As students attend school remotely, the National Fire Protection Association is asking parents to remind their kids be cautious around charging laptops and other electrical devices at home.
Nearly $50 million in direct property damage from computer related fires happened between 2014 and 2018, according to the NFPA.
“With students attending classes remotely and other family members continuing to work from home, many households may have more people using and charging electrical devices on a daily basis than usual,” said Lorraine Carli, vice president of Outreach and Advocacy at NFPA. “This additional use of equipment means more opportunity for misuse and misapplication, which can contribute to an increased fire risk.”
A few simple tips will help you minimize the risk of electrical fires:
- Only use the charging cord that came with the device, avoid cords with conductive jackets.
- Discontinue use if device or charger becomes excessively hot or emits a burning smell.
- Make sure electrical cords and wires are in good condition. Discard frayed or damaged cords.
- Unplug devices when not in use to save energy and minimize the risk of shock and fire.
- Ensure that the plug is fully inserted into the outlet and remains that way while in use
Electricians are still considered essential businesses and you should call a qualified electrician if you experience any of the following issues:
- Frequent problems with blowing fuses or tripping circuit breakers
- Discolored or warm wall outlets
- Flickering or dimming lights
- Sparks from an outlet
- A plug no longer stays plugged into an outlet on its own
NFPA offers many resources to help people use electrical equipment at home safely, along with a safety tip sheet that provide guidelines and recommendations for safely using devices that require lithium ion batteries.