According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) every year in the U.S., about 4,000 injuries associated with electric extension cords are treated in hospital emergency rooms. Half of these injuries involve injuries from people tripping over extension cords. In addition, approximately 3,300 home fires are started by extension cords each year, killing 50 people and injuring roughly 270 more. How can you reduce the risks associated with electrical cords and keep you and your family safe? Here are some tips from the ESFI:
Never overload extension cords or allow them to run through water or snow on the ground.
An extension cords should not be used for permanent wiring.
Do not run cords through walls, doorways, ceilings or floors. If cord is covered, it may result in a fire hazard.
Do not use an extension cord for more than one appliance.
Multiple plug outlets must be plugged directly into mounted electrical receptacles; they cannot be chained together.
Make sure the extension cord or temporary power strip you use is rated for the products to be plugged in, and is marked for either indoor or outdoor use.
The appliance or tool that you are using the cord with will have a wattage rating on it. Match this up with your extension cord, and do not use a cord that has a lower rating.
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.
Never use three-prong plugs with outlets that only have two slots for the plug. Do not cut off the ground pin to force a fit. This defeats the purpose of a three-prong plug and could lead to an electrical shock.
Use extension cords with polarized and/or three-prong plugs.
Buy only cords approved by an independent testing laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL) or ETL-SEMKO (ETL).
Remember, over reliance on extension cords is an indication that you have too few outlets to meet your needs. Call Maitz Home Services to have additional outlets installed.