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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Fire Department issues warning of extension cords

1/3/2018 (Permalink)

Extension cords are super handy to have around when you have something that can't reach the wall socket. But, you should be wary of plugging in too many things at once. In fact, this winter fire departments across the country are warning people about the hidden dangers of extension cords.

Power strips and extension cords are words that are often used interchangeably to describe a long electrical cord with multiple plugs, but many people don't realize they are not necessarily the same thing as a surge protectors. Surge protectors will automatically cut off the power when it gets overloaded.

Power strips may have a lot of extra sockets, but that doesn't mean it can actually handle everything you throw at it. There's a limit to how much juice those things can take! If you plug the wrong thing into a power strip, that one mistake can turn very costly - or even worse, it may take a precious life.

When it gets freezing cold outside, the first thing most people do is turn up the heat. But, if you don't have a fireplace or central heating, the next best thing is a space heater. It's compact, portable, and warms up a small room in a minimal amount of time.

But, another thing that it heats up is - you guessed it - extension cords. Even if a space heater is the only thing plugged into the power strip, it can end up making your house much hotter than you originally anticipated.

According to the National Safety Fire Administration, half of all heating home fires occur during December, January, and February. And from 2009 to 2013, heating equipment accounted for 56,000 home fires. Don't become one of those statistics!

If you're thinking of getting a space heater this winter, make sure it's been third-party tested by an independent lab, like UL. If you don't see a UL rating on the box, skip it.

Don't forget to make sure your smoke detector is working, and regularly check your space heater's cords to make sure it's not frayed or damaged. This way, you'll keep both toasty warm and safe this winter.

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