The Town of Sahuarita has adopted the 2005 National Electrical Code (NEC) which establishes the requirements for the type and recommended usage of extension cords.
Extension cords should only be used as a temporary source of power and not as a substitute for permanent household wiring. Extension cords are not considered to be wiring methods and all cords should be listed and approved by an independent testing agency such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL) or Intertek (ETL).
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates an average of 4,000 injuries per year associated with extension cords. Nearly fifty percent of these injuries involve fractures, lacerations, contusions or sprains caused by tripping over an extension cord. Thirteen percent involve children under the age of five. Electrical burns to the mouth account for about half of the injuries to young children. An estimated 3,300 residential fires originate from extension cords each year, killing and injuring more than 300 people. Seventy-eight percent of Americans use extension cords as a permanent power supply.
Tips for using extension cords safely are listed below.
- Inspect cords before each use.
- Check the wattage rating of the appliance or fixtures that the cord will be used with to be sure that the cord rating is sufficient for its use.
- Make sure that all extension cords are three pronged (grounded).
- When using extension cords intended for indoor use that are not three pronged (grounded), make sure they are polarized (one blade is wider than the other) and insert correctly.
- Make sure the cord is fully inserted into the receptacle outlet and if it feels loose the receptacle may need to be replaced.
- Keep cords away from water and use Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI) in damp and wet locations. Most new houses have code mandated GFCI receptacles installed at all outdoor locations. GFCI protected extension cords are available at most hardware stores.
- Keep cords away from children and animals.
- Unplug extension cords when not in use.
- Keep some slack in the cord when in use to avoid strain on plug end.
- Use heavy duty extension cords for air conditioners, space heaters and freezers.
- Use extension cords designed for indoor use outdoors.
- Plug one extension cord into another.
- Overload the cords with more than the proper load.
- Bend or modify any prongs at the end of the cord and never cut off the grounding pin.
- Force a plug into a receptacle outlet.
- Use an extension cord in wet locations.
- Drive over an extension cord.
- Attach to walls with nails or staples.
- Run under rugs, carpets or in high traffic areas.
- Use more than three sets of holiday lights on one extension cord.