Plug in to Extension Cord Safety

Before you use just any extension cord or power strip, make sure it is the right type for the situation.  Thousands of electrical fires each year are caused by extension cords or power strips that were not rated for the circumstances in which they were used, according to the Electrical Safety Foundation International.


Among ESFI's electric cord safety tips:

  • Never overload an extension cord.  If any part of the cord feels warm to the touch, the cord is drawing too much power and could present a fire or shock hazard.
  • Never plug an extension cord or power strip into another extension cord or power strip.
  • Never cut off the ground pin to connect a 3-prong appliance cord to a 2-wire extension cord or receptacle.  Always use a Underwriters Laborties (UL), Canadian Standards Association (CSA) or ETL Testing Laboratories (ETL) listed adapter for this purpose.
  • Always plug an appliance into the extension cord first before plugging the extension cord into a wall receptacle.  Make sure the appliance is turned off before plugging it in.
  • Never cover an extension cord or power strip with rugs, carpet, furniture, or other items.
  • Run extension cords where people and pets will not become entangle or risk tripping.  If you must run a cord where someone may walk, secure it to the floor using duct tape to reduce a trip hazard.

Source: PPL Electric Utilities Connect newsletter, December 2011.