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Don’t plug in your vehicle inside an attached garage: WFPS

Make sure to inspect your extension cords before using them

December 10, 2018

Plugging in your vehicle when it gets cold is routine for Winnipeggers who park outside, but people need to make sure they are doing so safely.

The Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service (WFPS) recommends that you do not plug in your vehicle inside an attached garage.

“It doesn't get cold enough to plug in and unfortunately every winter the WFPS responds to calls for fires originating in the vehicle in an attached garage,” said Gruener.

Gruener said a fire starting in an attached garage often spreads quickly before the occupants of the home are alerted.

Extension cords and block heater cords are easily susceptible to damage which could lead to a fire.

“Check for frays, nicks, if you have run over it before. If you see any damage, you should probably replace the cord,” she said.

Gruener said you should also consider getting a new extension cord if you have accidently driven away with the cord still plugged in.

“What that does is it damages the cord inside and that can lead to a fire,” she said.

Extension Cord Damage

Extension cords can be damaged when a vehicle drives off with it still plugged in. It is important to examine your extension cord before using to see if it has been damaged like this one has. Block heater cords should also be carefully examined. This one has a bent prong. This extension cord is missing part of a prong. This can prevent the cord from working properly. Block heaters are typically located close to the bottom of a vehicle and should be carefully maintained

The block heater cord on many vehicles is also located near the bottom of the vehicle near the engine heat and can take a beating in the elements.

“We have salt and sand on our roads and it can corrode the cords,” said Gruener, adding that can lead to a poor connection which could eventually cause a fire.

She recommends getting your block heater checked annually by a mechanic to ensure it is safe to use.