College Dorm Safety Tips
As a new college year begins, students leaving home for the first time will need to be aware of electrical hazards in their new dorm rooms or apartments. These important safety tips can help electronics and appliances you bring from home function safely in your dorm:
Don’t overload extension cords, power strips or outlets. They can overheat, deteriorate quickly, and cause a fire or shock hazard. If you use a power strip, get one that will shut off power automatically if there is too much current.
Check appliance power cords and extension cords. If a cord is frayed, cracked or cut, replace the cord or safely dispose of the item.
Remember that water and electricity don’t mix. To avoid electrocution or serious injury, don’t use appliances such as hair dryers or radios in or near the sink, shower or bathtub.
Never force a plug into an outlet. Plugs should fit securely into outlets, but not require force to remove.
Never remove the ground pin (third prong) to make a three-prong plug fit a two-prong outlet. This could lead to an electrical shock.
Make sure appliances are turned “off” before you plug in or unplug power cords.
To avoid fire, keep toasters, microwaves, hotplates, coffee makers and electric irons away from bedding, books, draperies, clothing and other flammable items.
Look for the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) mark on any electrical product. The UL mark on extension cords, lamps and other products shows that these models have been tested and meet UL’s rigorous safety requirements.
Use light bulbs with the recommended wattage for lamps. All UL listed lamps have wattage specifications near the bulb socket to tell you what size bulb is the maximum recommended. If bulb wattage exceeds recommendations, the bulb is likely to fail quickly, and may create a fire hazard.
Have a fire extinguisher handy.
Never ignore a fire alarm. Because every second counts in a fire situation, respond to every alarm as if it were a real alarm.