The end of the year is a great time to reflect on all that we have to be thankful for, especially our loved ones. Keeping family and friends out of harm’s way is important to all of us. As Director of Safety at BEMC, I have a unique perspective on things we can do to minimize risks to ourselves and others.
Most of us are probably planning to decorate with lights for the holiday season. Chances are, you’ll end up using an extension cord to help connect the lights. While they are a convenient way to supply power right where you need it, they can create hazards if not used safely. Each year, there are about 4,000 injuries associated with electric extension cords treated in hospital emergency rooms. Around half of these injuries involve people tripping over them. Roughly 3,300 home fires occur each year due to unsafe or improperly connected extension cords. Here are some tips that can help:
- Extension cords should only be used on a temporary basis.
- Make sure extension cords are properly rated for their intended use, indoor or outdoor, and meet or exceed the power needs of the appliance or device being used.
- Inspect cords for damage before use. Check for cracks or frays in the cord, exposed wires, and loose connections.
- Never use a cord that feels hot or is damaged in any way.
- Do not run extension cords through walls or ceilings. This may cause the cord to overheat, creating a serious fire hazard.
- Do not nail or staple electrical cords to walls or baseboards.
- Make sure that cords are not pinched in doors, windows, or under heavy furniture, which could damage the cord’s insulation.
- Keep extension cords out of high-traffic areas like doorways or walkways where they pose a tripping hazard.
- Insert plugs fully so that no part of the prongs are exposed when the extension cord is in use.
- Ensure that all extension cords are certified by a nationally recognized testing laboratory such as UL, CSA, or ETL, and read the manufacturer’s instructions.
Have a safe and enjoyable holiday season, and best wishes from all of us at your electric cooperative.
Electrical safety tips quiz
Nobody makes electrical safety more of a priority than those who rely upon it every single day. Which is why there’s no better way to ensure you can use electricity safely in your home than by learning about our lineman approved electrical safety tips.