Fire Damage from Power cords
Power cords on electrical appliances that are moved frequently receive a lot of abuse. These include vacuum cleaners, floor polishers, power tools and other portable appliances. Often, the damage occurs at the plug (i.e., a missing ground prong on a three pronged grounded plug).
Damaged and ungrounded power cords pose serious hazards to users of the appliance including electrical shock and risk of fire. Missing ground prongs on power cord plugs usually result from users pulling on the cord to remove the plug from the outlet instead of handling the plug directly.
In some cases, the plug may be pulled from the wire covering, exposing the inner wires to damage. Power cords can become frayed or damaged from heavy use, age, or excessive current flow through the wiring.
When a power cord is damaged, the appliance should be removed from service and the cord replaced as soon as possible to reduce the risk of electrical shock, electrocution or fire. Cord damage can also result when the cord is pinched, caught between or punctured by heavy objects such as legs on a desk. This damage could lead to a short circuit and result in a fire. Also, cords placed under stress, such as when a heavy appliance is hung by its cord, could eventually cause damage to the cord or plug.
For greater detail on power cords, please see www.compliance.gov.