Maintenance Minute: Electrical Safety in Your Room

Red electrical plug line iconAs used to electricity as we are, it’s easy to overlook the hazards it can bring. Improper use of outlets, power strips, phone chargers, or any item that uses voltage can pose a serious fire hazard in your residence hall room or anywhere. Here are a few tips to keep you safe electrically.


  • Check your phone charger cords and throw them away if they are damaged or frayed.
  • Use the correct chargers for electronic batteries, and do not leave charging items unattended.

Power Strips & Extension Cords

  • Do not overload extension cords, power strips, or outlets.
  • Do not connect multiple extension cords or power strips together.
  • Extension cords should only be used on a temporary basis.

Cords & Plugs

  • Do not place cords under doors or carpets and do not pinch them with furniture or other heavy items.
  • Never remove the ground pin (the third prong) on a plug to make a three-prong plug fit into a two-prong outlet.


  • Check to make sure the lightbulbs you’re using in lamps match the correct wattage for the lamp.
  • Check that all electrical items, including extension cords, are certified by a nationally recognized independent testing laboratory. These include Underwriters Laboratories (UL), Intertek (ETL), or Canadian Standards Association (CSA).
  • Irons, hair dryers, curling irons, and hair straighteners should never be left unattended and should be unplugged when not in use.

Be Aware of These Warning Signs of an Electrical Hazard

  • Power outages: circuit breakers that frequently trip or fuses that often need replacement
  • Dim and/or flickering lights
  • Arcs and sparks: flashes of light or showers of sparks anywhere in your electrical system
  • Sizzles and buzzes: unusual sounds from your electrical system
  • Overheating: overheated wires can give off an odor of hot insulation; switch plates or receptacle covers that are hot to the touch or discolored from heat buildup
  • Electrical shocks: any shock, even a mild tingle, may be warning of an electrical danger

If you observe any of these signs, discontinue use of the electrical item and submit a maintenance request to our Facilities team.

Submit a Maintenance Request