Answer: Labeling your outside electrical service disconnect switch with an Emergency Disconnect sticker is a good idea. It is also required for new installations.
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Article 230.85 in the National Electrical Code (NFPA 70) requires an outdoor emergency disconnect switch for new residential electric service installations. The emergency disconnect switches must be identified with an emergency disconnect sticker or some other red label with white letters.
EMERGENCY DISCONNECT SWITCH
Emergency disconnect switches are needed to shut off the electrical power to a home in an emergency such as a fire. In the past, firefighters would typically remove the electric meter to disconnect power if it wasn’t locked.
However, more and more power companies are putting locks on their electric meters. The locks make it difficult and time-consuming to get an electric meter removed. The power company often needs to send someone to unlock the electric meter lock, which prevents firefighters from safely doing their job.
The emergency disconnect switch must be marked with a sticker, decal, or label to identify it quickly. Letters should be white on a red background as per article 230.85(E)(2) in the National Electrical Code (NFPA 70).
The requirement for having an outside emergency disconnect switch for residential electric services is new in the 2020 National Electrical Code (NEC). The addition of specific details for the emergency disconnect sticker label showed up in the 2023 NEC.
Generally speaking, if you currently do not have an outside emergency disconnect switch, you will not likely be required to install one unless you do a complete service change or upgrade. This can be different in your town. It is best to check with the local building department as to what their current code requirements are. Always get a building permit and an inspection when upgrading your electrical service.
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Here is a link to a Siemens catalog of all disconnect switches.