to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the National
Electrical Safety Foundation, every year incidents involving electrical
equipment, such as extension cords, receptacles, and light bulbs,
result in more than 41,000 residential fires that claim about
350 lives and cause over 1,400 injuries. These fires also cause
more than $620 million in property damage annually.
run an extension cord under a rug.
not consider extension cords part of your home's electrical
system—use them only for temporary situations.
frayed or cracked cord could cause a shock or fire. Replace
old and damaged extension cords.
sure the cords you buy are approved by an independent testing
overload an extension cord; that could cause a fire. Check the
rating labels on the cords and the appliance. If necessary,
upgrade to a higher-rated cord.
Consumer Product Safety Commission
are inexpensive. Replace any that are broken, no longer hold
a plug securely, feel hot to the touch, or spark or make noise
when inserting or removing a plug.
broken faceplates so you don't accidentally touch a plug to
a live portion of the receptacle.
alter a polarized plug to make it fit into an old unpolarized
you must use a grounding adapter, first verify that the receptacle
is grounded (use a neon tester, the simple directions are on
the package), then be sure to secure the tab on the adapter
under the coverplate screw.
not use a multi-plug adapter for extended periods of time. If
you need more receptacles, add a new receptacle (and circuit,
replacing a receptacle, make sure the new one is properly rated—never
install a 20-amp receptacle on a 15-amp circuit.
install a three-slot receptacle where there is no ground available,
unless it is a GFCI receptacle. While it would be better
to run a ground wire and install a properly grounded receptacle
if there is a need for one, the next best thing is to install
a GFCI. While it won't be grounded, it will provide some degree
of shock protection.
lockout receptacles or childproof plugs if young children will