Florida Dorm Dangers: Faulty Surge Protectors and Power Strips

by Carmen Dellutri on September 21, 2011

Port Charlotte Personal injury attorneyBy now, college students are likely settled into their dorm rooms and apartments. With refrigerators, microwaves, computers, televisions, and gaming systems all crammed into one space, it is a good bet that most college students are using multiple extension cords, power strips, and surge protectors.

Most college students (and their parents) are likely not aware that  many discount retailers are selling defective cords that could pose a fire, shock, and electrocution danger. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in one year, the agency estimated there were 5,200 fires resulting in 40 deaths associated with electrical cords and plugs.

Given the serious risks posed by these products, below are a few tips provided by the CPSC to prevent a tragic accident:

  • Look for a certification label from an independent testing lab such as UL (Underwriters Laboratories) or ETL (Electrical Testing Laboratories) on the package and on the product itself. Products with this certification label meet current industry safety standards. For extension cords, look for a permanently attached certification label on the cord near the plug. For power strips and surge protectors, inspect the underside of the casing and make certain that it is marked with the manufacturer's name and the testing lab.
  • Use electrical cords, power strips, and surge protectors that have polarized plugs with one blade slightly wider the other, or grounded three-pronged plugs. These features reduce the risk of electric shock.
  • Use special, heavy-duty extension cords for high wattage appliances such as air conditioners, portable electric heaters and freezers.
  • Extension cords used outside should be specifically designed for such use to guard against shock.
  • Insert plugs fully so that no part of the prongs are exposed when the cord is in use.
  • Never cover any part of an extension cord with rugs or other objects while it is in use. If the cord is covered, heat cannot escape, which can result in fire.
  • Don't overload cords with too many appliances. Change the cord to a higher-rated one or unplug and relocate appliances to other outlets.
  • Make sure cords do not dangle from the counter or tabletops where they can be pulled down or tripped over.
  • If a cord feels hot to the touch, stop using it, and throw it away.
  • Replace cracked or worn cords.
  • Don't use extension cords to compensate for inadequate home wiring. Use extension cords only when necessary and only on a temporary basis.

For more information about how to keep your child safe at college, check out our previous blog post available here.

The Dellutri Law Group is focused on making bad situations better and putting lives back together. If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a Florida dorm accident, you may be entitled to compensation.

To learn more about your legal options, contact our experienced injury attorneys for a free consultation.


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