- NSAI asks new and returning third-level students to put safety and standards top of their reading lists
- College-goers urged not to cut corners and to look for standards when buying products such as laptops, tablets and televisions
- Extension leads and chargers bought off the internet should display a genuine CE Mark
- NSAI advice comes as thousands of third levels students prepare for the new academic year
As college campuses prepare to welcome 119,000 new and returning students over the coming days, the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) is offering some important safety tips for students kitting out their accommodation for the year.
“We’ve all heard about the difficulties some students have had in securing accommodation this year, we just want to ensure that standards are at the forefront of their minds when purchasing items, particularly electronic equipment, for the academic year” said NSAI Chief Executive, Geraldine Larkin.
“Some students will also be moving away from home for the first time. While this can be exciting, they need to be aware of the dangers posed by some appliances, like heaters for example, which need to be kept away from other furniture or curtains,” said Ms Larkin.
“That’s why the NSAI wants to help students, particularly Freshers, become standards smart, ask their landlords to install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, and know what safety standards to look out for when buying products for their new homes,” she added.
NSAI is offering the following five safety tips for Freshers:
1. Buy genuine
Only buy electrical products, such as laptops, kettles, toasters, or extension leads that meet the required standards and display the CE Mark. The CE mark should be visible on the product itself or on its packaging. If it’s not there don’t buy it.
Familiarise yourself with what a genuine CE Mark looks like, always buy products from reputable retailers and online outlets and remember if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
2. Don't get overloaded
When you're short on outlets, it may be tempting to have your laptop, phone, TV, hairdryer and gaming system all plugged into one cord, but that can overload the circuit and potentially cause a fire. Make sure the extension cord is heavy enough for the intended load and that there are no loose connections. If a cord or plug becomes hot when it is plugged in, it may be overloaded and should be disconnected immediately.
3. Don’t hide your heater
Electric blow heaters are a great way to heat a chilly room, but are not meant to dry clothes and they definitely should not be left unattended. Misuse can lead to serious injuries, fatalities or fires. Place the heater where it cannot be knocked over, at least one metre from furniture and flammable materials such as curtains, bedding and paper. Turn it off if you’re heading out for the day or night. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions and again, make sure it displays the CE Mark.
4. Read your notes
If you are using electrical appliances, make sure you follow the manufacturer's instructions. Don't leave items unattended while in use, for example a laptop on a bed, and keep flammable materials away from cooking and heating devices.
5. Get alarmed
Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless, lethal gas and a carbon monoxide detector could save your life. In Ireland, there is no requirement on a landlord to have a carbon monoxide alarm in a rented property. NSAI is recommending if a carbon monoxide alarm is not in the property, the tenant should request one is installed, or purchase one yourself. Look for three quality marks when purchasing a carbon monoxide alarm; EN 50291, the CE-Mark symbol and end-of-life indicator.
Test your smoke detectors once a week, by pressing the test button until the alarm sounds. Change the batteries once a year, unless it’s a ten year alarm and NSAI recommends you replace the whole unit every 10 years.