TORONTO, Aug. 26 /CNW/ - With the first days of college and university quickly approaching, students have a lot to think about: inventive new ways to tighten their budgets; efficient methods to manoeuvre themselves around campus; and mastering the fine art of balancing a heavy course load while still maintaining a social life outside of the classroom. During these busy, hectic and often frugal times, it's easy for students to overlook simple safety precautions to save a buck when moving away from home for the first time or setting up their dorm rooms.

CSA International, a leading testing and certification organization, is sharing the following tips with students to help them avoid accidents and injuries and help ensure a safe and enjoyable school year:

Around the Dorm

  • Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless and lethal gas, also known as the 'silent killer'. Before unpacking your belongings, make sure that at least one carbon-monoxide (CO) alarm is installed near your bedroom and follow the manufacturer's instructions. When purchasing a CO alarm, check for the mark of an accredited certification organization, such as the Blue Flame from CSA International.

  • Numerous household fires occur all over North America every year. Don't put your roommates or yourself at unnecessary risk. Test your smoke alarms monthly and install them outside all sleeping areas. Only working smoke alarms can give you the precious seconds you may need to escape your student house in the event of a fire.

Getting Cozy

  • Space heaters are designed to heat a chilly dormitory room, not to dry clothes, heat food, or warm your bed. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions. Place the heater where it cannot be knocked over; at least one metre from furniture and flammable materials such as curtains, bedding, rugs, textbooks, class notes and newspapers. Remember: space heaters need space, so ensure they have plenty of circulation in the front and the back of the unit.

  • Hot plates are a space-saving solution for a quick, piping-hot meal. When your stomach tells you it's time to eat, don't forget to be safe. Never leave any electrical appliances such as hot plates or mini-ovens unattended, and always follow the manufacturer's instructions. Be sure to follow campus rules for cooking appliances. Never create a fire hazard by improvising with Bunsen burners or similar fuel burning devices not intended for cooking or heating food.

The ABC's of Electricity Safety

  • Any appliance is only as good as the cord that connects it to a power source. It is important to use the right cord for the job and to use the cord properly. Use an extension cord only as a temporary connection. Never link extension cords; instead, use a single cord that is long enough to reach from the outlet to an appliance without stretching. Always unplug an electrical cord by pulling on the plug, not the cord. 

  • When organizing your residence, remember never to run an electrical cord through a doorway or under a carpet. If a cord becomes hot when plugged in, discontinue use immediately and replace with a heavier gauge cord.

  • When the lights flick on for a study session, make sure they are in safe working condition. 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.

  • When decorating your dorm, avoid hanging decorations on or near objects like fire sprinklers, fire extinguishers, exit corridors or exit signs which can hinder your vision or safety. Use only insulated fasteners; never use nails, staples or tacks.

  • To help avoid shock and fire hazards, ensure all electrical appliances are certified by an accredited organization, such as CSA International.

Counterfeits Can Kill

  • Counterfeit products are not just about knock-off handbags and watches. Phoney items can also include potentially unsafe items such as microwave ovens, mini-fridges, hot plates, MP3 docking stations and other consumer items that may present a significant shock or fire hazard. Avoid electrical products that are missing a certification mark from an accredited certification organization, such as CSA International. When products don't include brand identifiers or trademarks, return addresses, or company contact information, they may be fakes.

  • Counterfeit products often have inferior designs for their packaging, or only partial illustrations. Look for spelling mistakes and unclear print on products and labels. Check the heaviness and the "look and feel" of products. Fakes are often light and flimsy.

  • Tuition costs may be high, but be wary of extra low bargains while shopping for electronics. If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is.

For more everyday consumer tips and safety advice, please visit

About CSA International
CSA International is a provider of product testing and certification services for electrical, mechanical, plumbing, gas and a variety of other products. Recognized in the U.S., Canada and around the world, CSA International certification marks appear on billions of products worldwide. CSA International is a division of CSA Group, which also includes CSA Standards, a leading solutions based standards organization, providing standards development, application products, training and advisory services; and OnSpeX, a provider of consumer product evaluation, inspection and advisory services for retailers and manufacturers. For more information, visit

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For further information: For further information:

Marco Ouji
Media Relations Officer
CSA Group
T: 416-747-2615

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