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Make safety a priority when plugging in devices

CHARGING A CELLPHONE is something we all do every day. Here are some things to consider to make sure you’re charging your devices safely. 

Quality cords 

Whether you need a replacement or just want an extra phone charger, it can be tempting to purchase the lower-priced option rather than the higher-priced charger from the manufacturer. However, purchasing a bargain charger could have disastrous consequences. Purchase charging devices and electronics only from trusted sources and be sure they have been tested or marked by a nationally recognized testing laboratory like Underwriters Laboratories. It’s also important to inspect your charging cords for damage. As soon as you see damage to a cord, stop using it. 

Always unplug charging cords when they’re not in use. Cords that are plugged in are constantly drawing power. If the cord isn’t plugged into a device, that power can be transferred to flammable objects, such as fabric, carpet or wood, and cause them to ignite. 

Right location 

It’s safest to charge your devices on cool, well-ventilated surfaces away from flammable objects. A well-ventilated spot will help prevent your device from overheating. Devices tucked under a pillow, nestled on the carpet or resting on a bed or couch don’t allow for this. 

Keep your plugged-in device away from water. Unlike hair dryers or electric razors—devices meant to be used in a bathroom—phones, laptops and wireless speakers are not equipped with a safety mechanism known as a ground fault circuit interrupter, which shuts off power to the device when it gets wet. 

In the United States, building codes require you to use outlets equipped with a GFCI in bathrooms, kitchens and other household spaces where an electronic device might come into contact with water. Regardless of the type of cord you’re using, if you drop your plugged-in phone into water you could be electrocuted. 

No extension cords 

Avoid relying on extension cords when charging devices. Extension cords are not meant for long-term use. If you need to plug in your phone in a more convenient area than is available, this may indicate you need more outlets. 

Don’t make your electronic devices even more complicated than they already are. Always stay plugged into safety when using a device’s charging cord. 

CHRIS MURPHY is Superintendent of Licking Valley RECC.


WHEN HE’S NOT WORKING, HE ENJOYS: Pickup basketball games at the local wellness center, riding my side-by-side, spending time with my wife and kids, and going on vacations with my family. 

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