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Extension Cord Safety

Extension cords are a convenient solution for getting power to reach wherever you need it. But when not used properly, extension cords can be extremely dangerous. The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) reports that overheated extension cords are to blame for over 3,300 home fires every year — and the construction industry has the highest rate of fatal electrical injuries. Whether you are at home or on the jobsite, use these tips to ensure you are using your extension cord safely:

• Only use cords that have been approved by an independent testing laboratory and will meet or exceed the power needs of the device being used.
• Inspect the extension cord for damage including cracks, frayed sockets, exposed wires, and loose connections. Never nail or staple extension cords, as this will cause damage to the wires.
• Never use a three-pronged plug extension cord in an outlet with only two slots.
• Do not plug extension cords into one another.
• Never use indoor extension cords outdoors and always keep them clear of snow and water.
• Extension cords are to be used on a temporary basis. Do not overload cords, force plugs into outlets, place extension cords under rugs or blankets, or run extension cords through walls, doorways, floors, or ceilings. Extension cords give off heat, and when the heat is trapped, it could result in a fire hazard.

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