Firefighters must work with electrical generators, tools and cords.


The majority of incidents of shocks, burns or electrocution have occurred from improperly maintained tools and electrical cords.

Actions for employers

Employers must:

  • inform workers of hazards
  • provide information and instruction to workers to keep them safe
  • ensure that provided equipment is maintained in good condition

Employers should make sure that:

  • tools, lights and cords are repaired by a competent person and maintained to manufacturer’s specifications
  • electrical cords with breaks, splits, cuts or cracks in the outer casing are repaired by a competent person or removed from service
  • electrical cords with damage to inner casings or wire are replaced
  • tools, lights, and cords are cleaned and inspected after each use
  • portable electrical lights have a protective screen over the bulb/glass area
  • new electrical cords are compliant with the Ontario Electrical Safety Code, Table 11 (Canadian Standards Association STWfootnote 1 Type Designation) for extra-hard usage in wet environments
  • twist connections and overlapping insulated rubber connections are used
  • only three-wire or double insulated tools, equipment or cords are used

Extension cords

When choosing an extension cord, consider the use, size, current and wattage rating of the cord. Consider the gauge of the cord and the length of the cord, when determining if it is adequate for the wattage of the equipment.

Applicable regulations and acts


  • Occupational Health and Safety Act
    • clause 25(1)(b) for maintaining equipment in good condition
    • clause 25(2)(a) for providing information and instruction to a worker
    • clause 25(2)(d) for making workers aware of hazards
    • clause 25(2)(h) for taking every precaution reasonable to protect workers

Applicable standards

For requirements for electrical work in Ontario, read Ontario Electrical Safety Code

For information on determining an appropriate extension cord, read the Electrical Safety Authority’s Flash bulletin on Hazards due to misuse of extension cords

For determining the gauge of wire appropriate for the length of the extension cord, read ASTM B258-14, Standard specification for standard nominal diameters and cross-sectional areas of awg sizes of solid round wires used as electrical conductors


For additional information about electrical safety, read Electrical safety handbook for emergency responders – Best practices for coping with electrical hazards in rescue and fire situations (PDF), Hydro One Networks Inc., Electrical Safety Authority, Office of the Fire Marshal, and Public Services Health and Safety Association, revised 5th Edition, 2013