The holiday season is approaching and one of the most used items is up for debate, the famous extension cord. Homeowners throughout the United States use extension cords on a regular basis in their homes. They often use it to plug in lamps and other devices. Unfortunately, if extension cords are overloaded and not used properly they can become a fire hazard. Extension cords should not be used on a permanent basis, especially not for large devices like refrigerators and other appliances. If you do use an extension cord, consider the following safety tips.
• Make Your Purchase Wisely – Purchase extension cords from a reputable store and comes with a label stating it has been approved for use. • Indoor or Outdoor Use – There are extension cords that are for outdoor and indoor use only. Make sure you are using the right cord in the specific area it is designed for. • Don’t Make Changes – Never make changes to the cord to force it to fit into a two-prong outlet. Some people attempt to remove the grounding pin which is dangerous and can cause injury. • Don’t Link Cords Together – A benefit that extension cords provide is the ability to link them together and make an extension as long as you need it to be. This is not recommended and is a fire hazard. • Avoid Running Cords Under Rugs – During power surges, extension cords are prone to sparking. This means a simple power surge due to a thunderstorm can cause a house fire. Trapping extension cords under a rug or furniture allow the spark to start a fire easily. • Use Child Safety Covers – Use a child safety cover in the outlets that aren’t being used at the time. Extension cords usually are placed on the floor where children have easy access to them. Never leave a child unattended near an extension cord. They could pull it and cause things to fall on top of them or stick their fingers in the extension cord outlets or lick them. Extension cords are meant for temporary use and should be unplugged when not in use. Keep children away from cords to prevent serious injury. If you plan to use an extension cord long term, it is recommended you invest in an affordable power strip instead. A power strip is a safer option that offers a power “on” and “off” switch. Keep your home safe by following the safety tips listed above.