Fire caused by electric extension cord can be extremely dangerous, resulting in severe burns. Mouth burns and electrocution are common occurrences when pets and children chew through an extension cord. In fact, exposure to electricity often results in thousands of injuries and hundreds of deaths every year in the U.S.
In addition to electric cords used to plug in computers, television sets, and other appliances around the house, decorations and Christmas lights often cause electrical fires every year. Many times, holiday outdoor lights place an overload on the home’s electrical system where adequately rated wiring was never installed to accommodate a massive amount of outdoor lights. Overloaded inadequate wiring often creates electrical home fires.
Every outlet in the house is designed to transfer a limited amount of electricity. Using extension cords and outlet extenders with multiple plugs can create an unsafe level of current. However, there are effective steps to maintain the safety levels around the house that include:
- Always use a surge protector
- Learn the electrical load limit on every outlet
- Unwrap or uncoil every electric cord in use to minimize the buildup of heat when power surges through it
- Move every electrical cord away from all heat sources
- Take necessary steps to ensure that every electric cord has open air to minimize the potential of overheating
- Check temperatures on plugs, cords and outlets
- Never use a damaged or frayed extension cord
- Never position an extension cord under furniture or between a window and sill
- Never relocate an extension cord under tape, rugs and/or carpeting
- Never ignore a sizzling, cracking or buzzing sound emanating from an extension cord or electrical outlet
- Never utilize extension cords behind entertainment centers and television sets because they often produce excessive heat when in use
Signs of an Electrical Fire
There are often significant warning signs of fire caused by electric extension cord. These signs include a warm plug or cord creating heat by pulling too much power. Outlets will often buzz when pulling too much electricity to power appliances, computers, electronic components, lights and other electrical fixtures. Any electrical spark when plugging in a device, component, appliance or light system is usually an indicator of a problem with the outlet that could cause an electrical fire.
Prevent an Electrical Fire
The following tips for providing electrical safety by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) can prevent an electrical fire. These tips include:
Always use a qualified licensed electrician for any type of electrical work, replacement, repair or new installation
- Avoid plugging more than a single heat producing component, device, appliance or light into a receptacle outlet
- All major appliances should be plugged directly into the wall without using an extension cord
- GFCIs (ground fault circuit interrupters) should be installed in every area of the home around water including outdoor areas, laundry rooms, bathrooms and kitchens
- Consider installing AFCIs (arc-fault circuit interrupter) for additional protection on every outlet
- Test every GFCI and AFCI every month to ensure proper functioning
- Extension cord should be used for only temporary solutions. All appliances, components and electrical fixtures requiring permanent use should have its own receptacle installed by a licensed electrician
Anytime a tingling feeling is experienced when touching appliances or other electrical device, immediate attention by a licensed electrician is required. Outlets that are discolored or warm, or breakers that continually trip (fuses that continually blow) also require an experienced electrician to perform a repair. Flickering, dimming lights and sparks emitting from an outlet should also be inspected immediately by a trained electrician.
Extra safety precautions when using electricity around children should be implemented. This is because children can easily get shocked when sucking or chewing on an extension cord or electrical outlet. Consider covering all unused outlets with safety plugs designed to prevent toddlers and young children from inserting an object or fingers into the open holes of the outlet. Additionally, tamper resistant outlets are available, designed to protect young children from potential injury.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers at (888) 424-5757 remain committed to safety around the home and worksite. The loss of life, serious injury and property damage caused by a home electrical fire can be avoided if obvious warning signs are recognized. When households remain attentive to using the best practices and methods, electrical safety can be easily maintained around the home.