Sunday, March 31, 2019

Extension Cord Safety

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Extension cords are a convenient way to bring temporary power to electrical devices. Used without proper caution, they can become a fire hazard and pose a serious risk to your personal safety. A heavy reliance on extension cords is an indication that you have too few outlets to address your needs. Some important tips from Montgomery County Fire & Rescue: 

Selecting extension cords

  • Purchase only cords that have been approved by an independent testing laboratory.
  • For outdoor projects, use only extension cords marked for outdoor use.
  • Read the instructions for information about the cord’s correct use and the amount of power it draws when running.
  • Select cords that are rated to handle the wattage of the devices with which they’ll be used. 

Using extension cords

  • Do NOT run extension cords through walls, doorways, ceilings, or floors. If a cord is covered, heat cannot escape, which may result in a fire hazard.
  • Do NOT overload extension cords.
  • Never remove an extension cord’s grounding pin in order to fit it into a two-prong outlet.
  • Never use extension cords to power appliances. Plug appliances directly into wall outlets. 
  • Never use indoor extension cords outdoors.
  • Don't attempt to plug multiple extension cords together.
  • Don't run extension cords under rugs or furniture.
  • Never tape extension cords to floors or attach them to surfaces with staples or nails.
  • Don’t bend or coil cords when they’re in use.
  • Immediately stop using extension cords that feel hot to the touch or show signs of deterioration.

Caring for extension cords

  • Always store cords indoors.
  • Unplug extension cords when they’re not in use.
  • Throw away damaged cords.
  • Pull the plug—not the cord—when disconnecting from the outlet.
  • Consider covering unused cord receptacles with childproof covers.
Remember: extension cords are intended as temporary wiring solutions. If you find you’re using them on a permanent basis, consider updating your home’s electrical system.

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