We have seen the use of extension cords in nearly every home and business we have serviced, and often wondered if the hazards were ever considered! We know that an extension cord is an easy fix to bringing power to an item or area, but is “safety first” always considered. Here are some simple, yet important safety concerns to consider when thinking of using an extension cord!
These important safety principles can help keep your home or office safe from electrical hazards:
- Extension cords should only be used on a temporary basis; unplug and safely store them after every use.
- Never use a cord that feels hot or is damaged in any way. Touching even a single exposed strand can give you an electric shock or burn.
- Make sure extension cords are properly rated for their intended use, indoor or outdoor, and meet or exceed the power needs of the appliance or tools being used.
- Do not run extension cords through walls or ceilings. This may cause the cord to overheat, creating a serious fire hazard.
- Keep extension cords out of high traffic areas like doorways or walkways where they pose a tripping hazard.
- Insert plugs fully so that no part of the prongs is exposed when the extension cord is in use.
- Do not nail or staple electrical cords to walls or baseboards.
- If an extension cord is need for a longer period of time, temporary power taps can be used when insufficient electrical receptacles are available. These devices may have 3 to 6 electrical receptacles, a circuit breaker, a 6-foot to 15-foot cord and surge protector, and should bear the mark of a certified testing organization.
- Ensure that all extension cords are certified by a nationally recognized testing laboratory such as UL, CSA or ETL and always read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
Facts and Statistics!!
Extension cords are a leading cause of electrical fires and can cause injury and death if used improperly – according to the CPSC:
- An estimated 3,000 plus residential fires originate from extension cords each year, killing and injuring over 300 people.
- More than half of the injuries involve fractures, lacerations, contusions or sprains caused by people tripping over the cords.
- Continual use can cause the insulation to rapidly deteriorate, creating a dangerous shock and fire hazard.
- A heavy reliance on extension cords is an indication that you have too few outlets to address your electrical needs. Have additional outlets installed by a licensed electrician where you need them!
Understanding extension cords and their use is your best way to stay safe! Jermar Electric will always be available to assist you in finding your remedy to your extension cord dilemma!