Electrical safety tips aimed at college students


Before heading to college, students need equipped with supplies for their dorm rooms and important knowledge for living on their own — including electrical safety knowledge.

Many colleges across the U.S. ban cooking appliances from on-campus housing including: hot plates, coffee makers and microwaves; many of these places may already have a designated area for the use of the products.

Crawfordsville Electric Light & Power and Safe Electricity offers tips for students to help prevent and reduce the risk of electrical fires in student housing:

• Only purchase and use electrical products tested for safety and look for an approved safety label such as UL.

• Avoid overloading extension cords, power strips or outlets.

• Use power strips with an over-current protector that will shut off power automatically if there is too much current being drawn.

• Never tack or nail an electrical cord to any surface or run cords across traffic paths or under rugs where they can be trampled or damaged.

• Use the correct wattage light bulbs for lamps and fixtures.

• Make sure outlets around sinks are equipped with ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) before use. If they are not, contact the resident assistant, camping housing staff or property owner.

• Unplug small appliances when not in use and all electronics when away for extended periods.

• Always use microwave-safe containers. Glass, ceramic containers and plastics labeled “microwave-safe” should always be used. Metal and aluminum foil can damage the microwave or start a fire. If the microwave is damaged in any way, do not use it.

• Smoke detectors should never be disabled, and fire alarms should never be ignored or taken casually as a drill. Every time a fire alarm sounds, residents should calmly and quickly follow practiced procedures and immediately exit the building.

For more fire and electrical safety information, visit www.celp.com and safeelectricity.org.