Date: August 23, 2011
As summer winds down and September rolls around, the annual back-to-school ritual starts. For students heading off to college and university and away from the watchful eye of protective parents, CSA International has a few cautionary safety tips to share.
Question: What chemical gas is known as the ‘silent killer’ and has the following characteristics: colourless, odourless, lethal?
Answer: Carbon Monoxide (CO).
Make sure that at least one CO alarm is installed near your bedroom. When purchasing a CO alarm, check for the mark from an accredited certification organization, such as the Blue Flame from CSA International.
Pass the Test
Whether you’re making popcorn for a dorm movie night or trying to cook a nice meal for your classmates, remember that only working smoke alarms tell you when there’s an issue. Test your smoke alarms monthly and install them outside all sleeping areas, and if you take out the batteries in your smoke or CO alarm, don’t forget to put them back in!
Read and Take Note
Canadian winters can be chilly and while space heaters are great alternatives for heating bedrooms and small areas, they are not meant to dry clothes, heat or reheat food, or provide warmth beneath the covers like a heating pad!
Remember to always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Space heaters, as the name suggests, need space, so ensure they have plenty of air circulation in the front and the back of the unit and they are kept well away from flammable materials such as drapes, clothing and bedding.
Hot plates are also a popular choice among students looking to save space while still being able to prepare quick, piping-hot meals. Do not let your hunger blind you to being safe. Remember to always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and double check campus rules for permitted cooking appliances. Finally, never leave electrical appliances such as hot plates or mini-ovens unattended.
Knowledge is Power
Just as you need the right textbook for a particular course, you also need the right electrical cord and power source for a particular appliance.
Extension cords are only a temporary connection and should never be linked together. Appliances should plug directly into power sources without stretching. When unplugging an electrical cord, pull on the plug, not the cord.
Students often add personal touches such as lights and hanging decorations to make their dorms and bedrooms feel more like home. Avoid placing these items on or near safety systems such as fire sprinklers, extinguishers, exit corridors and exit signs.
To help avoid shock and fire hazards, ensure all electrical appliances are certified by an accredited organization, such as CSA International.
Don’t Cut Class – or Corners
Counterfeiters often cut corners on safety to reduce production costs. While you may think you’re saving a few bucks, bargains can often cost more in the long run and can even cost you your life! Never compromise on safety by buying fake products.
Beware of potentially unsafe or fake consumer items such as microwave ovens, mini-fridges, hot plates, and MP3 docks that could present a significant shock or fire hazard. Avoid electrical products that are missing certification marks from accredited certification organizations such as CSA International. When products don’t include brand identifiers or trademarks, return addresses, or company contact information, they may be fakes.
For more everyday consumer tips and safety advice, please visithttp://www.csagroup.org/us/en/consumers/safety-tips
About CSA International
CSA International is a provider of product testing and certification services for electrical, mechanical, plumbing, gas and a variety of other products. Recognized in the U.S., Canada and around the world, CSA International certification marks appear on billions of products worldwide. CSA International is a division of CSA Group, which also includes CSA Standards, a leading solutions based standards organization, providing standards development, application products, training and advisory services; and OnSpeX, a provider of consumer product evaluation, inspection and advisory services for retailers and manufacturers. For more information, visit www.csa-international.org
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Manager, Corporate Affairs