Use care when plugging in car, says fire official

The Saskatoon Fire Department is advising motorists to use caution when plugging in their cars during extreme cold temperatures.

“When looking to plug your vehicle in this winter, ensure you are keeping yourself, your family, and your community safe by giving proper consideration to your process.,” said Saskatoon Assistant Fire Chief Wayne Rodger.

“Warming your vehicle’s engine in extreme cold temperatures involves a multitude of electrical components; all of which must be properly maintained and are susceptible to varying degrees of deterioration”

The Saskatoon Fire Department offers the following information on plugging in your vehicle this winter:

* Always use a heavy-duty, three wire, three pronged, extension cord that is rated for outdoor use,

* Be sure to check your block heater cord, as well as your extension cord, to make sure that neither are cracked or frayed,

* Always keep your block heater plug covered with its protective cap when not in use,

* Be sure to thoroughly clean off the prongs on both the block heater plug, as well as the extension cord ends,

* Check to make sure your block heater cord is positioned through the proper channels and is not pinched under the car or wrapped around sharp metal objects in the engine compartment, and

* Never drive over your extension cord, as this may cause additional wear on the cord and/or its plugs.

* Accidentally driving away while your vehicle is still plugged in could cause extensive damage to your vehicle’s block heater, cord, and plug, your extension cord and plugs, as well as the electrical outlet being used. If you happen to drive away while your vehicle is still plugged in remember to check all of these areas for damage and, if necessary, replace damaged components before the vehicle is plugged in again.

“Remember, vehicle fires are often the result of worn and damaged extension cords, or faulty block heater components,” said Rodger.

In an emergency, call 911 immediately.