SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Sioux Falls Fire Rescue is reminding people to use extension cords properly. The National Fire Protection Association says around 3,300 house fires a year can be traced back to extension cords. Sioux Falls Fire Inspector Steve Alberico says a space heater should never be plugged in with an extension cord or power strip. The same goes for any appliance that draws a lot of electricity.

“We recommend that all appliances be plugged directly into the wall, the wall outlet, and not through an adapter, or a power strip or something like that or even an extension cord,” said Alberico.

Fires originating in extension cords kill or injure about 300 people a year. Many times, those cords are old or damaged in spots, which causes higher resistance.

“The higher resistance is going to cause higher heat in that spot and it could cause whatever is covering it to reach its ignition point,” said Alberico.

He also reminds people to be on the lookout for old and worn-out electrical outlets.

“What people don’t realize is that after a while plugging things in and pulling things out and plugging things in, you can get a parting arc in that outlet over time as it wears out so if they see any type of soot or damage around the face of that outlet they should have a license electrician change it out,” said Alberico.

Extension cords are intended for temporary use and should not be used on an everyday basis. Electricity and extension cords are convenient and make our lives easier, but these handy helpers should always be used with caution.