Extension Cord Hazards

Published by The Bee News

March 23, 2020

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On Sunday, March 22, at approximately 8:03 pm, the Bullhead City Fire Department responded to the 1700 block of Cornell Dr. for the report of a structure fire. Engine711 arrived first on the scene, reporting a single wide mobile home with light smoke coming from the side of the structure. Crews quickly surveyed the property and confirmed that all occupants had evacuated. Firefighters were able to quickly locate and knock down the blaze keeping it contained to a small, attached add-on room. Once the fire was extinguished, crews utilized the TIC (Thermal Imaging Camera) checking for any hotspots while completing the overhaul process. There were no injuries reported during the incident. However, Battalion Chief Flummer advised, three adults and one child were displaced due to the home being inhabitable. Although the cause of the fire remains under investigation, it appears that a faulty power cord possibly caused the fire to start.

We would like to remind the public about the hidden dangers of extension cords. They are not made for permanent use. Extension cords should never be run through walls, doorways, ceiling, or floors. Never use a cord that feels hot or that are damaged in any way and never use an extension cord to power household appliances.

Extension cords safety:

Purchase only cords that have been approved by an independent testing laboratory.

  • For outdoor projects, use only extension cords marked for outdoor use.
  • Read the instructions (if available) for information about the cord’s correct use and the amount of power it draws.
  • Select cords that are rated to handle the wattage of the devices with which they’ll be used. A cord’s gauge indicates its size: The smaller the number, the larger the wire, and the more electrical current the cord can safely handle.
  • Also, consider the length you’ll need. Longer cords can’t handle as much current as shorter cords of the same gauge.
  • Choose cords with polarized or three-prong plugs.
  • For use with larger appliances, thick, round, low-gauge extension cords are best. For smaller appliances and electronics, you can use thin or flat cords.

Using extension cords

  • Never remove an extension cord’s grounding pin to fit it into a two-prong outlet.
  • Avoid powering multiple appliances with one cord.
  • Never use indoor extension cords outdoors.
  • Don’t plug multiple cords together.
  • Don’t run extension cords under rugs or furniture.
  • Never tape extension cords to floors or attach them to surfaces with staples or nails.
  • Don’t bend or coil cords when they’re in use.
  • Cover unused cord receptacles with childproof covers.
  • Stop using extension cords that feel hot to the touch.

Caring for extension cords

  • Always store cords indoors.
  • Unplug extension cords when they’re not in use.
  • Throw away damaged cords.
  • Pull the plug — not the cord — when disconnecting from the outlet.

And, always make sure your smoke alarms are properly working if you need assistance or have questions regarding your smoke alarms. Please contact our Community Risk Reduction Division at 928-758-3971.

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