As summer gives way to fall, the State Fire Marshal’s office would like to remind everyone about extension cord safety. Extension cords are designed to be a temporary solution to a problem, not a permanent installation. Most are designed for interior use only.
If you must use an extension cord make sure it is rated for the item being plugged in. Many are not rated or designed to be used with every appliance. Only a specially designed extension cord, for example, will ensure a microwave or refrigerator operates safely.
A large number of extension cords are designed for light duty use. This means they are designed for a single item to be plugged in, like a lamp or your cell phone charger. When you need to plug in more than one item you should consider using a UL-approved power strip instead.
Use the shortest extension cord possible to satisfy the need. Do not use a one hundred foot (100’) cord when all you really need is a ten foot (10’) cord.
If you are using an extension cord to power decorations outside make sure the cord is designed to be used outside in the weather. Make sure it is rated for whatever you will be plugging into it. Be certain you place the extension cord so no one will be walking on it and it is not a trip hazard for anyone walking past.
NEVER use an extension cord that has wires exposed from the inside of the cord.
Always make sure all the prongs are present and in good shape when using an extension cord.
Never place an extension cord under a rug or mat as this will cause excessive wear on the insulation around the wires.
Never place an extension cord so a door closes against it as this can also cause excessive wear to the insulation.
Also remember, extension cords are not approved to be used in child care facilities inspected by the State Fire Marshal’s office.