Fire Department Issues Warning about Surge Protectors after Catching Fire in Own Station


With the majority of the contiguous United States enduring one of the coldest snow and ice storms on record, many people unaccustomed to chilly winters are bundling up, turning up the thermostat and cranking up the electric space heaters.

Unlike people who regularly endure bitterly cold winters, these people are less likely to have internalized good fire safety practices.

In fact, when you’re so cold, you may even start to think the chance of fire as a welcome change in temperature!

All joking aside, the National Fire Protection Association recorded 56,000 house fires between 2009-2013. In response to a recent fire in one of their stations, the Umatilla County Fire District issued an urgent warning about surge protectors and fire safety.

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Along with a picture of a partially melted power strip, the fire district urges everyone not to plug space heaters into surge protectors or power strips.

They insist that these adapters that provide power for basic household needs are not equipped for the high amount of power needed by electric heaters.

The post goes on to link to the National Fire Protection Agency’s page where helpful tips can be found.

The fire district encourages everyone to share the page and be safe during this cold season.

While space heaters are an easy culprit, overloading your power strip is as easy as not recognizing the voltage of the appliances plugged into the strip compared with the maximum amount of voltage the power adaptor can handle. How often do you even consider what and how much is plugged into your average home power strip?

“Even the firefighters need a lesson,” the caption explained. Apparently, the photographed power strip was the result of improper use within the fire station.

“Do as I say, not as I do,” is a bit of a snarky idiom that sheds light on the human propensity to give better advice than we live or take to heart.

Yet when it comes to fire safety, we’d all be better off making safer habits.

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In a time where virtually everything is electric and rechargeable, it’s easy to rely on power strips to fulfill the electricity needs of a particular area of a home. For most intermittent low-voltage appliances, this practice is perfectly safe.

Still, everything can go up in a puff of smoke, taking the time to read the directions on both your electrical adapters and your appliances is a small price to pay for security.

Additionally, like most things, surge protectors and power strips don’t last indefinitely and should be changed out periodically.

In the cold months, I rely on a space heater powered by a strip. I’ll be looking for a suitable direct-to-wall alternative before I head to bed tonight.

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