Surge Protector, Extension Cord and Electric Appliance Use 

Every year, thousands of fires result from surge protectors, power strips, extension cords, and electrical cording. Listed below are some related tips for safety.

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Extension cords and portable power strips are for temporary use only and are not to be used as permanent wiring or outlets. If additional outlets are needed they are to be installed. Call the OFS Work Desk (646-7114) to get an installation estimate.

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Retail surge protectors are designed for only light loads such as computers, printers, and low amperage equipment. They are not to be used for fans, heaters, coffeemakers, and equipment with similar loads.

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Use only surge protectors that have an internal circuit breaker. With these the breaker will trip to prevent fire, if over-loaded or shorted.

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All units should be UL (Underwriters Laboratory) or Electrical Testing Laboratories approved.

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If the unit or its wiring becomes hot to the touch, immediately remove the unit. The electrical load and the unit need to be checked for overloading.

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Surge protectors are not suitable for or to be used in moist areas.

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Each surge protector is to be plugged into a outlet and not “daisy-chained or piggy-backed.” This is where a unit is plugged into another surge protector or portable power strip. This practice causes overloading.

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Do not locate a surge protector or power strip where the unit would be covered with carpet, furniture or any other item that will limit or prevent air circulation.

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Check all surge protectors on a regular basis to ensure that they are not damaged and fully engaged in the outlets.

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Never use a three to two prong adapter to power a surge protector or power strip. It should always have a three-prong grounded plug.

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All appliances and electric outlet near water should be protected by GFCI units.

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Space heaters are to be kept away from any combustible materials such as paper, clothing, and draperies (always keep unit front & back clear). Don't leave unattended or run on an extension cord.

Product Recalls        

EH&S recently check the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) database and found recall notices for 

bulletover 1000 extension cords and portable powerstrips and 
bulletover 200 surge protector units 

More information on 

Surge Protector & other units

Surge Protector fire

Consumer Product Safety Commission  - database search

Other articles 

State Department - Surge Unit Problems

Fire Hazards of Surge Surpressors, Ronald Standler

Univ. of Washington

Hanford - Lessons learned  

 

Contact Information 
 Environmental Health& Safety: MSC-3578, P.O. Box 30001, Academic Research Bldg. C, Rm. 109
    Street delivery address: NMSU, 1620 Standley Dr., Academic Research Bldg. C, Las Cruces, NM 88003
    Training Office: Academic Research Unit C, rm110 (see map ), 
    Telephone: 575-646-3327; FAX: 575-646-7898. Website - http://safety.nmsu.edu
    Send email to David Shearer, EH&S (click here) with questions or comments about this web site. 
    This page was last updated on 09/22/2014