CPSC also estimates that about 3,300 residential fires originate in extension cords each year, killing 50 people and injuring about 270 others. The most frequent causes of such fires are short circuits, overloading, damage, and/or misuse of extension cords.
CPSC has the following recommendations for the purchase and safe use of extension cords:
Use extension cords only when necessary and only on a temporary basis.
Use polarized extension cords with polarized appliances.
Make sure cords do not dangle from the counter or table tops where they can be pulled down or tripped over.
Replace cracked or worn extension cords with new #16 gauge cords that have the listing of a nationally-recognized testing laboratory, safety closures, and other safety features.
With cords lacking safety closures, cover any unused outlets with electrical tape or with plastic caps to prevent the chance of a child making contact with the live circuit.
Insert plugs fully, so that no parts of the prongs are exposed when the extension cord is in use.
Teach children not to play with plugs and outlets.
Use only three-wire extension cords for appliances with three-prong plugs.
Never remove the third (round or U-shaped) prong, which is a safety feature designed to reduce the risk of shock and electrocution.
Don’t use staples or nails to attach extension cords to a baseboard or to another surface. This could damage the cord and present a shock or fire hazard.
Use special, heavy duty extension cords for high wattage appliances such as air conditioners, portable electric heaters, and freezers.
Taking suitable precautions and using common sense when it comes to the use of any electrical item or appliance is the key to the safety of your family and your home.
For more on this or other home care subjects, contact Scott at www.scottsauer.com.