The Danger of Daisy Chaining

Avoiding Electrical Fires this Season

The Holidays are upon us and with the added lights and decorations there is often a shortage of available outlets.   While it can be tempting and seem convenient, daisy chaining is a dangerous option that can lead to shock or fire.

Daisy chained power strips after a fire.What is daisy chaining?
Daisy chaining is the connection of 2 or more extension cords, power strips or combination, to gain additional outlets and /or length.

Why it is dangerous:
Extension cords are one of the top electrical fire causes and according to the CPSC, an estimated 3,300 residential fires originate from extension cords each year, killing and injuring over 300 people.

The Office of Compliance reports that daisy chaining is one of the most common violations found during safety inspections.   The danger comes from improper use, overloading and short circuiting which can result in fire.  Often the load of the devices is much greater than what the power strip or outlet can support.

Following these Safety Practices can reduce the risk for electrical fire in your home or office:

  • Extension cords are meant for temporary use only, if a there is a permanent need, have additional outlets installed by a licensed electrician.
  • Only use surge protectors that have circuit breakers or power strips with built in overload protection.  Power strips without internal fuses are the equivalent of a regular extension cord.
  • Check power strips and extension cords for nationally recognized testing lab certification and make sure the rating is for the same or higher number of watts used.
  • Do not place against furniture, in hallways or under carpets.
  • Do not plug more than one power strip or surge protector into the same outlet.
  • Only use extension cords marked for ‘Outdoor Use’ outdoors and keep clear of standing water.
Power strip fire x-ray

An x-ray can tell fire investigators where the fire began.

The holiday season is also peak season for home fires.  For more tips on how to keep your home and office safe visit the National Fire Protection Association Website.

National Fire Protection Association – Top Causes of Electrical Fires
Office of Compliance – Fast Facts; Power Strips
Electrical Safety Foundation International -  Power Strip and Surge Protector Safety Tips
This entry was posted in December 2011, Fire Safety Tips and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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