Firefighters warn about extension cord fire dangers - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Firefighters warn about extension cord fire dangers

ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Albany Firefighters are concerned they'll see a lot of house fires sparked by extension cords.

Firefighters say many families will use extension cords with space heaters for warmth and to power Christmas lights.

Today they demonstrated how dangerous that can be. You probably never think about extension cords, but firefighters say this time of the year more people start to use them.   And these become one of the biggest fire dangers in your home.

Assistant Fire Chief Allen Cravey uses an infrared camera to show the difference in extension cords that you need to know. The camera shows heat, and you can clearly see the small, thin extension cord powering a space heater is glowing white as it overloads and heats up.

Cravey said "In this case we had it plugged in for about 15 minutes, and in that 15 minutes time the temperature in the cord went up about 27 degrees."

In the last week and a half two Albany homes have burned, sparked by extension cords.

Cravey said "This time of the year our number of calls go up tremendously because of shorted electrical cords being overloaded."

With more South Georgians using space heaters and Christmas lights in the coming months, most folks will use extension cords to power them. Firefighters urge you to not use them if you don't have to.

Cravey said "If you do have to use an extension cord, we advise you to get the heaviest one that you can that is U. L. approved. And also use the shortest one that you can use. The longer the cord is , the more resistance, or the more heat it will build up."

Also don't use an extension cord coiled up, or run it under carpet or furniture. That just makes the heat build up even more dangerous.

If you have to use one, this is the kind of extension cord that firefighters say you should use. It has an automatic power shutoff in case it overloads. It's short, and it uses a heavy gauge wire.

Firefighters say that most people don't know that extension cords are meant for temporary use. They urge you to plug space heaters directly into your wall receptible, using the factory installed cord.

Copyright 2012 WALB.  All rights reserved. 

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