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Electrical Safety

R&DE Student Housing Electrical Safety Guidelines

  • Voltage - All outlets in student rooms and apartments, as well as common spaces such as lounges, computer clusters and kitchenettes, offer a standard 120 volts.
  • Electrical appliances/ equipment, including extension cords and power strips Use only Underwriters Laboratories UL certified equipment, to help prevent power outages and fire hazards.
  • Power Surge Strips – It is strongly recommended that you use a power strip with an integrated circuit breaker and surge protector. This will prevent potential fire hazards, damage to the building’s electrical system, and damage to personal property from power spikes. It is important that surge strips are plugged directly into a wall outlet. They should never be plugged into an extension cord or “daisy chained” to another surge strip.
  • Extension cords – These should be used only on a temporary basis and not as a substitute for permanent wiring. Extension cords should be plugged directly into wall outlets. Do not use extension cords with multiple connections at one end. Extension cords shall not be affixed to structures, extended through walls, ceilings, or floors, or placed under doors, floor coverings or furniture. Hidden extension cords can be pinched or damaged, and heat can build up, which may result in a fire. Extension cords shall be used only with portable appliances whose amperage requirements do not exceed the cord’s capacity.
  • Overloaded outlets/circuits - The use of too many appliances at the same time will likely result in loss of power in the room and increase the risk of fire hazards. Microwaves, hair dryers and similar appliances should not be used on any circuit that habitually trips your room’s circuit breakers. If a wall socket or extension cord is warm to the touch, it is overloaded.
  • Damaged or broken outlets - Outlets should be mounted firmly in their enclosures and should not be loose or move when the plug is inserted. Broken outlets can cause short circuits, electrical flashes, burns, and a general fire hazard. Report damage immediately and ask for assistance as this is considered a maintenance emergency (see Report Hazards below).
  • Plugs - Avoid placing a bed and/or other furnishing near outlets and plugs to avoid bending or breaking the plug or the outlet wiring. Never unplug equipment by pulling on the cord; always remove by pulling directly on the plug. Do not alter the prongs of polarized plugs to make them fit an outlet. Adapters intended to defeat the ground connections (e.g. 3-prong to 2-prong adapters) are dangerous and must not be used. If plug prongs break off and remain in the outlet receptacle slots after insertion or withdrawal, do not attempt to remove them. Report this and ask for assistance as this is considered a maintenance emergency.
  • Lamps - Never cover lamps or ceiling lights with clothing, paper, drapes or other things that can burn/are combustible.
  • Report Hazards - Please file a FIX-IT request ( and REPORT to your RA, Conference Assistant, Housing Service Center, or Housing Building Manager any obviously damaged or suspicious looking outlet, junction box, switch, plug prong broken in outlet, or electrical wiring you think might be unsafe.