Guidelines For The Use of Space Heaters, Power Strips, Surge Protectors and Extension Cords
The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center Emergency Management and Safety recognizes that individuals have different levels of comfort associated with temperature and heat. The use of electric space heaters as a temporary measure is permitted, if the following guidelines are followed:
- Only space heaters meeting the specifications listed under "SPECIFICATIONS" below are allowed.
- Space heaters must be kept at least three (3) feet away from any combustible material.
- Space heaters must always be turned off and unplugged when the area being heated is not occupied.
- Nothing should ever be placed on top of or touching a space heater.
- If used, space heaters should always be plugged into a wall receptacle.
- If used, space heaters should be located in plain sight and clearly visible.
- Hot plates and toaster ovens should never be used for space heating.
- Site Support Control (271-2121) should be contacted, if it is felt there is inadequate heat in any work area.
- Never plug space heaters into dedicated data receptacles.
- The OU HSC Police Department, Environmental Health and Safety Office, and Site Support reserve the right to inspect and declare "unapproved" any space heater that creates a hazard or is inappropriate to a particular location based on specific circumstances, codes, and/or legal requirements.
Space Heater Specifications
- Space heaters must be electrically powered. Fuel powered such as PROPANE and KEROSENE space heaters are not permitted. Space heaters must not take more than 110 volts of electricity to operate.
- Space heaters must have a tip-over shutdown feature. If a space heater is knocked over, the unit must automatically shut off.
- Any space heater used must be UL (Underwriters Laboratory), or FM (Factory Mutual) approved, and must be labeled accordingly.
- Space heaters must have a thermostat that shuts unit off when a certain temperature is reached.
- Approved space heaters must be fan driven. Space heaters with heated coils are not permitted.
Guidelines For Power Strip and Surge Protectors
- Use only power strips and surge protectors that have a built-in breaker. These units should trip the break, if the strip is overloaded, or if there is a surge in electricity. If this occurs, Site Support (271-2121) should be notified.
- Do not plug another power strip or surge protector into an existing power strip or surge protector. This practice is called "piggybacking".
- Power strips and surge protectors must be UL (underwriters Laboratory) or FM (Factory Mutual) approved.
- There should not be more than one power strip or surge protector plugged into a dual electrical outlet.
- UL approved power strips or surge protectors can be purchased at most hardware stores, and several University approved vendors.
- Replace power strips and surge protectors that do not have a built-in breaker: if there are any frayed wires, or if the unit is not working properly.
Guidelines For The Use of Extension Cords
- The use of extension cords is discouraged, and they should only be used temporarily.
- Extension cords should be no longer than six (6) feet in length for interior use and no longer than one-hundred (100) feet in length for exterior use.
- Extension cords should be used in their correct designated environment. Interior designated extension cords should be used inside, and exterior designated extension cords, outside.
- Only UL (Underwriters Laboratory) type 12/3 heavy duty extension cords should be used.
- Extension cords should not be plugged together to make a longer than authorized cord.
- If there is a problem with accessibility to electricity, or electrical outlets, please contact Site Support (271-2121).
- The use of multi-plug electrical outlet adapters to obtain more outlets is not permitted.
- Replace worn or frayed extension cords, and discard them. DO NOT run extension cords under carpets.
- Whenever possible, unplug extension cords when they are not in use.
The OU HSC Police Department, Environmental Health and Safety Office, and Site Support reserve the right to inspect any surge protector, power strip, or extension cord that creates a hazard or is inappropriate to a particular location based on specific circumstances, code, or legal requirement. Anyone with questions, or desiring clarification concerning these guidelines should contact the Emergency Management and Safety Office at 271-4300.