Electrical extension cords can pose the threat of fire due to misuse or improper application to a particular situation. Building and business owners are charged with the responsibility of providing adequate fixed wiring outlets for the particular needs of the occupants within a building. Certain situations may exist that warrant the use of extension cords in lieu of permanent wiring. In those cases, the following policy shall be adhered to.
California Fire Code Article 85, Section 8506 states that extension cords shall not be used as a substitute for permanent wiring.
C.F.C. Section 8506.3 states that when extension cords are allowed to be used, they shall not be affixed to structures, extend through walls, ceilings, floors, under doors or floor coverings, or be subject to environmental damage or physical damage.
APPROVED EXTENSION CORDS
When in the opinion of the inspector a situation warrants the use of an extension cord, one may be used if it meets certain minimum design standards. Examples of allowable uses include the temporary use of portable equipment, temporary special decorations, and situations where a definite need exists for an extension cord and fixed wiring cannot reasonably be installed.
Approved extension cords are those which are at least one size larger gauge wire than the appliance cord that it serves. Cords must be U.L. listed with a single male and single female connection (no multiple head type cords). Cords are limited to a maximum of ten feet in length and must be of the grounded type. They must be maintained in good condition without splices, deterioration, or damage.
APPROVED MULTIPLE PLUG BARS
When in the opinion of the inspector a situation warrants the use of a multiple plug bar ("power taps"), one may be used if it meets certain minimum design standards. The device must be U.L. listed and have a 15 amp. internal breaker. Replaceable fusible links (fuses) are not approved. Flexible cord length must not exceed ten feet. The device must be of the polarized or grounded type. All other requirements specified above for an extension cord apply to approved multiple plug bars. A permit shall not be required for approved multiple plug bars.
Revised and approved by Fire Captain Tim Walton, July 10, 2001