TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 11, 2012) - Labour Day has come and gone and trips to the supply store have been made for new notebooks and pens. For students heading off to college and university, items like hot plates, space heaters, mood lighting and extra pillows also often make the list for back-to-school shopping. While it's important to create a homey atmosphere at school that's conducive to studying and socializing, it's equally as important to ensure that the products you use are safe. To help prevent potential hazards, CSA Group, a leading standards, certification and testing organization, offers these suggestions and safety tips.
Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Alarm:
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a silent killer. Colourless, odourless and tasteless, it can invade your home without warning. Even in small quantities CO can cause headaches, nausea, dizziness, irregular breathing, sleepiness, and confusion. In larger concentrations it leads to unconsciousness and death.
- Look for a verified, third-party certification mark like the CSA certification mark. This shows that the unit complies with recognized safety standards.
- Know the requirements for your community. In certain regions, carbon monoxide alarms are mandatory for some buildings. Contact your local municipal office or fire department for details.
- Choose an alarm that makes a clear, loud noise when it detects CO gas. That annoying noise could save a life.
- Choose a suitable power source: battery, plug-in, or hardwired. Some plug-in or hardwired models have a battery backup so that the alarm will sound even if the electrical power is shut off.
- Test the unit at least once a month.
- Change the batteries at least twice a year - for example, when you change your clocks if you live in a zone that has Daylight Savings Time. Be sure to use the correct type of batteries. See the manufacturer's instructions for detailed operating instructions.
Space heaters are designed to heat a chilly room. They should not be used to dry clothes, heat food, warm your bed, or thaw frozen pipes. Yet each year many people are injured or killed because of these and other improper uses. When using a space heater in your home, be sure to follow all safety precautions to prevent fire, scorching, and indoor air pollutants.
- Look for certified third-party verification marks like CSA Group's certification mark. This shows that the heater complies with recognized safety standards.
- If possible, choose a model with a tip-over switch that will automatically turn the unit off if it tips over.
- Make sure your unit has an element guard in place to prevent fingers or flammable objects from touching the hot elements.
- Check the electrical cord for worn insulation and splices, and check the plug for loose or exposed parts. If the cord is damaged, replace the entire unit or have the cord replaced by a qualified repairperson.
- Keep all electrical cords away from the heat. Never drape a cord over the hot surface of the space heater.
- Do not use an electric space heater in a bathroom unless the manufacturer's instructions specifically say it is okay to do so. The high humidity could create a shock hazard.
Decorative lighting can help stylize and personalize your space. Even if it is used for temporary or seasonal purposes, incorrect handling of decorative lights creates a risk for a fire that can quickly consume a room and spread. When planning your lighting scheme, be sure to take necessary precautions for fire and electrical safety.
- When installing decorative lighting on patios or along walkways, inspect your lighting to make sure that it is certified and marked for use in an outdoor or wet location.
- Turn off the electricity supply before working with outdoor lighting, and unplug lights when possible.
- Carefully inspect lights and lamps to make sure there are no broken or cracked sockets or housings, and that there are no bare or frayed wires.
- Use a timer to turn lights on and off.
For more everyday consumer tips and safety advice, please visit www.csasafetytips.com.
About CSA Group
CSA Group is an independent, not-for-profit membership association dedicated to safety, social good and sustainability. Its knowledge and expertise encompass standards development; training and advisory solutions; global testing and certification services across key business areas including hazardous location and industrial, plumbing and construction, medical, safety and technology, appliances and gas, alternative energy, lighting and sustainability; as well as consumer product evaluation services. The CSA certification mark appears on billions of products worldwide. For more information about CSA Group visit www.csagroup.org.
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