Officials warn digital devices can pose fire hazard - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Officials warn digital devices can pose fire hazard

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Vatterott warns about the fire hazards with digital devices. Vatterott warns about the fire hazards with digital devices.
The college's electrical program director said going to sleep with your phone in bed is a fire hazard. The college's electrical program director said going to sleep with your phone in bed is a fire hazard.
The director said if your battery or device is hot, then there is most likely a problem with it. Not getting it fixed could lead to a fire hazard. The director said if your battery or device is hot, then there is most likely a problem with it. Not getting it fixed could lead to a fire hazard.
QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) -

A local electrical expert is warning people of the fire hazards digital devices pose.

Officials at Vatterott College said if your battery or device is hot, it's putting out more heat than it's designed to and that could lead to a potential fire hazard.
The college's electrical program director in Quincy also said you should think twice before you sleep with your phone. 

"I have seen some horror stories of people waking up with their phones under their pillow using it an as alarm clock and waking up in the morning and smelling smoke," said Dirk Lefler the electrical program director at Vatterott College. "Taking their phone out and it's actually charred or it's overheated and the pillow has actually gotten charred. So, there was a real danger of fire in those cases."

Top Safety Tips from Director Dirk Lefler at Vatterott College:

  • Use different outlets. When numerous devices are plugged into the same outlet or charging station at the same time, there is a risk of sparking a home fire.
  • Keep devices out of the bed. Research by Electrical Safety First shows that 53% of children and teens charge their phone or tablet either on their bed or under their pillow. The heat generated cannot disperse, and the charger will become very hot, possibly catching the pillow or bed on fire.
  • Do not use generic chargers with your phone, tablet or laptop. Different devices require different levels of charge. A generic charger can put too much charge into a device, causing the battery to overheat and increase the risk of a fire.
  • Don't charge devices overnight. While most portable devices are designed to stop charging once the battery is full, a fire could occur if the charger overheats.
  • Watch where you're putting them.  Place the devices being charged on a hard, flat, noncombustible surface to allow for adequate ventilation. Make sure there is good air circulation around all devices.
  • Recharge batteries while you are present in the home. Have a working smoke detector in the room where the batteries are charging, and make sure a fire extinguisher is in the room, as well.
  • Do not leave laptops, tablets or cellphones unattended on couches, beds, or other soft surfaces.  Devices may overheat or catch fire on flammable materials.
  • Remove the charger from the outlet when not charging. A charger left plugged in is still using electricity from the outlet, and a fire can occur if a wire short circuits.
  • Shut them off.  Battery-powered devices should be completely powered down when not in use.
  • Keep an eye on them.  Chargers should be inspected on a regular basis for wear.  Damaged cords may emit electrical sparks that can start a fire.   

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