Be wary of extension cords: fire chief

Be wary of extension cords: fire chief - A damaged extension cord was responsible for a residential fire on March 25 in Owen Sound.

As a result, the Meaford and District Fire Department is urging all residents and business owners to take action to reduce the risk of fire by ensuring extension cords are in good condition and are used properly.

"Having too few electrical outlets is a common reason why people use extension cords over the long term," said Fire Chief Mike Molloy. "It may be a quick fix but there is an increased risk of fire when extension cords are used in place of permanent wiring," he said.

The Chief said Extension cords are designed for temporary use only and create a fire hazard when used on an ongoing basis.

"Also, if an extension cord is damaged, it dramatically increases the risk of fire," added Chief Molloy.

Extension Cord Safety Tips:

* Before using an extension cord, inspect it for damage to the cord and plug ends.

* Only use cords that are in good repair and discard extension cords that are damaged.

* Extension cords are for temporary use only which means they are not designed to stay plugged in for long periods of time. Have a licensed electrician install additional electrical outlets where needed.

* De-energize when not in use.  Play it safe and always unplug extension cords from the outlet.

* Avoid mechanical damage. Do not run extension cords under rugs or carpets, through windows or doors or against furniture where they can become pinched.  Keep extension cords away from sharp objects to prevent cuts to the protective sheathing.

* Purchase extension cords and other electrical devices from a reputable retailer. Check to make sure it is ULC or CSA approved for use in Canada.

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