How to Prevent Electrical Fire: Extension Cord Safety

Hazards can occur from how you use an extension cord. Are extension cords dangerous? Like most things in life, the answer to the question depends on whether you use the extension cord properly or not.  The biggest hazard from extension cords is trips and falls.  But more often, electrical fires tend to happen. One of the common mistakes we make when using an extension cord which can lead to a fire is overloading an extension cord. Just because an extension cord or power strip has a bunch of extra sockets, necessarily does not mean it can handle the extra load.  Extensions cords are meant for temporary use. They are not meant to replace the permanent wiring. Frayed or damaged extension cords can also cause an electrical fire.  Anytime there is a breach of insulation in the cord, it creates a point for current to travel out.  And when current travels from the cord to anyone who touches it, they are chances of one being electrocuted. If extension cords are used improperly, they  tend to overheat. It is important to be a little be more cautious when using electrical appliances. Below are some tips to guide you on how to prevent fire while using an extension cord:



  • Don’t plug extension cords together. Instead, use one long enough for your purpose. Make sure extensions cords are properly rated for their intended use, indoor or outdoor and meet the power needs of the device being used.
  • Don’t use an extension cord to plug in a power strip. Instead, buy a strip with a longer cord.
  • Don’t use an adapter to get an extension cord with a three-prong plug into a two-prong outlet.
  • Never overload extension cords with many appliances or appliances with too much wattage.
  • Do not use staples or nails to attach cords to a wall. They could puncture the insulation and create a shock or fire hazard.
  • Do not put cords behind furniture or small spaces. Over time this could lead to a breakdown of the cord’s insulation. Avoid cramming too many cords together, keep them loose.
  • Do not leave cords dangling anywhere where one can trip over them.
  • Regularly check cords for damage, and replace the old worn-out cords. Before use look for cracked or frayed wires and loose connections.
  • Don’t substitute extension cords for permanent wiring- they are merely temporary.
  • Do not run extension cords, through walls, doorways, ceilings, or floors because covered cords don’t allow heat to escape thus, increases the fire risk.

Rejoice Obike

Obike Rejoice Chinecherem is an ardent reader who loves African literature. She is creative in writing, her write-ups are all about her everyday experiences, women, and society. She loves chocolates, and in her copious time enjoys reviewing artworks and talking about feminism.

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