Think Safety as Your Student Moves into the Dorm

Safe Electricity reminds parents and students to keep electrical safety in mind.

Think Safety as Your Student Moves into the Dorm

Remember to check with your university's housing department on their specific housing laws.

It’s the time of year when college campuses are preparing for students moving all of their worldly possessions into their home away from home—the dorm! While this is an exciting time for the students, it can be a nerve-racking time for parents.

“Communicate with your roommates before shopping for items for the room. Oftentimes when there is no communication, rooms end up with multiple refrigerators and microwaves, which can lead to a circuit overload in a small space.”

Wilczynski adds that you should check with your university’s housing department on their specific housing laws. Many colleges across the U.S. ban cooking appliances from on-campus housing, including hot plates, coffee makers, and microwaves. Many of these institutions provide a designated area for the use of these products.

For more information on dorm safety, visit

Electrical Dorm Safety Tips:

  • Don’t overload outlets, extension cords, or power strips.
  • Use power strips with over current protectors. This will shut off the power if there is too much power being drawn.
  • Only purchase and use electrical products tested for safety. Some common approved safety labels include UL, CSA, and MET.
  • Keep all electrical appliances and cords safely away from bedding, curtains, papers, and other flammable material.
  • Make sure outlets around sinks are equipped with ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) before use. If they are not, contact the resident assistant, camping housing staff, or landlord.
  • Unplug small appliances when not in use and all electronics when away for extended periods.
  • Use microwave-safe containers. Glass, ceramic containers, and plastics labeled “microwave-safe” should always be used. Metal and aluminum foil can damage the microwave or start a fire. Don’t use a damaged microwave.
  • Never disable a smoke detector; and never ignore a fire alarm or assume it is a drill. Every time a fire alarm sounds, residents should calmly and quickly follow practiced procedures and immediately exit the building.
  • When planning to move into a shared space like a dorm or university housing, Bob Wilczynski, assistant director of housing at the University of Illinois has a few insights. OKL Article End