The beginning of another college year means students will be leaving home for the first time and need to be aware of electrical dangers in their new dorm rooms or apartments. La Plata Electric Association offers these important safety tips to help make the school year more enjoyable.
- 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. Be sure your extension cord is rated heavy enough for the appliance(s) being used.
- Remember 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.
- Make sure appliances are “off” before you plug in or unplug power cords.
- To avoid fire, keep toasters, microwaves, hotplates, coffeemakers 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.
- Before using electronic devices such as laptop computers, please review the manufacturer’s safety recommendations for proper ventilation and battery charging procedures.
- 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.
- When possible, arrange electronics in your room to eliminate electric cords running across the floor. Never put an electric cord under a rug.
- If a wire must cross a walkway, use a heavy-duty cord cover to eliminate trip hazards and protect the wire from damage.
- 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.
If you have questions about electric safety, call La Plata Electric Association at (970) 247-5786 or visit www.lpea.coop for safety resources.