Back to School Electrical Safety Tips
When hooking up computers, appliances, TVs, game consoles and other electronics, it pays to be safe. Students and parents who know what electrical hazards to look for and how to address them will start the school year with peace of mind.
Protect yourself from injury and keep electronics running safely by taking the following precautions:
- Use only approved electrical products with the mark of a recognized certification agency.
- Choose power bars with a heavy-gauge cord that are approved by a recognized certification agency.
- Replace frayed or damaged extension cords with new ones.
- Keep extension cords out from under carpet, rugs or furniture as this could damage the cord and also present a fire hazard.
- Keep flammable materials such as books, paper and clothing away from heaters, stoves and other heating sources.
- Never leave cooking appliances unattended.
- Plug portable heaters and air conditioners directly into the outlet. If an extension cord is needed, to prevent overheating and risk of fire, use only one that is rated for this purpose to ensure that the cord can handle the electrical current.
- Never remove the third prong from an electrical product. The third prong is the grounding device and is a critical safety feature.
- Avoid overloading outlets or circuits as this can cause overheating that may lead to fire.
Every fall, thousands of students move away from home to attend university or college in Ontario. When renting off-campus accommodations, have the landlord correct any electrical hazards before you move in, such as:
- Exposed electrical wiring;
- Loose or damaged plugs and switches, or outlets and switches with missing cover plates;
- Dim, flickering or surging lights;
- Fuses that blow or circuit breakers that frequently trip, or outlets that don't work when fuses are replaced or breakers reset;
- Fuses and switches that are warm or hot to the touch.