August 2022: Electrical Safety Tips for 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.