How Retractable Power Cord Reels Improve Safety and Efficiency for Municipalities

September 6, 2023

Retractable power cord reels are a critical piece of workplace equipment for various local governments and municipalities. They enable public works, transportation, and other maintenance departments to access electricity at some distance from an outlet, and many also provide their own outlet and a means for safely storing the power cord. 

A retractable power cord reel can safely power appliances, batteries, portable light sources, power tools, and other equipment in fire stations, police stations, public works departments, servicing garages, and other municipal departments or agencies. Not only do they keep extension cabling from becoming entangled, but power cord reels also keep the work environment safer by keeping only the length of the cord needed to be extended and retracting the rest onto the reel. 

Municipal Applications for Power Cord Reels

Power cable reels can help municipal workers work in the field. As particularly versatile equipment, they can be used in various applications. Certain suppliers may even be able to customize cable reels, including for amperage, cord length, outlet type, and weather resistance for outdoor use.

Municipal applications for power cable reels could include:

  • Bringing electricity to remote locations in emergencies to charge or power equipment
  • Charging electric utility vehicles or carts at municipal golf courses and elsewhere
  • Doing fieldwork to repair public transit infrastructure like buses, commuter trains, and subways
  • Running equipment for municipal clinics or hospitals
  • Installing or repairing any municipal infrastructure without easy access to electrical power
  • Operating garage doors at municipal automotive servicing departments
  • Powering field equipment from utility trucks
  • Providing temporary lighting in municipal warehouses and other city buildings

Power cable reels can be customized for more than electrical applications. Some cities utilize cable reels for pneumatic and other hosing, data cables, or other specialty cords. 

How Power Cord Reels Benefit Municipalities

Advantages of using a retractable power cord reel include: 

  • Allows for safer management of power cables
  • Brings power to where it’s needed
  • Enables charging of onboard equipment on-site
  • Keeps electrical implements in police, fire, and other municipal vehicles powered up and working
  • Reduces the risk of tripping, which is especially important in emergencies
  • As many are equipped with circuit breakers, it decreases the chance of an extension cable overheating, which can cause a fire or increase the danger of electric shock

Considerations of Power Cable Reel Use for Municipal Applications

Gauge & Quality

A cable used by municipal workers mustn’t overload or catch fire. This is a safety issue; an electrical fire can result in injuries or a lawsuit against the city. For this reason, only quality cords should be used, with thick enough insulation to protect the conductive wiring within. To check whether cabling can handle an electrical load, it’s important to check the power cable’s wattage rating and clearly identify what the application is to assess power requirements. Reels with an extension cord will normally also have markings that help users ascertain whether the cable can handle the current produced by a tool or other device.

Most cord reels or extension cables are marked with the gauge number and the number of wires within the power cord. They will have a number like 14/3 or 12/3 on their power cable, with the former number the gauge of the wire and the latter the number of wires within the cord. The gauge of the wiring corresponds to its thickness, which gives cabling its wattage rating, with smaller numbers able to carry more current. For example, a 14-gauge cord can handle 12 amps, whereas a 12-gauge cable can handle 16 amps. 

Before utilizing a power cable reel, the wattage rating of both the intended device and the cable should be checked to ensure that the amount of current won’t overload the power cord. Reels normally come with instruction manuals that state the exact amount of current they’re rated to manage. Otherwise, electricity usage monitors can check whether the cabling can handle the current flowing through the wires.

Additionally, using an untested cable is dangerous, as it can overload the device, possibly even causing an electrical fire. The best quality cords have thick and robust insulation around their conducting wiring, making them safer to use. For this reason, municipalities should always source the highest quality power cable reel for the job while ensuring they deal with a reputable distributor to avoid purchasing counterfeit power cabling.

Space & Storage

Storage space is at a premium in many municipalities. Retractable power cord reels provide a means for keeping extension cabling organized and out of the way. By only utilizing the length needed, retractable reels enable workers to protect the unused portion of the power cord. Retractable reels also significantly reduce the risk of stepping on or tripping over cabling, so their use decreases hazards in the workplace. This also preserves the life of the cable, as extension cords, when stepped upon, can lose their effectiveness and even sometimes present a danger.


With a long enough power cable, retractable reels make it so municipal workers won’t have to worry about the distance from the power source while reducing any tripping hazards from a loosely extended power cord. Retractable reels can keep the cabling taut so a 45-foot-long extension cord can be made to work as easily and safely at a distance of 10 feet from 40 feet away from an outlet. As extension cabling should only be used for short periods, power cable reels make it easier to plug and unplug from them as needed, keeping the workplace safer from electrical fires.

Understanding Hazards

It’s always good to understand the signs when an outlet is not properly working or if a device may be overheating. For anyone working with electrical equipment, it’s important to identify any such hazards with a power cable. Reels will often help mitigate the worst dangers extension cabling presents. Still, when working with electricity, there’s always a certain amount of danger involved, so it’s good to understand when there’s trouble.

Alert Reels: Power Cable Reels for Municipalities

Alert Reels sells the following power cord reels, which are perfect for various municipal applications:

Professional Grade Retractable Power Cord Reel for 45-Foot Long Cable

This retractable power cord reel manufactured by ProReel provides storage for a 45-foot-long cable, which is included. It also includes an instruction manual and mounting hardware to allow installation of the reel on walls or ceilings, while the mounting bracket swivels to allow greater flexibility. To aid with the management of the power cord, reels include cabling that features a ball stop, an illuminated outlet, and a 20-amp resettable circuit breaker.

Other features of this power cord reel include: 

  • Oil & weather resistant 45’ SJTOW power cord
  • Guide rollers allow cabling to pull out to the desired length and lock in place

A slight tug causes retraction of the power cable, with the reel enabling storage that keeps the cabling from tangling. These retractable power cable reels also come with a molded carrying handle on their housings, made with industrial-grade thermoplastic for easier transportability.

Professional Grade Retractable Power Cord Reel for 36-Foot-Long Cable

Manufactured by ProReel, this retractable power cord reel offers storage for the included 36-foot-long extension power cord. A reel for storing the cable when not in use, mounting hardware made from heavy-duty steel, and instructions are included, along with a robust molded handle made from thermoplastic to ease transport. Guide rollers make it easier to retract the power cord, reeling out to the required length when in use. It also comes with a 20-amp resettable circuit breaker and illuminated outlet.

Other features of this power cord reel include:

  • Built-in 20-amp resettable circuit breaker
  • Robust, 36′ weather & oil resistant SJTOW cord
  • Indicator light that shows when power is on

Able to neatly retract, the power cord reel stores the built-in cabling when unused. It can be mounted on the ceiling or walls to save space, while a swivel bracket is included to provide even more flexibility. To inquire about our power cord reels and their applications, please contact us at Alert Reels or request a quote online today.