Journal News: Beware Of Dangerous Extension Cords


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ec.jpgA spike in electrical fires in the Rockland County region has fire and government officials alarmed, and prompted one Rockland County legislator to call for an investigation into the sale of hazardous “knock-off” extension cords – the Journal News reports.

There are many reasons for this experts say. One reason for example is that people may be using alternate heat sources such as space heaters and electric blankets. These types of things can strain a home’s electrical system and spark a fire.

Wren said a recent blaze at Building C of the Rockland County Health Complex started inside a wall, possibly from an outlet box that may have come loose after repeated use for a vacuum cleaner.

“You know how people just yank out the cords,” he said. “After a while, the constant yanking can loosen the boxes and wires.”

One disturbing development is the emergence of counterfeit extension cords, with fake UL safety labels, being sold in Rockland “dollar stores.”

The knock-offs, made in China, are cheaper than Underwriters Laboratories-approved cords and use thin copper wiring that cannot bear levels of electricity needed for things such as tree lights or space heaters.

Legitimate UL labels feature a silver hologram with codes and a white caution label.

Purchasing one of these knock-off cords is “like plugging in a ticking time bomb in your home”, Rockland County Legislator Ed Day told the Journal News. “Folks need to know that these alleged bargain items are a clear and present danger to their homes and families.”

(Source: Journal News)


  1. Every extention cord cord should have writing on it along it’s whole length. Somewhere it will say AWG and a number. Do not use any cord less than AWG 16. AWG 16 may be used for lights. For heaters YOU SHOULD NOT USE ANY EXTENTION CORD. For other heavy duty appliance or A/C use only a AWG 14 or AWG 12 (The smaller the gage the thicker the wire.) A cord should never be warm or hot. If it is you’re using too thin or too long an extention wrong cord. The one exception is heater cord may get a little warm, but never hot. If the cord is hot unplug it and replace it with a hevier gage cord. Do not be fooled by thick extention cords that have thin wire and a thick plastick jacket. Plastic is cheaper than copper. It the wire gage that counts.

  2. And NEVER use one of those things that allow you to plug a 3 pin plug into a two prong outlet. They should be made illegal. If the plug does not fit, then the outlet is not designed to carry that load.

    Don’t mess with electricity, it’s a lot smarter than you.

  3. daxy,
    If you appliance draws enough electricity to require a grounding plug and your outlet is designed for use with out one, your asking for trouble.

    Don’t mess with electricity, it’s smarter than you.