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Focus on Proper Electrical Equipment Use
In the May–June issue of Army Sustainment, there is an article titled “The Three Most Common Electrical Safety Issues in Deployed Environments.” It is a good article, but I believe the author may have missed the main causal factor for the fires and problems of using surge strips in deployed locations.

While some fires may be caused by thin or loose items in the strip, more often it is the improper use of these items that causes the fires. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) states that equipment needs to be used as the manufacturer intended. These surge strips are not designed to be used for the “multiple high amperage” items that the writer mentions in his article. They are intended for use with multiple low amperage items most commonly found in office areas, such as computers, monitors, printers, and fans.

OSHA refers to those little devices as “portable power taps.” (They are not true surge suppressors in most cases.) The devices used with them cannot exceed the amperage rating for the device or fires can result.

I believe that the writer came to the wrong conclusion in the area of portable power taps. Being more vigilant about promoting proper use will probably reduce injuries and accidents better than focusing on who makes them (China or the United States).

—Barry W. Simmonds
St. Paul Minnesota


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