel or first responders on the scene.


Providing first responders with an outdoor-accessible shutoff is critical in situations that may involve fire, gas leakage, structural damage, or flooding. When a disconnect is located indoors (especially in a basement or other storage area) the ability to identify and reach it may be challenging or even severely compromised, putting both the responders and any potential occupants in further danger.

emergnecy disconnects_updated

These service conductors shall terminate with a disconnecting means having a short-circuit current rating equal or greater than the available fault current and should be located outside the structure in an accessible and obvious location. If more than one disconnect is provided, they should be grouped together to prevent further confusion.

Each disconnect should be labeled as follows:




Meter disconnects installed per previous code 230.82(3) can be marked as:






Other listed disconnect switches (or circuit breakers) on the supply side of each service disconnect that are suitable for use as service equipment should be marked as follows:





Markings shall comply with 110.21(B).


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