Extension Cords

Electrical outlets are a premium commodity in facilities that were built before the increased power demands of the modern workplace.  Unfortunately, this causes individuals to improvise "quick fixes", such as using extension cords in place of permanent wiring.  The unsafe conditions that result, are marked by devastating fires costing many lives and millions of dollars in damages.

Extension cords are designed by the manufacturers for temporary service only.  Permanent use is not acceptable.  "Temporary" means seasonal use or short periods of hours to weeks.   Examples of temporary use include holiday decorations, a piece of equipment set up for a week, or using the appliance for a quick task.  An extension cord is considered "in use" if it is plugged in, even though the equipment is not turned on.

With tight budgets and limitations on electrical services to some locations, addressing the electrical needs of the office or work area can be difficult.   The best answers are to locate the appliance near an existing outlet, or have an electrical outlet installed where it is needed.   A single multi-outlet power strip can be used as an alternative to extension cords, even for long time periods.  See the guidelines for multi outlet power strips below.

IF extension cords are used, they are allowed only as a temporary condition.  Before using an extension cord, please review the following guidelines:

Multi-Outlet Power Strips

During recent fire safety inspections, multi-outlet power strips are often found on the floor or unattached to work surfaces, which makes this condition a common problem noted in the inspection reports.  Many multi-outlet power strips have a fragile internal connection that can be damaged by repeated movement or jarring.  Fires have resulted when this connection is damaged, so it is important that the strips be above the floor and mounted to a fixed surface, such as a wall or cabinet.

Multi-outlet power strips are an acceptable substitute for extension cords if they are used sensibly.   The following guidelines will help you make the best and safest choice for your use

Guidelines for the Appropriate Use of Power Strips

Examples of Appropriate Use of Power Strips:
Power Strips May NOT be Used For:
Coffee Pots or mug warmers
Printers & Computer Peripherals Hot pots, crock pots or hot plates
Fax machines
Refrigerators or Freezers
Televisions, VCRs
Microwave, toasters or toaster ovens
Overhead projectors
Electric fans
Portable Heaters
ANY other appliance with a  high current (amperage) draw

Guidelines for the Appropriate Selection of Power Strips

Normally, the outlet strips will come with hardware or heavy duty double faced tape for mounting.