As many prepare for this upcoming school year, we want to share some electrical safety tips that are useful for students of all ages.
Elementary School Students
Electricity can be exciting and interesting to learn about, but it is important that kids learn about electrical safety.
Remind your children of the following tips:
- Never throw shoes onto power lines, and definitely don’t try to get them off of the lines.
- Writing utensils and other supplies like paperclips should never be placed in or near electrical outlets, even if you think the outlet isn’t working.
- Make sure your hands and the area around you are dry before plugging something in. This is especially important in science labs where there are usually several sets of sinks, an eye wash, chemicals, etc.
- When unplugging things from an electrical outlet, always hold the plastic base to pull the plug out. Never yank it out by the cord.
Middle/High School Students
- If you’ve just received the privilege of driving to school with your newly-obtained driver’s license, pay close to attention on those morning and afternoon drives for utility crews at work. Should you be involved in an accident involving a power line or pole, assume live electricity is outside of the car and use extreme caution.
- Always steer clear of pad-mount transformers –the big green metal boxes. All electrical equipment on school property should be avoided due to the possible dangers of electrical shock.
- Always be cautious in science classes, specifically the ones with labs. Sinks, eye washes, chemicals – it’s likely your hands or the area near you will be wet. Keep everything dry and use caution when plugging in equipment.
- Get in the habit of unplugging what’s not in use.
- It’s common practice, unfortunately, for college kids to load up electrical outlets and power strips with electronics and appliances. Many dorm and apartment rooms are fairly small there isn’t much room to spread these out. Many campus housing options are dated and aren’t equipped to handle today’s amount of electricity usage.
- Use only approved electrical products with the mark of a recognized certification agency; a listing can be found at www.esasafe.com1.
- Choose a power strip 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.
- Keep gadgets and cords away from bedding and curtains. The heat from a laptop charger or mini-fridge can start an electrical fire if left in contact with flammable material for too long.
- Avoid overloading outlets or circuits as this can cause overheating that may lead to fire.
If you are renting off-campus, the Electrical Safety Authority encourages students and parents to use this important electrical safety checklist so that the landlord can correct any potentially unsafe electrical situations before moving in, such as:
- Exposed electrical wiring
- Loose or damaged plugs and switches
- Dim, flickering or surging lights
- Outlets and switches with missing cover plates
- 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 – these should be turned off immediately and replaced by a licensed electrical contractor.